A while ago now, I went to Colorado to experience the mountains that I have always loved so much. I was just getting into photography as more than a hobby and had started to really "find myself" and explore the person I wanted to be. This was a trip where my life really changed and expanded. I decided to stop settling. I decided to dedicate myself to nature. I haven't shared many of these photos. And what they represent is so much more than the beauty of the wild and rugged wilderness. They represent me. My whole being going through a period of immense growth and exploration that emboldened me to be where I am now. I think maybe that is why I hadn't shared them until now. They are personal and have a lot of meaning. I hope the magic they make me feel is represented.
I have been going to Colorado frequently for as long as I can remember. It is the place I am most comfortable and feel I belong. The wildlife, mountains, glaciers, lakes and steams all speak to me loudly. In this nature I am able to find peace. It is home. The photo above was taken during a very quiet evening. The color of the sky lit up the foliage and grasses in shades of purple and yellow that I had never experienced before. For an hour that evening, I was not in this world. I was somewhere different. Where nothing mattered but this elk and the sky. The photo below shows how the sky was playing with Longs Peak. The colors still seem unreal. I can still smell the crisp air and feel the breeze whipping my hair everywhere.
I had always had an obsession with the mountains, but as a grown woman, I had never really truly explored them. I didn't know what it was like to be alone in the wild before the sun came up. And to sit at the base of a mountain lake, while the mountains surrounding you turn pink and gold, reflecting the rising sun across everything. That really stuck in my senses. Below is a photo from a few hours into my first alpine start. Almost to Chasm Lake, before sunrise. Heading up to Longs Peak. The 14er that I grew up wishing to summit. It scared me immensely, but was so ingrained in my head as a right of passage that any mountaineer would take part in. I had trained and trained for it. The views blew my mind. From dawn to sunrise, everything was pink and purple.
And then suddenly everything was golden.
I think this experience drilled into my brain that I needed to live here. That even though I always wanted to move to Colorado and live in the mountains, it was real now. And it couldn't wait too much longer.
When Jon and I first met, one of the first things he said was that he wasn't positive a relationship would work, because he had a goal to move to Denver within a year or two. When my response was "me too" I think we knew we would be moving there together. And shortly after that, we actually did begin talking about that and setting some tentative dates. It seemed mildly far-fetched, but it was a mutual dream.
When we married one another in the mountains, we decided it was happening without question. This is our home. We didn't have a plan, other than it was going to happen. We need to breathe the thin air and climb to great heights.
It's happening. In January we are flying out to check on jobs and see our new place. In February we are selling or getting rid of so much of our stuff. And in March we are packing everything up and moving. All of this was decided within three hours on a random work day. Everything just sort of fell into place. And we were ready for it. This is a big step towards our dreams; adventure, athletic pursuits, photography goals and peace. The sky is the limit. We are so excited for this brand new chapter.
I feel incredibly lucky to have a husband and partner in my life who supports everything I want. Together we are making everything we want happen. It gets hard and the choices are never cut and dry. But day-by-day we are carving out our place in this world and the world is truly our oyster. Adventure is what we are about and it is what we will have. It doesn't come for free, but it will come. And all the work it has taken to get there is so small compared to what we are getting.
Don't be scared to chase your dreams, achieve your goals and get uncomfortable. Change does not happen without struggle and without resistance. It's about learning, choices and taking big risks. Sometimes you will lose, sometimes things will fall apart. But you must persist, because the reward is beautiful and it is worth it. You will get tired, you may get sad and you may feel alone. Keep your head up and keep moving towards what you truly want.
Jump and a net will appear.