Speeding East across Wyoming the mountains flatten out, losing some of their grandeur but never enough to dim my desire to remain in them. Changing direction, I head South into Colorado and I’m awed at the beauty before me. Trees! Everywhere trees! My eyes are relieved of the dusty red and brown high desert of the last several hours as I whip past them now: clumps of trees resplendent in fall colors of red and gold and tawny yellow; forests of pines and conifers and spruce; solitary sentinels of willow and cottonwood trees sprouting from ancient boulders. The road curves and twists, rises and falls as I ride Nature’s roller coaster toward Denver. I miss the turn the GPS directs me to take and, barely slowing my car, I execute a risky u-turn in the middle of the highway and slam onto a dirt road into a rush of oncoming pick-up trucks. The road humps and bumps old Sue and I around and I taste the metallic blood of my bitten cheek. My adrenaline pounds and I holler “yahoo” and finally slow down as I round a curve and slide part way into a ditch. I’m cowgirl without a horse and I feel electrified by life.
I’m leaving my beloved Rocky Mountains behind and heading off into a wide-open life of uncertainty. I’m making this new life up as I go. I’ve got an emergency roadside kit in the back of the station wagon, a first-aid kit in the glove box along with actual gloves and bear spray (because you never know!), a huge bag of snacks and a case of bottled water. Most of my earthly belongings crowd ‘round me in the car, my past, present and future: old photos, blank journals waiting for my every thought, winter and summer clothes, pillows and comforter for my next bed, touches of my once-upon-a-time home. I’ve got the Ten Commandments memorized, the Golden Rule emblazoned on my heart, and reminders of God’s faithfulness in me and beneath me and all around me. My seatbelt is on…this will be a bumpy ride.