Main Street, Breckenridge, Colorado...February 10, 2014
But my memories are like a fire in winter—whenever I'm cold I can warm my hands at them.
This was my first trip to Breckenridge, yet I sensed I'd been to this place before. In my dreams, perhaps, or in a book. I know that I would very much like to return. In winter. Or summer. Fall, perhaps. Oh, and spring. Perhaps we will. But this visit will not be duplicated. If we were so fortunate, a return would offer a new perspective, unique. By then, those of us who gathered will be in different places in our journey. And the love that flows between us now, richer for this time together, will deepen over the years.
We were tucked into fifty-four inches of snow that fell in four days. A southern girl, I love a friendly snowfall. Where roads are cleared and people have cars with four-wheel or all-wheel or some proper drive. And snow tires. Among drivers (at least those who live in snow country, not their visiting desert/Dixie cousins) who know not to put on brakes while going uphill. Warm, waterproof boots help. And fudge. Fudge helps a lot when dealing with snow. Along with cookies fresh from the oven. Goulash or pea soup. Homemade bread. Maybe some hot chocolate or a latte. Or a Fluffy Pillow...warm milk with Frangelico and nutmeg.
An e-friend, Judy, who lives in Colorado wrote to me about the beautiful old town:
“Breckinridge has done a beautiful job of maintaining their Victorian heritage with building and zoning requirements. It has paid off in becoming a uniquely beautiful destination, winter and summer...and fall, of course! The man who was the comptroller of the corporation that developed the historic town into a ski resort was my dad’s best friend in college at CU-Boulder. That man, Bob Jones, died last week just before his 90th birthday. His daughter and I, friends since birth, are still good friends. I love the town; we try to spend a week skiing there with the kids and grands each year. We haven’t made it this year, so I have enjoyed your photos even more, Celeste...you’re lighting a fire under me to get that done. What a beautiful visit you had!"
Yes, Judy, we did. We were invited by Bill’s friends who have a place in Breckenridge, for a reunion almost forty years in the making, and joined by my daughter and her husband...such a lovely experience that I dare not diminish it by demanding more. But should another opportunity arise, I will jump up and down...and pack. I hope these pictures light a fire under each of you. That you will find your way to a spot - this one or another - that transports you from the everyday world to a place of magic. Create some memories so that, whenever you are cold, you can warm your hands at them. Buy experiences rather than things. Cherish the rare moments that surpass expectations. And, in all circumstances, say “thank you”.
Even leaving was special. We missed the usual Sunday ski resort traffic made worse by the large snowfall...and what appeared to have been a passel of southern tourists. Monday morning brought a heavier snowfall than we had seen in previous days. Our departure was in almost white-out conditions.
The snow got lighter as we drove past Vail Pass, through the tunnel, by Loveland Pass and beyond. All the way to Denver and blue sky. Until it began to snow again in Denver.
We are home. The memories have not yet lost their color. But, before long, they will morph into snapshots that fade with age. We are richer for the experience now woven into us. Those of us who came together are joined forever by days of grace. Like Anne Lamott, “I do not understand the mystery of grace...only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.”