DAY 3: FRESH AIR
There is something that I believe is therapeutic about being on the road with this group of guys. It's almost like a meditaion that lasts for weeks at a time. Maybe this is something that all touring musicians experience, and maybe not. Perhaps we are just lucky enough to have something that is that special. Something that we all feel so priveledged to be a part of that we create a positive atmosphere that even skull sized rocks cannot shatter.
We had a great first night and a very hard morning after, as you know if you read our previous post, "Shattered Hearts." But soon enough we were back on the road. Back in the van. Back in the warm, protective embrace of Lucy Blue, and sitting behind the most beautiful panoramic movie screen that I have yet to know, the windshield of a cross country bound van.
Having grown up in Iowa, amdist corn fields and rivers and beautiful crisp blue skies, I always took fresh air for granted. It's a God given right. Something so normal, so commonplace that I never realized as a kid just how precious a deep breath of cool, fresh air really was. Now, living in Los Angeles which has some of the poorest air quality in the United States (although it has improved drastically in the last decade thank God) I feel rejuvinated when I finally get outside of the city and breathe my first breath of clean country air.
On day 3, we were surrounded by some the sweetest air my lungs have sipped in months. Our route East took us into Colorado along Interstate 70 to Denver. At this point in the trip the initial sting of our misadventure in SLC had dulled and we had hunkered down and agreed that as long as we stayed positive, all would work out fine. This was the kind of day that reinforces that attitude.
If you have never driven through the Rocky Mountains it is absoluelty something that you should add to your bucket list. So many people have so many dream destinations of far off lands to see before they cash in their chips, and I must admit so do I, but I have been so blessed in the last few years to see so much of this country that I cannot help but feel that people are missing out. We live in the fourth largest country in the world. It is so massive that we have snow capped mountains, ice filled lakes, glaciers, volcanos, swamps, deserts, forests, and massive grasslands that strech as far as the eye can see under the biggest sky you can imagine, all within the girdles of our homeland. There is so much to see and smell and feel that you could hardly prioritize, and we were blessed on this drive to see some of the most beautiful parts along our way.
As we came into central Colorado and inched nearer and nearer to Denver on the map, and our third stop along our tour, the highway began to criss cross back and fourth through canyons from one side to the other of the Colorado river. It was there that we found ourselves humbled once again. Not by mankind or by something so base as theft, but by Nature Herself.
After having been cooped up in the van for hours we pulled off at a rest stop and sceninc overlook where you can walk down to the river and strech your legs and lay in the grass next to the water. This was the first day of the trip that we get a sense of the Winter that still held much of the nation in it's icy grip. The brisk, fresh mountain air was worth the drive all by itself, and we poured out of the van excitedly, eager to stand on solid ground and move our legs. Now, we are all fairly atheletic guys. We have all played sports and like to exercise and to be outdoors. Devin and I grew up in the outdoors, camping and trekking and hiking. Ian has scuba dived the great barrier reef, and Aaron was scouted in college by pro basketball teams. We all know how to move and hold our own in the out doors. But Devin. Well he's just a little bit more nuts than the rest of us.
We all walked down to the rivers edge and reached in to feel the temp of the water, and as Aaron and Ian and I laughed about how bloody cold it was, Devin stripped off his clothes and slid into the river, hooting and hollering to catch his breath as the icy, snow melt waters of the Colorado River (literally snow melt, there was snow on both banks of the river still) forced the air from his lungs. He stayed submerged long enough to prove all of us cowards (or perhaps just sane) before he crawled form the river, laughing and splashing us with ice cold water as he did so. We all joked about how crazy he is, though I think in hindsight we are all a bit jealous at his experience and maybe wish that we had joined him. There were some other travelers in the park that offered to take our picture and commemorate the moments we spent there so that some day we could show our Grandchildren just how much fun we had playing rockstars.
When we all felt sufficiently refreshed, we piled back into the van, and continued on to Denver. It was a day for the books. Not because anything totally out of the ordinary happened, but because simple things happened. Simple and beautiful. There is something about these trips that is a fresh air all its own. The freedom, the joy of sharing new experiences with a group of my best friends. It makes any stress we face along the way worth while and creates the atmosphere that I described earlier as meditative. It is such a focused and happy energy that even the most unexpected twists cannot shake it from us. I ended this day feeling greateful for the fresh air, both inside and outside of the van.