Those summers spent in Colorado were two of the best summers of my childhood. I remember long hikes on mountain trails, bouncy jeep rides across streams, panning for gold, wild berries eaten right of the bush in our front yard, impromptu picnics with my dad, snow in June, hot air balloons rising silently in the crisp morning air, the sound of rain on a tin roof, my first pointe shoes, and a sky that never ends. In my mind it almost seems like a dream that never happened.
Upon my return to Colorado, I had the same feeling of wonder when I saw the mountains rising out of the flat plateau. The blue sky went on forever, and the hot sun surprised me with its intensity. I was shocked by the austere beauty of the desolate countryside. On race day, hot air balloons rose against the sunrise, one by one, as the women swam through the blue water of the reservoir. The thin air caught me by surprise on my run, and I found myself yawning over and over just to get enough oxygen in my lungs--I'm pretty sure I don't remember this from when I was a kid! I even stopped into a little clothing boutique beside my hotel that happened to be a dance store, and there were two little girls getting their first pointe shoes while I was there!
The whole time I just kept thinking, this is just as beautiful as I remember--I can't wait to come back with Kel and the boys. Colorado is definitely a place I will be visiting again, and if history holds true, I will love it even more every time I return.
It also made me realize that I need to work harder at creating memories for my children, especially memories of being outside in God's beautiful world. I'm going to try to take the boys out hiking or exploring at least once a month, even in the winter from here on out. I owe it to them, and I owe it to myself to pass on my love of the outdoors.