I realized last night how much I will miss Colorado when I go back to Pennsylvania. Last night a friend of mine and I were editing some photos to make a gift for my host family, and as we scrolled through the folders of photos from this summer I was struck by how truly beautiful and wild this state is. For me, this summer I have known Colorado as one of the last places in this country where community, exploration and self reliance is valued before comfort and materialism. When I came to work one morning afraid that I had cracked one of my engine valves, 6 or 7 men from my department promptly walked out to my car with me, and within minutes had diagnosed the problem and explained to me how to fix it. The following week, with the guidance of my boss in the operating floor of his garage, we removed the necessary parts of my engine to find the problem piece, replaced it, and within 2 hours had my car up and running like new again. A friend of mine here enjoys scouting out bikes at Goodwill, buying them for $30 or $40, fixing them up and giving them to friends of his who need transportation. He does it because he enjoys the mechanics, but even more simply because he cares about people. I love hiking, and am in pretty great shape, but most of the guys here would give me a run for my money climbing a fourteener, especially my host dad who at 49 took his son up Long’s Peak on a 14 hour hike, broke his ankle on a boulder at the summit, but still hiked down the rest of the way.
I’m from the city, so getting to be out here has taught me that life is meant to be a little more rugged than I’m used to. And it’s been sweet.
I leave for the D.R. tomorrow to spend the week visiting Compassion International’s field offices and project sites. When I get back, I’ll be reporting on whether poverty really can be made history.
P.S. Here’s a photo I took and edited from last weekend’s camping trip to the Maroon Bells