Driving through ranch and mining country along Interstate 76, large square bales of hay are stacked four high as a windbreak around feedlots. The harvest is in and irrigation rigs idle.
On the distant horizon are wind turbines, It’s difficult to see if their blades are turning. Empty coal trains are on the move and motor traffic was light. Cloud formations played against an azure sky coming into Colorado.
As we exited to the Denver bypass, an enormous flock of birds descended onto a surface of water. We too were intending to settle for the night in Colorado Springs.
After dinner at Poor Richard’s Restaurant, we checked in at The Antlers Hilton.
The Antlers was opened a couple of years after the founding of Colorado Springs in 1871, situated with a view of the mountains and close to downtown. It was and is a resort designed to be away from the rough and tumble of the mining community and daily life. There were not a lot of cars in the adjacent self-park garage, and the hotel staff has been personable and helpful. It has been quiet during our stay.
At the end of 2008, the patterns of our lives feel played out.
Getting through the year marks us as survivors, pragmatists, realists and as individuals pitted against a society that rebukes our endeavors to rise above the trivial and petty. There are powerful interests at work.
As individuals we can cope through focus on family and friends and by renewing our efforts to take actions that result in improvement of our life in society. Our hope is that after the family retreat, and we head back home through rural Colorado, Nebraska and Iowa, there will be a new opportunity to repair the society in which we have been participants for much longer than there have been retreats in the Colorado mountains.
From this mile high view, it does not look like we will miss many of the events of 2008. It was a year of reality staring us in the face, and was not always pretty.
Will we make something of the coming days, or will we resemble revelers at a ball, donning a mask to look through the rigid certainties of the maker’s design. We must work toward the former with all of our energy as we return home to the next work.
~ An earlier version first posted December 31, 2008.