“You may ask yourself . . . where does that highway go?” Talking Heads
I ask myself that question many times since moving out to the western part of the United States.
I find myself both amazed and amused by the way population is distributed in this state. There are only five million people in Colorado, give or take. Almost three million of them live in Denver/Boulder/Colorado Springs. It leads to some interesting political dichotomies, but that’s not the coolest part. The cool part is it leads to great huge swaths of land with absolutely no one in them at all. Land dotted with ghost towns, the remains of places too high up, too far away, too cold, too hard, too unforgiving to be lived in. All walked away from and discarded. Investments in time and toil, hopes, dreams, and in some cases costing lives, all left behind in the quest for an ideal.
It also leads to vast forests, sweeping plains, rolling hills with nothing and no one for miles in any direction. The beauty of solitude. And if you go in to it, you learn to be thoughtful. You plan a little more carefully. You take extra water and supplies. You read cautionary tales in local papers about lost folks in the wild places. Some come out hungry, exhausted, bleeding. Some are found when the spring thaw comes, gone from this world. And some are never found at all.
But that beauty of solitude is worth it. More than anything. It is perfection. and perfection is beyond price.