The photo just below is of Mount Sopris. She is one of the most beautiful and often photographed peaks in the world. South of Carbondale at the northwestern end of the Elk Mountain Range she is the pride of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, the jewel in the crown of the White Mountain National Forrest. Majestically looking down upon the confluence of the Crystal and Roaring Fork Rivers she can be hiked or climbed, but no one no matter how rich or foolish will ever go sliding down her slopes on two sticks.
As one can see from looking at Mount Sopris drenched with afternoon light, dressed in ethereal indigo and faded, watercolor silver, the Mighty Rockies have a soul. It was this soul that we Coloradoans protected years ago when we told the Olympic Committee to go to hell – the sight of children playing games in perpetuity was not justification for inflicting, as John Denver said, “More scars upon the land.”
In the dramatic granite canyons falling away sharply from the peaks one hears the Colorado River roaring through rapids and murmuring in placid meditation as she reflects the ruddy rocks that inspired the Spaniards to give my home the name Colorado or color red. This is the voice of the High Country; a voice I hear often calling me out of the city to realize a new truth that can only come from the Earth.
The slopes and valleys glowing gold, green and terra cotta, splashed with every blush of wildflower in the light spectrum the human eye can perceive, are the heart of the immense boulder and clay barrier dividing the high planes from the high desert. Such a heart with the nobility and graciousness that great artists, a Mozart or Monet, can only hope to approximate with note or brush beats inside of every pine and aspen.
One cannot be in the bosom of the Colorado Mountains, listening to the voice of rivers and touching the soul of great summits without knowing the meaning of masterpiece. We can appreciate it; under the influence of our darker angels we can destroy it, but for all our wretched arrogance and puerile greed we can never duplicate or achieve the magnificence that is my home – the Rocky Mountains.