Many of us take the beauty of this valley for granted. I know, because I was among those ranks until I was in college back when many persons reading this were either not yet born or very small. My appreciation was among their ranks.
Toddling through life, my mind thought a day was hot or cold, windy or calm, rainy, snowy or just letting enough drops to mess up the fresh wash job on the family car.
I have always loved autumn colors but didn’t pause to appreciate where they were and how they happened. I could bore the reader with a discussion of how leaves change, but I will let Google advise those who want to learn.
Collegiate years are to be appreciated, along with the friends one makes on campus. One man, who is still a good friend, advised me I should be on my knees each day giving thanks for being able to live in such a magnificent place.
One night we were driving from a meeting in Center to home in Alamosa. His car radio was “iffy” and the music wasn’t great. Suddenly, he pulled over where there was little “light pollution.” I reminded him I didn’t want to ruin our friendship.
He pulled a well-worn serape off the back seat of the car and spread it on the hood of his car. “Shut up and listen to me,” he said.
Patting a spot next to him, he told me to lie down there.
I knew his entire life had been spent in smoggy cities until he enrolled at Adams State and he repeated some of his story.
“Look up,” he suggested. It was a clear night and the skies were filled with stars. “Have you just laid and looked at the magnificence of San Luis Valley skies?”
I was amazed. A couple of “falling stars” streaked across the mountain tops and he told me to make a wish for each star.
As a teenager, I had done that, but I really hadn’t appreciated the skies in their entirety.
Summer was fading and we would soon be back in classes. It was chilly, but I didn’t notice as we looked for the signs of the Zodiac, the Big and Little Dippers, those plants that were visible, a passing plane and an amazing number of miscellaneous stars.
“So you’re taking astronomy, then?” I asked.
He was silent.
We folded up the serape and got back into the car. I never asked again.
Today, I spend time looking at the skies. Sunrise is often magnificent and the blue of the sky makes it even more amazing. Sunsets can take the breath away, but they also foretell cloudy skies later.
My nephew who lives in Virginia loves it when I send photos of the skies. He makes photos go viral especially those with Mt. Blanca in them. He calls it “God’s Country” and I can’t argue.
When people talk of finding ways to draw visitors to the area I think of the skies. Are they more beautiful in the fall or is my memory rooted there?
Visitors come from all over, even the cities and I will guarantee what they see looking up on a clear night will be a memory forever.
We will be sky high forever.