Westward Ho: Day Nine

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After a morning’s drive from Canon City through some desolate and beautiful terrain, and then more time than I’d have liked spent kvetching over trying to get connected to the wireless internet at our Colorado Springs KOA, we are now wearing perfume and cowboy boots and are on our way north to check out a few points of interest. Historic Manitou Springs, which we just drive through, is like Gatlinburg and Estes Park and Epcot Center all mushed together, and with the Rocky Mountain foothills as the backdrop. It’s a cool and overcast afternoon, and we’re in search of an early dinner in just the perfect little mountain niche.

Well, we found our niche. It looked a little gaudy and over-sold from the tiny road we were on, but when we stepped inside and then out onto the patio, we were easily convinced. Long, slender leaves rustled in the treetops and the creek eased by with a steady, rhythmic trickle. The multi-tiered deck included a ‘Cookshack’ where they smoke their own meats (and heads of garlic!) and inside there was a counter where a congenial man wearing a Boston Red Sox cap poured little dribbles of Colorado wines for us to taste. He told me that his first wife was from Nashville and that she hailed from Belle Meade. When I raised my eyebrows he said with a wink, “I should have hung on to her, huh?” Nice folks, really good smoked salmon filet with fresh greens, a honey-scented, subtly floral Sauvignon Blanc from a place called the Holy Cross Abbey (back in little old Canon CIty), and sudden rain with its lingering scent that fell as we ate all combined to make it a pleasant experience. On our drive back we stopped off for a little detour at the Broadmoor Hotel, pink stuccoed and red-roofed.. I knew this place first from a painting (which at first I couldn’t recall) by one of my favorite artists of all time: Maxfield Parrish. When I saw it in real time tonight, something didn’t seem right, but then when I read that the owner of the hotel allowed him to rearrange the pieces of the landscape puzzle, putting mountains and lake anywhere he deemed appropriate, it made sense.

This wireless access is as unreliable as a cloud, so I am going to post something before it becomes nothing. Tomorrow we start east. Does that mean I have to call my writings “Eastward Ho?” Doesn’t quite have the same ring….


2 Comments

  1. becky

    I love the first photo. The sky is awesome, and you show us the wide open expanse of the plains I call home.

    I went to college outside Chattenooga, and for a long time I felt claustrophobic there. (My mountain friends felt exposed when they were in Nebraska.) When you are driving in Tennessee or Georgia, you have to look up to see the horizon. And you may not even see it at all, because of all the trees. Eventually I learned to love the trees, and the fog, and sheltered feeling of the mountains. But the plains will always be first in my heart. The horizon is below eye level most of the time, so we have skyscape instead of landscape. Willa Cather–our great Nebraska author–has a quote I like (this is approximate): “Everywhere else the sky is the roof of the land. Here the land is the floor of the sky.” Our skyscape is always changing; always new. And you can, literally, see for miles. When I look out across the plains I feel like I can expand forever and never reach a limit. Like I can do ANYTHING! It’s similar to how I feel looking out at the ocean. Isn’t God amazing that he made places in this world that feel so different?

    By the way, I am also a Maxfield Parrish fan. I love the warm, golden light in his paintings.

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