A Letter to Red Rocks


Dear Red Rocks,

I believe that everyone should have a spot. A place that they can go to when they need it. A place to wrap themselves up in something beautiful-- to think, to meditate, to pray. A place to feel more alive and connected.

You are my spot. My getaway when I need you. My little desert oasis. And you are only 15 minutes away.

Yesterday was not my best day. I hesitate in saying that it was a bad day, because there were moments in it that were quite charming-- the boys playing in the tub together, and Vaughn putting a plastic cup over his hand, pointing it at Mason and saying "okay. I'll be the bad guy, and you be the good guy." Mason was all smiles while Vaughn made shooting noises at him, and I just laughed. I swear I've never said the words "bad guy" or "good guy" to the kid.

The problem is the baby. When we were in Utah he started sleeping through the night. For four blissful nights in a row he did it. It was the first time in 9 1/2 long months (and 12 if you count the last few months of pregnancy when I had to get up to pee 50 times a night) that I got a good nights sleep-- that I woke up feeling rested. I was like a new woman. I woke up singing the hallelujah chorus, and would all but cartwheel out of bed.

But it was a false hope. He was back to his old habits and yesterday I decided I had had enough. Those few days had given me a taste of freedom and I wanted it back (back! I tell you). So I decided that I would let him cry it out (dun-dun-dun-duuuuuun). So for forty-five minutes he howled and wailed, and sounded like someone was tearing his limbs off. I felt like banging my head against a wall. I felt like all my nerves were exposed-- frazzled (you get the point). He never gave up. He finally just didn't get a nap, which meant that I had an exhausted little baby to deal with. Then Vaughn threw a toy car at my head, which made me cry (because it hurt), and then showed no remorse for his crime, and even laughed at my pain, which made me say a bad word, which he will probably repeat as clear as day in front of people I don't want him to say it in front of.

Rick came home and I told him that I want to give our children up for adoption. Then I went upstairs and laid on our bed and cried and felt sorry for our children for having me for a Mom. Then I decided that I just needed to get out of the house or I might go crazy.

That's where you come in dearest Red Rocks. I knew that a drive through your 13 mile loop would bring me back to my senses. I originally intended to just take the baby and have a long heartfelt conversation with the big brown eyed boy. I was going to talk to him about how much happier we both would be if he would just start sleeping better. I intended to ask him (beg him) to please, please, please start sleeping better at night, and to stay asleep during his nap times. But instead, Rick and Vaughn joined us and we took a little family drive.

Nothing extraordinary happened on the trip. We stopped at the summit and looked through the binoculars. We all threw rocks down into your shrubs. Even Mason fingered the rocks and put a few in his mouth. We saw a guy riding his road bike without a helmet and Rick said "That guy's not wearing a helmet," but when we got closer the guy was wearing what looked like a pink sports bra, and had a shaved head so I said "no it's a lesbian!" (in my oh-so-politically correct way), but then we passed the chick and saw a receding hair line, and what was indeed a man wearing a pink biking onesie, and Rick said "he's got to be European," which made me laugh.

Half way through the canyon Vaughn yelled from the back seat "Hey! We need some music!" So we cranked up the tunes and rolled down the windows and breathed in the canyon air.

I looked through my photo gallery to find a picture for this post, and my photo gallery is full of you. And I hardly ever even take a camera for my visits. It made my heart do a little pitter-patter remembering all the beautiful moments I've spent with you so far.

When we were newly-weds we used to hike into your canyons with ropes and climbing shoes around our back after work. We would climb until it got dark and the bats would start swooping blindly down on us. Rick would teach me the climbing lingo and I would say things like "that was bomber" and "You're really cranking" and pretend like I was cool and knew what I was doing.

When I trained for my marathon I ran hundreds of miles on early Saturday mornings on the road that leads to you, and through the loop. They are some of my favorite runs that I have ever done. Sometimes I would get a runners high and literally feel like I was a bird flying through your cliffs.

Occasionally I pack my kids and the stroller in the back of the blues mobile and we park at your exit and take our morning walk along the road. Once I saw a giant tarantula walking along the pavement. If it were anywhere else I would have screamed, but it somehow seemed sweet along your road.

Our kids have climbed on your rocks. We have come to you again and again-- together as a family, sometimes with friends, and sometimes alone. I have seen bats, spiders, jackrabbits, a desert tortoise just crossing my path without a care in the world, and have even been startled by a wild burrow braying at me on an early morning run.

And always your wild red cliffs, your blue skies, your winding road.

Sometimes when I come back from an out-of-town visit, I feel mildly depressed when the valley opens up and I see the city. It just doesn't seem to have a heart or soul-- it's just a giant blinking smoggy machine. But then I drive closer and closer to home-- to my family, friends and neighbors-- the one's I love best, and there you are in the background, and I think "ahhhh. This is home. I love it here."

So yesterday may not have been my best in the parenting books, but it was nothing that a visit to you with the windows rolled down and a little Bowie couldn't cure.

Thanks for the good times,