The sky here in Alamosa, Colorado can sometimes feel so incredibly close yet so large, a giant glass fishbowl full of bushy desert plants and fine sand swirling around, piling at the bottom of a mountain. Mountains are in all directions, optical illusions creating some to appear small as they curl their bottom lip of switchbacks and raise high eyebrows full of summits and passes treacherous in winter as snow that never sees the valley beats down on the chest of the high places.
The bowl of the San Luis Valley becomes soaked as irrigation and veins of water fed by the Rio Grande collect snow of mountain tops becoming all but dry in summer. Rain becomes a welcome sign that miracles can happen in the desert and rainbows can form amidst the backdrop of peaks and valleys of Mount Blanca. The landscape and sense of place could keep me here for years as I begin to understand weather patterns and hear from the folks how the weather fits into their lives.
I don’t really know why I left Wyoming. I know why I left Gillette–to go to college. And I supposed I left Laramie for the same reason–to go to a different college. I went looking for opportunity and here I found diversity in the short time I have been here. I become aware of myself as I observe my surroundings to try to understand how to be serve, really how to best empower those around me to serve themselves. I do not know what is best for those in the valley and it’s nice to become learner once again.
Some things change and some remain the same. I travel with lavender oil and rub it on the foreheads of Coloradoans now and I teach yoga to students at this college campus. I wonder about the prospect of taking the mobile model of yoga I started in Wyoming and try it out here. How can I weave in the fabric of place through the stories of the people? I suppose I can start by leaving the house. I plan trips to trails and dream of backpacking trips up fourteeners but feel some tiny bit of flesh and bone is terrified while the spirit is bold and so I remain cautious.
I heard someone talk about the religious or spiritual connotations of the San Luis Valley. Every religious figure or prophet spent some amount of time thinking about stuff in the desert. The mountains provide a prompt to think about stuff in the desert and to slow down. The fishbowl of the valley allows for integration in twenty minute intervals toward towns spreading out like petals from the Alamosa center. I have arrived. And will be here now in the high desert of Colorado nodding my head to the high plains of Wyoming.
“Night poured over the desert. It came suddenly, in purple. In the clear air, the stars drilled down out of the sky, reminding any thoughtful watcher that it is in the deserts and high places that religions are generated. When men see nothing but bottomless infinity over their heads they have always had a driving and desperate urge to find someone to put in the way.”
-Terry Pratchett, Jingo