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Dreaming Plains

Updated: May 19, 2019

Eight months into my days living and working on the Front Range, the dot-com job I had chased there ended as that bad-boy bubble burst at the turn of the century. So I loaded up the truck with an ice chest full of food and beer, grabbed a guitar, strapped a canoe to the roof and headed north.

I had a lot of hard thinking to do and a road trip just seemed appropriate for the occasion.

I kept going until I was someplace far out on Thunder Basin.

A full moon rising to my right in the eastern sky stirred long dormant creative juices, so I pulled over, grabbed the guitar and a beer, sat down on the ice chest and composed the music and first two verses of the song "Dreaming Plains" as afternoon turned into evening.

As night wrapped me in darkness and pre-spring chill, I camped and wondered what the hell I was going to do next. I wasn't really worried much, yet, and eventually I slept and dreamed the rest of the new song before waking at sunrise to continue my journey north to places and sights unseen–eventually arriving at my road trip goal: Devils Tower.

Its top was shrouded in cloud, beckoning. So I parked and began hiking up to it, encountering nothing and no one along the way except forested slopes and prayer bundles tied to pine branches. No wind. No sounds. Not even a bird or chipmunk chirp. My worries sloughed away with each step toward the magical looking tower. I imagined sitting on top of it and laughing at the foolishness of worrying about jobs and money and security in the future. Now was the only thing that mattered. I entered a sort of in-the-moment dream state. Comfortably anti-anticipatory. Happy to face whatever came next in life free of angst. I felt strong and smart. Ready to take on any challenge.

At the base, I pondered the complex physical forces and circumstances required to create the tower, awed by the brutishly graceful mystery of it.

After a bit the cloud thinned a little and I thought the sun might shine on it soon. But the thinning was brief, the tower seeming intent upon retaining its mysterious mantle of mist while I gazed upon it, the top never fully revealed. No disappointment. It still awed.

Finally deciding to move on, I almost slid off the road on a patch of black ice into a deep ravine as I drove east a ways toward Cool Lake. Deciding it was still too wintery to be taking risks on such high, lonely roads, I turned around and headed south back to Colorado to begin the next phase of life's journey. While hunting for a new job in the tech industry, I roamed the Front Range and westward into the Rockies performing as a singer/songwriter anyplace a business proprietor would have me. One of my favorite place's was Oney's in Florissant where the lights were simple and inviting, the pizza delicious...

...blues baselines were walked out on tuba, and the people were as warm as the fire in the stove.

Playing at Oney's led to a few other gigs farther west into the high mountains including one at Colorado Muleskinner Outfitters where I developed a heavy-duty crush on their event coordinator and grill cook.

She was the one who spotted me playing at Oney's and invited me to come out to the ranch to perform, so I did.

It was a great venue. The weather was mild. The food was good. She was a delight to be near, but alas I had finally landed a job in Santa Fe, my money had just about run out, I had begun improving the property here in the Sangre de Cristos with plans to retire to it when that day came, and my 1-year house lease was about to run out.

It was time to move on.

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