It had to have been one or two in the morning, but I lay wide awake in the tent; alert enough that it felt as if day were about to break.
The night air had dropped to the low 30s and frost covered the rain fly creating little ice crystals that glittered and danced under the full moon.
I lay there, nestled deep within the downy depths of my sleeping bag with only my nose and cheeks exposed to the cool mountain air, and I listened.
Our campsite, sheltered in the midst of stoic Lodgepole pine trees on the banks of a high alpine lake, was high enough up a long, boulder filled, dirt road that traffic noises were obsolete. The night was windless and the air was still and cold, chilly enough that the atmosphere around the tent seemed to be frozen in time.
I listened and I listened. I and realized that for the first time in as long as I could remember, there was nothing outside of my own thoughts and my own slow breaths to listen to.
I’ve had a few memorable showers in my 29 and 3/4 quarters years.
I know, I know…what kind of statement is that anyway?
But hear me out.
I’m talking a shower where you turn the heat up as hot as you can stand it without feeling as though your skin is about to melt off your body.
I’m talking a shower that fills your bathroom with so much steam that it becomes difficult to take a deep breath; and in the very same moment, feeling the dirt, the grime, the sweat, the laughter, and the sand melt off your body and swirl around the drain, waving as though shouting gleefully, “until next time!”.
I’m talking a shower that leaves your skin pink with heat and the beginnings of a slight sunburn and memories from a weekend outside under the hot Rocky Mountain sun.
Now that’s a memorable shower.
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Taos NM, Zapata Falls, Lower Cataract Lake
There is a family of moose who have taken up residence in Summit Cove, specifically around Tally Ho Court.
A few times a day, Mama Moose takes her twins on a stroll, stopping occasionally to sample the local fare, namely Aspen trees and loose ground cover.
The twins, though new to ‘moosing’ and still working out the kinks of their spindly legs, follow along gamely; pausing every once in a while to observe the neighbors observing them.
You know what’s interesting?
My thinking spot in Chicago was a spot right on the lake; a little spot as far out on a little point of land as you could go without leaping into the icy depths of Lake Michigan. A spot way away from the noise of the road and hustle and bustle of the city.
Here, in the midst of the beauty and seclusion of our mountainous sentials, I still find myself reflecting on my life in a little spot right on the banks of Lake Dillon. It’s not always the most secluded or the quietest, but I still find myself seeking out the ebb and flow of the water and the wind.
New Years resolutions have never really been my thing. My track record for follow through on “resolutions” like going to the gym three days a week, only eating dessert after one meal a day (HA!), and cutting corn syrup from my diet (Oreos don’t have corn syrup, right?) has been measly to say the least.
But this year, in the midst of the sadness and terror leading up to the end of 2015, I made it my goal to focus on being mindful about the gratitude that I feel for all the little moments that make up my life. Thankful for the gift of friendship and family and the opportunities that are presented in times of chaos and joy. Thankful for the love of an itty bitty pitty pup named Mayhem, for the beauty of snow-covered mountains, and honing in on how my positive outlook, hell sometimes my negative outlook, affects those around me.
That said, in the spirit of gratitude, I would like to share an anecdote that touches on the hilarity of the hospitality industry at high volume time periods. Though this story serves as a prime example of teamwork and support, I left each day with a renewed sense of hope for humanity, appreciation for those of us who work hard to support the ones we love, and a the joy in a large glass of wine when I finally made it home at night.
Note, this anecdote was submitted to resort leaders so please forgive the nature in which the story is told as some content has been removed.
“Many teams preach about the importance of teamwork and good communication but in my experience, not many teams epitomize the concept of teamwork in quite the way that the staff at our property does. Over the last five days, a flu bug decimated our housekeeping department, knocking out two or three people each day, last weekend. With the resort receiving 40″ of snow last week, the hotel’s occupancy jumped to 100% for the upcoming weekend. Being short-staffed combined with 40” of fresh powder meant that the property started Friday, Saturday, and Sunday behind and played catch-up in the maintenance and housekeeping departments until late in the evening—in some cases as late as 8:00pm.
Though everyone on our team was working under a huge amount of stress, each member of the staff made it known to each other that they had each other’s backs. From maintenance technicians vacuuming rooms and making beds, to house-people and kitchen stewards running linens and water bottles to rooms, to front desk agents organizing a chaotic valet circle and showering our guests with our infamous guest service to ease the displeasure expressed at rooms not being ready on time, it was truly amazing to watch the love and support melt away the stress and bring laughter and efficiency to an otherwise extremely unpleasant and chaotic situation. Instead of grumblings about working late and tears caused by exhaustion, laughter, high-fives, and thank you’s rung through the hallways.
Since that weekend, I have heard time and time again how apparent it is how much our team cares about each other’s well-being. I can honestly say that our staff has opened my eyes to the concept of friends who become family and I could not be more proud to part of such an amazing group of people.”
Thanks again to all parties involved. I am oh so lucky to know each and every you and I can only hope that my future endeavors are highlighted with anecdotes and memories like the ones we have made over the last few years.
I was supposed to grab dinner with some old friends tonight.
We’d planned on meeting at Prost at 6:00pm to nosh on German beer and homemade sausages in celebration of making it to the final 30 days of the season.
Though as 6:00pm drew nearer, the idea of leaving the comfort of our warm homes and soft couches began to drift further and further from our minds.
As we contemplated a rain check, I sat on my living room floor with the sliding glass door cracked and watched as the wispy evening clouds chased the sun lower and lower behind the rose colored peaks of Buffalo and Red.
I’ve had a lot of thoughts mulling about my brain the last several weeks. So many thoughts that I can’t always make sense of what I am thinking. I am oddly emotional, a bit overwhelmed, and frankly, bone tired; though at the very same moment I am excited for everything to come and thankful for a winter season that has been deeply highlighted by love, laughter, and friends who have become family.
As the sun sank deeper and deeper, turning the sky into a mosaic of colors, my thoughts finally quieted and I just watched. Watched and relaxed, embracing the silence in my overactive brain. I laid my head back against the couch and confirmed our rain check with one simple word.
With the final decision of “tomorrow” having been made, we three settled deeper into our cozy woolens, some with a glass of wine, others with a steaming mug of tea, and cheersed each other from the quiet of our respective homes; thankful for our thoughts, for our successes and failures, and for our beautiful little mountain community.