There have been countless poets, authors, artists, musicians, thinkers, and feelers who have tried to crystallize the feeling of this place into words. The one common thread that binds their words is an awestruck naivety.
In the most naive and genuine way I can, I take my turn. This poem was penned late at night, peering through the window of my memory, as I reminisced about my trip to Colorado.
By Zachary Montgomery
1Everything's just fuller here,2The memory is fuller too.3I need to sit for ages, silently,4Or I'll never feel that truth.56I'll remember here forever,7I'll remember remembering too,8The now and future endeavor,9The things I've yet to do.1011The painting's beautiful, isn't it?12Those craggy timeless stones,13Or the reaching hands of flora,14Like starry astral bones.1516It's really softly peaceful here,17And it's beautiful here, too,18I'll sit here for hours, just listening,19Rephrasing; I'll remember you.
Stepping out of the airport, I was hit with the realization that I would never be able to fully connect with where I was. A week is too short to know you love a place. A transient moment, too fleeting to even grasp what you're experiencing. In some ways, I feel like life is just a moment. Too short to realize what you're processing, too short to realize you love it.
From the start, skies and mountains with trees surrounded me, so imposing that they felt impressed firmly upon the sky's mantle, and not the earth's. They evoked a strange feeling that they were reaching up, curling around the sky, and silently resounding all around me. The air by the mountains was thinner and sweeter, and as the night fell it brought a chill, a gentle kind that made me feel alive, as though I was in and part of a place also alive, and secure in its purity.
Despite its beauty, I am not saddened by leaving. Separation forces me to remember. A quote from CS Lewis' "Out of the Silent Planet" comes to mind, which agrees with this thought.
"A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered. You are speaking as if the pleasure were one thing and the memory another. It is all one thing."
This sentiment strikes me powerfully. To be forced to leave — to reckon with the fact that you will never experience those exact moments again — is to be forced to remember. To remember is to relive those events. When I was in the present, it felt like I was only half there, trusting my future self to complete the experience. Now, I am my future self, and I can say my trust was well-placed.
I remember a thousand details I couldn't possibly hope to recount here. The feeling of the wind, the sun, the smell of the air and the trees, the shape of the mountains against the night sky, a book by a fireplace. The feel of my bed at night, the taste of the food, walking for hours in the dark talking with a friend with a smile on my face. Even exhaustion, little fears, the ache of walking all day, or the plane ride home. Each of these elements culminates in the full experience. I remember and relive each moment vividly.
But what is memory good for without some twinge of regret? I miss it, and I feel that ancient, pervasive awareness that I did not do everything I could have, did not experience everything I could have, did not take every moment to engage with the present. Often, I find myself caught up in thoughts of the future. It is an old and familiar estrangement from the present. That estrangement can sometimes preclude love of the moment, and I am sorry that I missed moments I could have enjoyed. I miss it, and in the most trite and cliche way I can word it, I wish I could go back and do it again. I wish I could walk lock-step, right alongside my memory. I am not distraught, however. Were I to be perfect, I wouldn't have enjoyed it at all. In a way, this regret is a gift, enhancing the power of the memory and the experience it holds.
There is no ultimate point to this post. Sometimes, I believe, sharing unfiltered thoughts can be more impactful and genuine than distilling them into a refined piece of art. Say it simply, with meaning, and that's better than any words of philosophers, any paintings of artists, or any words of lovestruck poets. Just simple, complex introspection. I will never be able to live that week again, but I am content that I will experience it for the rest of my life, and I will love it.
I already have plans to go back, and I suspect I will love that time even more. But for right now, I am happy to write this, to read this, as this is deeply a part of my experience, and that reflection will be forever.
In other news, welcome to my new blog! This is my professional website, and my profession is curiosity. Topics I hope to cover:
I like to take naive passion and turn it into beautiful things. I am also a Christian, and may post about that from time to time.
You may notice a distinctive lack of features. I will be working on them intermittently, but I wanted to get this out there. In the future we'll be adding things like a vector-based search, a tag system, and a better way to navigate the site. Maybe a footer, more content around posts in the notepad page, a newsletter, and more.
One thing that I've chosen not to include on this site is a comment section. While I value your feedback and perspectives, I've found that a comment section doesn't fit my intention for this site. I write to share my experiences and thoughts, and while I am eager to hear your responses, I would prefer to do that in a more personal space.
If you have any responses, be they feedback, thoughts, or concerns, feel free to email me at [email protected].
I really would love to hear from you, even if it's just to share your thoughts, or simply say 'Hi.'