“When you are discontented you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, ‘Oh yes – I already have everything that I really need.” (Dalai Lama).
I vividly remember my first visit to the Rocky Mountains. It was Spring Break, 1982 and I needed desperately to gear down from my stressful life as an inner city teacher in Miami. A family friend of my wife had invited us to stay in their studio apartment near Steamboat Springs, Colorado and we graciously accepted. This beautiful, Western town would soon become a regular stop in our vacation travels.
I have always appreciated the opportunity to experience the quiet peace of the Rocky Mountain winter in Steamboat. My senses seem enhanced to the deadness of winter as I took morning walks through glistening layers of snow. Only a soft crackling of ice or a lonely howl of a wolf could break the silence to remind me that survival is a difficult one in this austere environment.
The onset of darkness in the Steamboat Valley was equally magnificent. The silhouette of nearby peaks framed by the fading presence of a pink and purple sunset were always worth the wait. In the absence of city lights, a symphony of glittery stars would fill the clear sky each evening. I felt fortunate then to be alive to witness these spectacular displays of nature’s glory.
Steamboat, at its heart, remains a resort town for downhill skiers, marathon runners and white water rafters. Never imagining myself as a competitive, outdoor athlete, I have taken a less serious interest in the area as an outdoor enthusiast. In winter, I survived numerous falls as I learned to cross country ski and snowshoe there. In summer, I clumsily made my way, traversing steep, Rockies trails and gained confidence as a novice hiker.
Rarely finding the true solitude of nature at home in densely populated South Florida, Steamboat remains a powerful attraction in my life. Taking the time to research the area on our road trip west, this summer, my wife and decided to book a one month condo stay there on Air B@B for Fall. The challenge to”downsize”my possessions as I get older means I will pack less this time and avoid the pricier, tourist temptations that I have always witnessed there.