No matter the weather when I make the drive, there's always that moment when the landscape stretches out before me and I have to choke back the tears of happiness. I love this land. There's something about Colorado that speaks to my soul in a way no other place does. I've traveled fairly extensively. I've found beauty in Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee. Even Louisiana, Indiana, Oklahoma and Texas have some amazing features. And my original home - New Mexico - has some wonders that take my breath away.
But Colorado is different somehow. Being here lightens my soul, swells my heart and I feel closer to the Creator than any other place on earth. I find it difficult to drive when I'm here, because all I want to do is stare out the window. Or better yet, stop, and get out of the car and just BE in the midst of this.
Pictures (even good ones from a decent camera) don't do this land justice. You have to be here to really experience the amazing way the sky goes up so very high. And how the horizon stretches so very far.
The trip from Indiana brings us across I-70 through the Kansas plains into Colorado. About an hour in, we cut down US24 to drop down into Colorado Springs from the northeast. US24 winds and dips and crests through 60 miles of ranch land and a few tiny towns. Despite the ups and downs - which are sometimes so gradual you might not notice them but for the sudden downshifting of the engine as it tries to compensate for the grade and keep to the cruise control-set speed - much of the land around you seems to be nearly-flat grassland. Very few trees at all, and most of those are planted as windbreaks. Then you notice a hill here...a draw there...the shadow of a small plateau far to the southeast.
Then... There they are. You crest a hill, and the Rocky Mountains rise up to meet you. Beckoning.
Today they were cloaked in shadow from the dissipating storm for the longest time. We were only 15 minutes out when they finally peeked out from the cloud cover. And just like that, I'm home again.