Polly finds Polly’s Colorado
DANIEL’S PARKWAY – Can’t say I’ve missed these hills one wee bit, but when I schlepped my Kansas flatland bones up to the summit of a shortcut-but-you’re-gonna-have-to-earn-it road, I had to catch my breath. There, poking out of the flat plains was my long lost Colorado – her mountain peaks jabbing at the sky all across the West, jagged and layered, serene and powerful, sky as blue as I remember. I pushed Bob up to the rim of the view and stood there staring without a thought in my head.To the north, the Denver skyline was popping out of the Front Range like a jack-in-the-box. It’s my new city, the city I hope to be calling home after wrapping up this global circle next month. Mountains don’t change over five years, but all the stories mulling within them do. While I’ve been traipsing around the world friends have moved on, gotten married, had kids. Some have moved out of the mountains and into that big city to my north. Some people within these mountain valleys have gotten fancy promotions, changed jobs and renovated the kitchen.
Sharing the momentI peered towards the Denver skyline wondering if I’d be working in one of those big fancy buildings. From way up on this summit it looks easy to rejoin that society, but I know once I climb down this peak the hustle and bustle will begin, and by the time I get downtown and amble between those tall buildings, I’ll overhear people’s conversations about frustrating corporate lives. Maybe I’ll just stay up here a while and enjoy the view and the fantasy.A group of friendly faces walked into my view. “Hey, are you that girl doing that big walk?””Yes, that’s probably me.””We saw your story in the Colorado Springs newspaper. Good for you, I understand you’re almost home.”
“Yeah,” I said, “in fact I was just having a nice moment overlooking this great view I haven’t seen in five years.””Well,” he said, “We don’t want to interrupt your special moment but would you mind if we ask you a couple of questions?”Under the category, “Things You’ll Never Hear Polly Say,” you’ll find at the top of the list: “Sure! Go ahead and pepper me with questions!” But under the backdrop of my long lost Colorado I felt like sharing my moment and heard myself say, “Sure, ask all the questions you want!”Simple, broad and complicatedI stood in front of the Rocky Mountains like it was my personal theater. I told my small audience all about how I’d started walking from these mountains five years ago, how I’d worked with national breast cancer organizations in each country and how women – and some men – who have had breast cancer have walked with me all around the world. My arms started getting animated when I told them stories of crossing Asia and India and Turkey and how I learned nine languages – or at least how I can say in nine languages: “Where am I on this map?”
I told them how people all around the world have put me up, like the poet, the rocket scientist who had breast cancer, the country singer, the man who collects clocks that kept ticking and ringing all night. I told them that while Vail is only about 100 miles away I’m going to detour up over Rocky Mountain National Park and see my Colorado in all her summertime glory before hitting the finish line on July 30.After a 30-minute performance, one of them asked a simple question: “What’s it like?”A simple, broad – and complicated question. I thought about it for a second and gave her this:”I equate walking around the world to what it must be like raising children. It’s tough every day but you love it and you’d never give it up for anything. When they’re all grown up and leaving the house you’re proud of who they’ve become, but you’re also excited to move on to your next chapter.”With that we said our good-byes and Bob and I carried on down the summit towards my new city.
The parcel where workforce housing is being proposed was listed for decades as belonging to the Colorado Department of Transportation.