Yesterday, driving up the Hardscrabble… leaving Fremont County’s 100-degree heat as we climbed to cooler weather at 8,000 feet, it was hard to imagine that I took the above photo one short month ago. What’s not to love about living in Colorado? The joke ‘if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change’ is so true. Driving up out of the heat, my husband asked if I wanted him to turn on the air conditioning.
“No!” I wanted to melt and become one with the passenger seat. I wanted to swelter in the hot sun – a beach experience complete in itself without sand and the sound of surf! Yes, I was hot. Fremont County is hot, and because it is hot, the Prickly Pear cacti outside our Penrose house are in full bloom. I love the prickly. needle-like nature of the pear’s fleshy body in contrast to the beautiful translucent petals of its yellow flowers.
In short, I love Colorado’s fluctuations in temperature. Knowing that winter is right around the corner makes me appreciate summer more. I don’t want air conditioning. The world is full of engineered accommodations that inure us to the weather. In contrast, the changing seasons keep us humble… close to Nature.
My husband just completed Ride the Rockies, a six-day ride that wound its way from Carbondale/Aspen northeast through Rocky Mountain National Park to Fort Collins. It was just 399 miles, but the cyclists climbed numerous mountain passes to total an elevation gain of nearly 30,000 feet.
Mount Everest is 30,000 feet. Not that you can compare cycling to mountain climbing, but visualizing Everest does put the total elevation gain in perspective. Team Silver Cliff / Westcliffe climbed a lot of ‘hills.’ At times they were hot; other times (chipping the ice off their bikes at dawn in Aspen) they were cold.
The hot and the cold; the thorn and the flower; the pain and the gain are perfect examples of yin and yang. They are equal, opposites, interdependent; and the whole is greater than the parts. It is hard to find the balance. But I try. Yes, I could have turned on the car’s air conditioner, but doing so would have diminished my appreciation for the yin and yang.
Six days of cycling followed by a seventh day of rest.