Cottonwood Lake Lesson

Out of Buena Vista, Colorado lies one of my favorite roads leading to Cottonwood Pass, and Crested Butte.  It follows a beautiful creek, has Hot Springs and some of the favorite hikes of my past.  Denny Creek parking lot was very full, so we traveled on to the Ptarmigan Lake Trail.  Starting at 10,000 feet, it climbed 1200 feet over 3.3 miles or so, and then you returned.  My heart rate was already at 110 and approaching cardiac when I got out of the car.  This high altitude allergy is really hard for me to accept. 

Descending to Cottonwood Lake and bouncing along slowly in the Mustang for four rough gravel miles, we saw the boiling creek and old growth Aspens.

Walking at my own pace alone on the solitary trail along the faint trail between water, grass and lake, I see, really notice the grass. It is all blending one way, to the east. I see the signs of flood or at least a much higher water flow.  The mountains to the West must have melted rapidly or the rain torrents of the summer flooded this flat plain of land.

The ground is still damp dark brown and moist near the creek, but where the sun has touched the earth, it is a dried light tan.  Across the tributary of the Cottonwood creek is another distinct area of watery wetlands where logs have created a wildlife sanctuary.  Whether the beavers have helped with construction is unseen.

While I walk backwards along the creek trail, a lone duck navigates the flow, floating with the current. A raven is screaming overhead waiting for something to happen. I know this means something. 

When I have traveled in one direction and everything goes that way and it has been full of trauma, I know it means something to me. Seeing this now and how that direction has been full of hard things.  

When I go backwards over time or space, go through the hard part again, I see the beauty of the wind, the flowers, and the duck and the water flow.  Even through the green grass is bent over, it is green, it is lush, it is lovely.  It survived.

“The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them.
 Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall,
 but the word of our God endures forever.”

You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!”” Isaiah 40:7-9 NIV

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