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A Trip to the City
I grew up in Denver, but a recent trip there has shown me that nothing ever stays the same. It is very different from the Denver I knew and compared to the mountain community that I live in now the differences are even more apparent. Even Canon City, which is our closest urban center, seems small in comparison. In our little community, people smile and wave when they pass by, even if they don't know you. In Denver, people scowl and look the other way. They put bars on their doors and windows and lock everything up tight to protect those within from vagrants and other unsavory characters that wonder the streets; many homeless, with no place to go, carrying all of their worldly possessions in a pack on their backs or a shopping cart that is pushed along in front of them. The city is a bustle of activity. Everyone is in hurry to get wherever it is that they are going, no time to stop and chat, or even smile.
Buildings rise up and up against the cloudless blue-gray sky, so different from the powder blue horizon that serves as a background to my Sangre de Christos. The few trees that sprout up along the sidewalks have been purposefully planted to add contrast, but they seem out of place against a background of brick and glass. The sidewalks are lined with parking meters, standing sentinel and cold, stiff lampposts, meant to look quaint, are not welcoming, but rather warning; reminders of the limited time we all face. My peaceful mountain life allows me to push these ugly realities to the back of my mind and just breathe in the fresh, crisp air.
A huge, bright red crane blares out against a background of concrete and glass, announcing it's presence like a huge warning sign. The skyscrapers behind remain still, as if they are holding their breath, as it's stiff, slow mechanical movements bring it first one way and then another, as if the operator can't decide which way to go. These tall, stiff, vertical images don't belong on this horizon, jabbing up into the sky like sharp, angry spikes.
As I was leaving the city, traffic was stop and go, stop and go, with so much to watch to ensure safe travel; cars yielding and merging with the traffic flow, pedestrians crossing at corners, bikes and mopeds, a man with an electric wheelchair cruising up the sidewalk with the flow of traffic, (distracting drivers, who take second looks to be sure that he won't hinder their travel), all constantly in motion and terribly unpredictable. I was relieved to return to my familiar mountain vistas. As I approached home, I let out the breath that I hadn't been aware of holding. The sounds of revving engines and blaring car horns was gladly traded for the soft twitters and tweets of my feathered friends. The air smelled fresh and sweet after the exhaust fumes of the city. This trip served to remind me of why I moved out of Denver, with it's growing urban sprawl, and chose to make my home here in the mountain ranges, where forest green is always predominant and the only thing I have to watch out for are the humming birds, swooping and diving as they chase each other through the trees.