Monday, July 9, 2012

Mountain Magic

Last year this time we were all basking like lizards on a desert rock with temperatures raging in the hundreds.  Some might prefer that I say,  "baking like steaming hot biscuits or sizzling like hot grease in the scalding temperatures."  Either way we each remember the heat wave of last summer and of the last few weeks.  My body and soul like the heat, and I will not complain when the temperatures soar.   However, even I will admit that a week long golfing trip to Beaver Creek, Colorado last July soothed my soul and calmed the spirits.  The first photo I took and posted on facebook was of the temperature near a ski lift.  My hope is that by sharing this story and posting these pictures we may all refresh ourselves when we think of cooler temperatures and memorable vacations.

We'd driven from Hutchinson to Colorado in two hour shifts.   Even with air conditioning in the Explorer we were four toasty companions driving along waiting like children to see who might catch the first glimpse of the mountain peaks.  My shift was the last drive of the day up the winding mountains, but first we needed to stop for gas and check out the outlet mall near Silverthorne.  Suddenly, the clouds dropped over the mountains and misty cold rains spilled down our dry hot backs.  We ran and giggled from the rain, jumping puddles unsuccessfully, until we were under an awning.  At that moment I knew we were on vacation, the worries and the weight of everyday life were washed away with one brief cold mountain rain.

Even if we hadn't played golf I think I would have been content to sit and absorb the calmness of the village atmosphere or read and look up at the mountains.  

But it was friendship with Tony and Lora and the delight of golf that had brought us to Colorado, plus the fact that Red Sky Ranch offers two outstanding golf courses just 10 miles West of Beaver Creek.  We were up early in the brisk morning air eating a light breakfast and jumping in the car with energized  bodies to greet the challenges of the golf course and the mountains.

Tony and Jack up mountain or down?

Golfers have their own language when it comes to making decisions about where to play the ball and line up a putt.  Suddenly, flat was not not in our vocabulary, but words like side hill uphill, side hill downhill, up mountain, down mountain, off rocks, over trees, along with the binging sounds when our golf balls crashed into the rocks and boulders all came into play and our vocabulary.  However, I must admit there were a few times when just plain exasperation could be heard in our voices with such phrases as, "Am I putting up mountain or down mountain?"  or "No, it can't break that way."  "Would you look at that!"

The golf course designers, Greg Norman and Tom Fazio, must have been devilish in their delight to stump golfers as they carved the golf courses through the mountains.  Lora and I found ourselves gazing at the surrounding beauty from time to time, and laughing at ourselves or our shots.  What else can you do?

Up here "Mountain Magic" really exist, not just in folktales and children's books.   Long tee shots found the fairway and rolled to our next challenge, and then just like magic the next shot went it's errant way off the mountain, never to be found again.  Trees and bushes would reach out and grab our balls in flight like the reach of the mighty gnomes of old--where did they go?    When we'd finally reach a green we were either already humbled and just happy to be there.  Pride and greed took their strokes, a corner cut to short the price was paid or a putt lined up and not struck with authority often taught us that we were lucky that we didn't five putt!  My imagination wondered as often as my golf shots, and I'd catch myself gazing at the formations in the clouds and not focusing on the shot.  Oops! 

At the end of the day we'd return to our loft "to take the edge off" as Tony and Jack called it.  When we were once again mellowed and refreshed, we'd wonder through the village atmosphere of Beaver Creek.  One evening while walking we witnessed this charming scene.  Observing the young girl daring to pull the arrow out of the bear's bottom touched my heart:  for her innocence, her concern, her spirit and boldness;  for the imagination of the artist; and for the pure "magic" of the vacation.  I think God was chuckling when she reached for the arrow, I'm sure I heard his belly laugh as the mountains rumbled above.

Statue near the St. James Hotel in Beaver Creek, Colorado.

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