Family Time

For five days, family and friends gather from near and far to celebrate Paul and Heather’s marriage. The afternoon of the wedding is pleasant, and the ceremony is heartfelt with just the right touch of levity, followed by dinner and dancing. The DJ plays a wonderful mix of music for all kinds of dancing. Several of the men show amazing breakdance moves.

Andrew, Paul’s best man, makes a toast filled with good wishes for the couple. He begins, “Paul finally met someone he loves more than Elon Musk…”

After the long weekend, I drive to Castle Rock, Colorado to spend time with Paul and Heather. From Santa Fe to Colorado Springs, the roadsides are covered with sunflowers in bloom, their bright yellow faces against a deep blue sky add cheer to the drive.

We enjoy family time together. Sometimes Paul cooks diner, sometimes I do, one of us assisting the other. We go to Festival Park to see a local rock band, and to the farmers market in Parker. It’s crowded, but fun, filled with all the goodness that Mother Nature provides at the height of summer. We fill bags with fresh produce, and wait a half hour in line for a flat of mixed sprouts that add zing to our salads and sandwiches.

Heather and I have a wonderful day poking around antique stores in Elizabeth. Paul and I tend his garden.  We enjoy hiking and exploring the Rock and Dawson’s butte.

Castle Rock

Castle Rock was home to the Arapajo and Cheyenne people until rumors of gold brought white settlers to the area. Instead, they found rhyolite, a fine grained, silica rich, volcanic rock. Rhyolite is Greek for streaming rock, and so this rock is named because of its flowing bands of color. From the late 1800s to the early 1900s, quarrying rhyolite was the main industry. Rhyolite is used in construction, building and road materials, and landscaping. Driving around Castle Rock and Denver, one will see many historic buildings made of rhyolite.

The butte the castle shaped rock sits on was donated to the town in 1936, and thus the town’s name, Castle Rock. Not long afterwards, the WPA built a star atop the butte. It was lit every year until 1941. It remained dark during WWII a symbol of support. The star was re-lit on December 7, 1945, and has been lit every year around the same time since.

I had a reunion with extended family that I hadn’t seen in many years. Stuart and I hiked in Castlewood Canyon Park. His wife, Sally, and I spent hours talking. I started to leave at least three times, but we couldn’t stop talking. It was hard to say good bye.

Castlewood Canyon Dam was built in 1890 by the Denver Water Storage Company. The dam leaked and fell into poor condition. In August, 1933, heavy rains caused the dam to collapse and sent a fifteen foot wall of water into Denver. The flood caused about $1.7 million in damages. I wonder how much that is in today’s money.

August 16this my birthday. Paul has a full day planned, beginning with a visit to the Denver Botanic Garden. It’s magnificent. There’s a little museum on site, and the current exhibit is Salvador Dali’s Gardens of the Mind, with prints of his Surrealist Flowers. What a thrill to see such an array of beautiful flora, and then Dali’s whimsical take on the world of plants.

In the evening we go to the spectacular Red Rocks amphitheater to see and hear Not Our First Goat Rodeo, a blend of classical, bluegrass and folk music by YoYo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile. Aoife O’Donovan added vocals to three numbers.

Flowers, great art, great music, a sunny day and a balmy evening. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday.

YoYo Ma, Not Our First Goat Rodeo, Red Rocks Amphitheater

Full moon in Aquarius, Jupiter a dot in the sky above it.

After sunset, I look for Venus in the sky. She’s been there since early spring, following me on this journey I’m on, setting the familiar aside to experience the different. Tonight there’s a full moon. I remember that part of the journey is to find the best new place to live. I still haven’t found it.

Before I left Oregon, I asked everyone I came in contact with where they would live if they could. One place kept coming up.

I’m back on the road, headed to Sequim, Washington.

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