Moods & Memories
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
I recently came across a journal I had started in my thirties. I remember buying the journal when I lived in Utah. I saw the Colorado State Flower on the cover and I had to have the journal. I missed my home state so much at the time.
No one knew back in the 80's that the beautiful flower, the Columbine, would someday be linked to one of the worst school tragedies in history. For me, at that time, the Columbine symbolized a time of innocence and of beauty as I would recall the many times I saw it growing wild in the mountain during my childhood and youth. On the inside of this particular journal, I wrote, "Memories of Leadville, and of my youth." In my heart, I still associate Columbines with innocence, but it is now more about lost innocence. Yet despite the grief, shock, and pain that Columbines symbolize because of that fateful day at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado on April 20, 1999, I continue to love this flower and think of it also as a symbol of not only a day of innocence, but also as a symbol of hope for all that is good in youth.
When I was just beginning my senior year in high school, my father moved us from the flatlands of Colorado, Pueblo, Colorado, to the rarified air of Leadville, Colorado. I was heartbroken when he did this. Little did I know how much Leadville would figure with such prominence when I recall the happiest times of my life.
One of the first entries in my new journal was a recollection of my time spent as a young girl in Leadville. I wrote:
This picture brings back memories of Leadville and the many pines out on the road toward Turquoise Lake. It must have been February and we were decorating for a school dance - "Winter Wonderland." We went out collecting pine branches & tumble weeds - the tumble weeds to be sprayed white and decorated with tiny lights. We must have gone after school - it was cold! The world was white and glittery, the sky was black, clear, and starry as only a Leadville night can be. I still remember crunchy footsteps in the snow and dragging branches and tumble weeds along the snow. It was perfectly quiet except for this sound and the laughter from the excitement of being young and gathering natural decorations for a dance.
I remember: the cold, my feet felt like they were frozen to the ground, the peaceful beauty that surrounded us, and the freedom of youth. Also, I remember the power and the faith that I felt at that age.
Nothing is more beautiful than a Colorado blue spruce being covered with soft, thumb nail size snow flakes in a light snow storm in early evening.
February, 1963, I turned 18. I wanted to stay there forever. The future seemed bright. The past was happy. I had nothing to regret or sorrow about. The present was perfect. I was living in a small mountain town. In fact, I was new in town, and everyone had been so friendly. I was popular and had many friends who were fun and intelligent.
The entire town was ours to roam. It had a colorful past, and it fascinated me. There were old houses that were from the silver boom days. Some of the sidewalks were still wooden. The hardware shop, the barbershop, the church, the school were all functioning museums. Up on the hills were abandoned mines. At night we would go up there and tell ghost stories about them. They were pretty scary too.
The scenery was out of this world...
For those of you who want to see a short video about the place that I called home, the place I love so dearly, the place that hold such wonderful memories, I have included this wonderful video. I hope you take the time to watch it. Enjoy.
If you ever get the chance, visit this wonderful mountain town. You will love it. By the way, I did work for the Chamber of Commerce in Leadville one summer while I was in college.