I MISS THOSE DAYS
Nina and I were returning from a short hike up the mountain behind my Colorado house. Ahead of us was a 180-degree panorama of the mountains to the south and west -- to which Nina seemed oblivious. Off in the distance I could see our house, but Nina didn't seem to notice. We complement each other on our hikes. Being a dog, she likes to look and smell the details around her while I take in the broader picture. I'm sure her story would be different than mine, but we both were deeply absorbed with enjoying our own perspectives.
As we made our way down through the lodge pole pine, aspen and ponderosa pine, a small meadow appeared off to our right. Something about it was calling out to me, and I headed for it. The summer had been cool and wet, which was unusual for the high mountains where a 6-year drought had taken it's toll on the sunny south facing slopes–killing most of the aspens that had been growing there. But the top and north-facing slopes were green and lush from the summer rains. This tiny oasis of tall grass was nestled among some large ponderosa pine and aspen just on the protected north side of the ridge that ran down to the west toward our house.
When we reached the meadow, I realized that I had been there about seven years earlier. On that visit I was riding my horse BJ, and my dog Ben had been there instead of Nina. We had stopped and taken a break, and I had let BJ graze while I sat on a log and savored the view and the time together with my two best friends. Ben had done his usual thorough check of the details of the meadow. Both BJ and Ben died a year or two later, but as I sat there remembering, they were with me once again. It made me really miss those days.
This was my fifteenth summer in the Colorado Mountains, and as I reflected back, I really missed each and every one of them. I especially missed my horse BJ and my dog Ben, both of whom had shared the first ten of our summers there. I can't say that any one summer was best. They were all great, and so was this one that was now coming to an end. I was all packed and ready to leave the next day–saying goodbye once again to a wonderful three months in the mountains. I'll be back next summer for another three months, and no doubt Nina and I will come across some other spots that will evoke treasured memories -- perhaps even memories of this moment. And I'll sit and think how much I miss those days.