How Beautiful

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I-70Today I'm on the road in my home state of Colorado. The road we're on is a very familiar stretch of Interstate 70 from my home town of Grand Junction to Denver. I've literally traveled it every year since I've been born. Some of my earliest memories happened here; like listening to and singing along with a Sesame Street tape with my sister as we went over Eisenhower Pass. We were on our way to a Denver Nuggets game (I think), when Alex English took them to the playoffs for the last time in my childhood.  Today my girlfriend and I are traveling with her father to Kansas for a wedding and to see her ailing grandfather. The reasons for making this journey may have changed since I was young, but the views remain largely unchanged. River-sculpted sandstone cliffs give way to spectacular snow-capped peaks and rolling meadows with the now frequent sight of new giant ski lodges.

"Boy, it sure is pretty," I hear myself say. I cringe as I say it because this exact phrase, when uttered by my parents, used to annoy the shit out of me. How obvious a statement!  What an affront to our six-year-old intelligence and already keen aesthetic!  As if my sister and I couldn't tell that we were looking at some stupid "pretty" mountains.  I would think these things to myself, seething. Usually that was Mom's cue to blurt some other inane commentary like, "It's just SO gorgeous!" or, "just look at that!" Shut the fuck up about it and let us enjoy it too! I'd usually respond with an annoyed, "yeah, Mom, we know." I kept track when I was a kid and without fail one parent or the other would blurt it out at least once during the trip; usually more than that too. I mean, sure they grew up in the Midwest, but they'd also driven this road more times than I'd ridden it with them. They're mountains, Mom, get used to it! Then I grew up and moved away to New York. The big city has plenty of excitement, but it also has stink-ass piles of rotting garbage on the sidewalk three days a week and noisy, crowded streets and trains. In fact, from the minute you get into Manhattan I challenge anyone reading this to find a line of site longer than a couple hundred yards in front of your face. So upon returning to Colorado this year I guess you could say my appreciation for the scenery of my home state has grown up a little. In hearing my own voice I realized that not only have I taken yet another step toward becoming my parents, but also that as a kid I was a little punk-ass. Here my poor mother was simply driven by the emotion evoked by seeing the towering peaks. Her exclamations simply bubbled out. Often times I'm sure she realized that it annoyed her children.  But she just couldn't help herself and now looking back I'm glad that she didn't let her young curmudgeon of a son intimidate her to repress her emotions. Perhaps some day I too may have a young daughter or son of my own who is annoyed by their old man spouting off about the beauty of I-70. Now I know all I have to do - if they don't allow me to express myself fully - is exile them to a major city.

1 Comment

  • 1

    Man, this made me nostalgic and damn near brought a tear to my eye. Well done, Mr. Larson, and you (and your parents) were right on the money: It sure is pretty out there.

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