Long winding roads, verdent mountains, dotted blue skies, fresh chill in the air, and yes– The Choo! Choo! train. “Bye, bye Choo choo train!” says a mother to her toddler as they descended the train. The nostalgia and the romance of the steam engine is unique. It brings an immediate smile all faces and a faraway look in those of us who have experienced traveling long distances in them. The sharp sound of the whistle and the smoke plume billowing over the length of the train has a plaintive ring to it– as if seeking for a lost era.
It’s a Sunday. Not just any day. A day of so-called rest or restlessness. Let’s take a trip downtown. The weather is chilly, the sky is grey. The streets are deserted. Parking in the Whole Foods garage will cost you unless you spend $10 on groceries. Two boxes of cereal and some lemonade- $11 and change; not bad at all. Pick up some coffee at Starbucks (there is still no sitting inside) then wander along the streets.
The trees are finally springing leaves- makes for a nice contrast against the blue of the building across.
Walk through the Union Station which happens to the center of action to 17th street. A man wearing a purple cape slips into an alley covered with striking graffiti. Oxford Hotel, the oldest in Denver- had no clue.
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Was it true or was I dreaming? I couldn’t wrench my eyes off the scene. In fact, I couldn’t have enough of it.
I checked the clock to be sure. Yes, it was half past eleven. Almost midnight. But outside my window, the world was bright. Like day, yet not quite. It felt like I had stepped into a painting, another universe– a place I’d never been to before.
The blizzard had run out of steam, or taken a pause so it seemed. The air was still. The naked trees were sporting a shiny new coat of snow. The sky was white, so was the earth. There was no sound, nothing moved, yet everything throbbed with life. I was in awe.
It was too fantastic to be true. Yet true it was. I had the proof outside my window.
Recently I went on a hike in the foothills nearby (I’m lucky to have nature in such close vicinity, it’s a shame I don’t take advantage of it more often) and was arrested by this scene. It reminded me of the animated Studio Ghibli movie written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, The Wind Rises. It was just this scene captured perfectly– the wind blowing through the meadow full of lush green grass and the sound. So beautiful and serene. I must credit the artists for their keen sense of observation, and thank them for bringing us citydwellers closer to nature and its miracles.
Do check out The Wind Rises and other Studio Ghibli movies. They are all pretty much masterpieces of animation.
I can say I’m also inspired to include nature in my writings, and bring in the small details which may capture the readers’ imagination.
Do check out my works here and follow me on social media here.
When you are in Colorado you are never far away from the mountains and when you are in the mountains you are never far away from God–mountians being closer to heaven, hence God. Or that’s how I’ve always believed and experienced.
So what better place to build a monument for peace and spirituality?
Shambhala mountain center located about 2 hours northwest of Denver is a Buddhist retreat located in a beautiful Colorado Rockies mountain valley where people from all faiths and walks of life gather year around to meditate, contemplate and gain knowledge to better themselves and the lives of those around them. It is also home of the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya upon entering which I encountered a perfect quiet disturbed only by the sound of my own breathing. Perhaps the next time around I can learn to quieten my mind.