Scattered throughout Colorado, there are tattered remains of an era that once was. Whether it is an abandoned homestead on the plains, or an old mining operation in the hills, I am reminded of what life must have been like a century ago. For one, there were far less people. There was also less infrastructure and technology.
It’s one thing to look at these old structures and be reminded of bygone eras, but it’s a deeper meditation to put ourselves in their shoes. After all, their lives were once far more real than our lives, as we were mere fantasies at that point. Their current events and politics must have seemed as passionate as today's issues, even though their problems and worldviews were different. But like today, I imagine that family was important. Some of them undoubtedly had children. They raised them out of the roost to tackle a world that's been forgotten. They must have sought friends they could trust. Long ago, these close bonds ran their course. Perhaps they had decorations on their walls and furniture they were proud to show off. And as I stare at the ruins of their home, the walls still echo their presence, like faint ghosts. If walls could speak, they could tell the stories of these folks and families. They could tell secrets about their personal tribulations and elations.
Nowadays, a weekend in the mountains is a mini vacation. We ski and we hike. We fish and hunt for sport (if not survival). And we come across these old cabins and ghost towns. But, I believe that the Coloradoans from generations past had a different take on the mountains. It was often cold and harsh. Work was hard and roads still needed to be cut through the forests. But even so, perhaps a young homesteader spent his years getting up in the morning and looking at a sunrise in the same mountains that I look at today and call home. And that is our bond, two people at the same location, watching sunrises 50,000 days apart from each other.