Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Blossoms of Light
Between work assignment, social obligations and holidays, I have been spending far too much time on planes lately. All my numerous times through security and yet, I feel no more secure. However, with every return to Denver, I am filled with a relaxed joy and it confirms my relocation decision all over again.
Even as I recently struggled to find my truck at 2:00 a.m. at the Mt. Gilbert parking lot at DIA, (Calling it Random Kansas Wheat Field Parking Lot, would be more accurate.) I could feel a familiar warm excitement at being home again. All the cars were frosted white and it was the first time that I'd ever experienced a steering wheel too cold to touch. Too hot? Sure. Melted Chapsticks are a signature of my childhood but this other extreme, I am slowly discovering.
Denver is, for me, The Never-Ending World of New. For example, today was my first time driving in snow … ever. It was also the first time using the 4WD on my truck; I felt so incredibly studly and made no effort to contain my squeals of delight. (That's a Squealing Stud in the Snow, for those of you following along.) Then, I played a blues riff on my guitar for the first time at my beloved music school, Swallow Hill. Three major firsts - all before lunch.
Tonight, I met my friend, Sarah, at the annual "Blossoms of Light" at the Denver Botanic Gardens down the street. It was quite spectacular, tingly even. Mayor Hickenlooper counted down, flipped the switch and … zzzzt ta-da! A giant magical snowy ChristmasLand appeared - a site to behold. Hundreds of excited gloved and mittened hands made for some comical applause - Puffpuffpuffpuffpuff! I found this hysterically funny, for some reason.
Seriously, around every corner and over every wooden bridge, we expected to encounter sparkling fairies handing out candy canes or giggling elves cheerily making toys. In fact, I'm pretty sure that when Will Farrell's character in "Elf" walked to New York from the North Pole, he came through here.
So much effort went in to setting this up, color me impressed. Thousands of bright, twinkling LED lights ("Energy-saving!" insisted our wonderfully green mayor) covered trees, archways, waterfalls, trellises and walkways - even the frozen pond had green 'Lilly pads'. Great care was given to color choices – not just your predictable greens and reds, lots of pinks, oranges and purples. There was even a grove of trees done entirely in autumn hues. Sarah's favorites were the trees wrapped in blue and green – so clean and crisp looking. Mother Nature, ever the dominant stylist, gave the final touch by dusting it all with the whitest, fluffiest snow I have ever experienced. (My inner LA voice insists that it feels so real, it has to be fake.)
Later, defrosting our extremities inside, Sarah and I drank hot chocolate, munched on cookies and listened to a string quartet. We watched kids get their picture taken with Santa and marveled at how we could see the detail of the cellist red thong. Always nice to see classical music getting sexed up a little, especially with holiday colors.
It is one of those nights that make me giddy about the future. This is Denver's ongoing gift to me, a breath of fresh (if not frigid) air that makes me welcome whatever else might be coming around the corner. I feel ready.