With the red dust of Strangeness, Oklahoma behind us, we tacked west and made our way up. My face stung from turps as Texas plains gave way to upended earth and Colorado crept up on us to cover our tracks. Our highways cut through the undersides of new rock formations, twisted and turned in the shadow of monuments hand crafted by history or heaven only knows. The flats that stretched until sightless are now way out of mind and it’s all violent shapes and lush shades; reds, greens, blacks, grays, textured like oil paints on blade-painted canvas.
Each curve of road meets a new sheet of rock and we’re struck dumb by all that surrounds. We play radio, Spotify, I scratch out some sketches, I thought Wales (where I grew up) was dramatic. And then we learn one valuable thing… Colorado has some real heavy weather. There I was clenching fists and puffing my chest to some 80s AM revival radio, when loud as a beast in the back of the car comes a banshee-like sonic reducer. I honestly thought that bombs may be on way. Or a heads up on some big disaster. But after the growls that cut off my karaoke came a warning of wind, rain and hail; right over where we were headed.
To us Brits this is new; we don’t have this in England. An amber rain warning and a blown over bin and our teatimes and trains are in turmoil. And where most should be nerve wracked or headed towards cautious, this was not my first inclination… So we drove quick as could into where storms were forming to witness this thing for ourselves.
Parked up at a mall outside Denver, lightning shakes the alarms from their cars. Hail cracks the windscreens of cars sat right by us, strikes ignite the sky and we rock from the jolts. The force of the wind shakes the windows and the black tarmac dances with the bouncing of beads and the marble sized splashes of water. It’s electric, alive, we sit, eat and chew and spit though our troubles, there’s turbulence both here and at home.
But we’ve hit Colorado with ambitions for Denver and there is a checklist made up to distract us. Dinosaurs, Rockies, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Mesa Verde, hot springs and more. Then add on to that what we fancy.
But I’ll say in advance what my favorite thing was, and that don’t mean don’t read the next post; more than Jurassic footprints and Queen up at Red Rocks, more than soaring bald eagles at Rockies high points, more than tumbling down naked on non-clothed folk in hot springs (though that comes a close place up in second), it’s the first time I ever saw chipmunks. These underground squirrelmonkeys run, dig and jump and poke heads out of holes with a hyper that just has me tickled.
And I can’t explain how mind bending it is, to have all of these things within reach. Until now all this existed in sheets or on screens, now they’re here at my tips and they’re real.
I might not have a home or a job or a plan but I’m filing that all under ‘other’.