As Advent, ‘the arrival’, is almost upon us, and these Calendar posts are the last, I wondered if I might be forgetting some important or interesting facts about Fort Collins. I could cram in lists: recreation activities, university outreach programs, everything I love about my library, etc. But I thought I’d reach deeper, and add a personal observation.
We first came to Fort Collins in October, and it had not been particularly moist that year. As we drove away from the airport, situated on the plains east of Denver, we were surprised by the brown and seemingly barren landscape. We were in awe of the majestic Rockies to the west, but where were the pines, the foliage, the green? The scars of human progress stood out in great contrast, and I could not align what I saw with what I had imagined. And why were there fences everywhere? How would we take walks if the fields were closed off to us? In Germany I was accustomed to stopping on a country road to walk down tree lined paths for a picnic on an outcropping in the woods. Luckily it didn’t take long to get our bearings, to locate hiking trails – and picnic rocks!
And a number of years did go by, but I gradually developed a sensitivity for color and eventually an appreciation for lines, bold and subtle, shapes and light. I still pine for the moisture I can almost breathe when watching a movie filmed in a lush landscape, but now I can’t see the colors – just so much green!
Adjustment to change, and longing for what we knew can be quite difficult, but these are vehicles by which we can grow and mature, sometimes unexpectedly. And we don’t have to move from one spot on this earth to another to learn from these experiences. Upheaval can and will bring pain in degrees, but if we are willing to look a little longer and give our surroundings as well as our inner perceptions a little focused attention, we can and will find joy and wonder in what we first found different and strange, or dry, brown and lifeless.