Biking home today, I got caught at a stoplight. A man pulled up next to me on a cruiser bicycle with high handle bars; his call to the girl behind him drew my attention.
I might flatter myself when I say that I didn’t stare; I certainly wasn’t trying to be rude, but my glance likely lingered too long on his heavily tattooed arms, his dark clothing, his bald head. I was trying to figure out what the “Melvins” emblem on his black t-shirt meant, to decide whether it was a band or a club or something else entirely.
He smiled at me then, sincerely, right into my eyes, and commented, “I like your beads,” in reference to the long and colorful strand hanging around my neck.
Looking back at him, I grinned, “Thanks!” emphatically, as if I could could apologize for my own inconsiderateness in that one simple word.
The crosswalk gave us permission to move then. And I mounted my bike and set off while he waited for his friend to catch up to him.
“Have a nice day,” he called after me.
“You guys too,” I responded, with an honest verve.
Reflecting, it makes me chide myself for my quick judgment. I knew so little about him. Only that he was a good friend; just that he liked my beads; and importantly that the same Jesus died for both of our sins.
Gene Kelly was either a far better person than me, or he was completely full of crap. Singin’ in the rain? I’m far better at whining in the rain.
I want to go hiking or biking or walk around downtown Boulder and look at all of the interesting individuals who frequent Pearl Street… but with rain? I’d just get wet and cold and soggy.
Alas, this must be one of the 65 days of the year that it isn’t sunny. I suppose in the long run it only serves to prevent me from taking those other 300 days for granted. So with a roll of my eyes and a grumble under my breath, I doff my hat to the lousy weather… and I hope that it goes away tomorrow.
You’ve likely discovered the greatness of Pandora. Your favorite music anytime. It’s amazing.
Mumford & Sons just came on my station, “The Cave.” I love it. The song, the band really, makes me remember a close friend whose passion for music, and especially for Mumford, has had a great impact on my life. Despite her young age–only 25–she’s lived in the Faroe Islands, in the Phillipines and in Washington D.C. She and her husband just got back from a month in Afghanistan where she petted yaks and trekked along the Hindu Kush. I’ve only known her a year, but she’s taught me so much. Abby is now moving on to Wyoming and then to Denver.
Another close friend has a wonderful husband who just graduated from business school. His start-up business is taking off so they’ll be moving back to California within the next few days. She has made me great salads, made me laugh and made Boulder feel like home. I’ve promised to visit and certainly plan to do so, but it won’t be same as biking over to her house for pizza and deep discussion.
And then there’s Rachel, my best friend in the whole world. We spent five months together while studying abroad in Nantes, France, but since then, the longest continued period I’ve spent with her was the week when she visited me in the Tetons. A lot happened: we shared lunch with a bear, ate buffalo burgers and woke up to ants in the dorm bathroom. I got to stand next to her recently while she wore white and said “yes,” but we haven’t had that constant contact so precious to close friendships.
I’ve been blessed to have had a chance to travel, to live in beautiful places and meet incredible people. Yet, it’s tough when they or I move on. We all know the silver lining is the memory, the music, and–I suppose in my case–Mumford.
I love people. I love hearing what they’ve done and where they’ve been. I love seeing the hardship they wear on their face and getting insight into the aspects of life that they try to hide. I love when their eyes light up and a smile creases their cheeks.
On my recent hike up Green Mountain, I got a chance to talk with a man named Roger. He’s lived in Boulder for most of his life. He taught high school physics for decades and still tutors students in the craft. He’s worried about cell phones and social media and what they’re doing to human interaction. He pursues a green lifestyle.
Roger has also found toe-holds and hand-holds to take him up the east face of Longs Peak, known by climbers across the globe as The Diamond, more times than anyone else in the world. Having strapped on his climbing shoes at the base of the 900 foot vertical wall over 103 times, the East Face is like an old friend. Perhaps his most ambitious attempt would be the time he biked from Boulder to the Longs Peak trailhead (that’s a 40 mile ride with 4,400 feet of elevation gain*), then ran the trail to the base of the Diamond, then free-climbed (as in didn’t use ropes) to the top. Pretty amazing.
Moral of the story? Ask questions. People are interesting and crazy and crazy interesting.
Green Mountain, that is. I like to think that I’m a fairly avid hiker. After living a summer within Teton National Park, spending two years in beautiful Steamboat Springs, Colo.–an adventure Mecca–working for three months a mile from Rocky Mountain National Park, and now residing in Boulder–another sportsman (or woman)’s paradise, I feel that I’ve earned that claim.
But I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I haven’t done much exploring of the trails near Boulder. I give myself a bit of leniency… I mean, I’ve lived here for less than a year, and most of that was during the winter… excuses? Perhaps.
All that to say that this was my first trip up Green Mountain. It’s gorgeous.
And I’m blessed to say that I got to do it for my job. Not only is Educate! pursuing great work in Uganda with educational reform and social entrepreneurship, the people who work there also appreciate the importance of the outdoors. Today was a test run for the Hike for Uganda that will be happening on August 28… an awareness raiser/fundraiser. It’s going to be awesome.