The Hills Are Alive
I’m not ashamed to admit that my favorite movie is The Sound of Music. While Goodfellas is a close runner up, Julie Andrews and the Von Trapp family takes the cake for me. In college, I studied in Austria and on a trip to Salzburg I even dragged my friends Bob and Mike on a Sound of Music tour. I sang all of the songs, danced around the gazebo, and hopped up and down the famous steps from the scene in the movie. Bob and Mike just shrugged their shoulders and rolled their eyes - when in Austria.
Life has always been a bit of a musical for me as I am known to break out in random song from time to time (ok, every day). While life has a way of imitating art it’s no accident that I have found a home in the Rocky Mountain state of Colorado. But even at a mile high, Denver is a far cry from the day to day reality of jagged peaks and mountain trails. Not to knock the 5280 mind you - Hip restaurants and city culture have been great, but the mountains have been calling.
I recently tied the knot in Steamboat Springs and like a scene from a movie, those hills felt alive. There’s a peace, serenity, and aesthetic beauty that’s hard to quantify when talking about the Rockies. There’s also a spirituality that the mountains symbolize. As I “lift my eyes to the mountains” I do so with an open heart and a spirit of humility and wonder.
But there is also a harsh reality and ruggedness to the mountains that juxtaposes their awe-inspiring beauty. If the ocean brings with it the possibility of rough waters, the mountains have an equally daunting prospect of harsh winters and foreboding storms. The ocean and the mountains are metaphors for life and yet it’s the mountains that are more difficult to inhabit. The air is thin, the winters long and the summers short. And yet there is something beyond compelling about the vantage point from up high. Some even risk their lives for a momentary glimpse from the top of a mountain.
In the Sound of Music Maria couldn’t wait for her chance to escape the abbey walls for the freedom and mystique of the Austrian Alps. Her religion was the natural charisma of the hills and her mantra was to “climb every mountain.” Perhaps the reason why that movie made such an impression on me is that spirit of adventure and wonder that Maria encompassed.
Since moving to Colorado over five years ago, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to live in the mountains versus making the occasional day and weekend trips to take in their beauty. That moment has finally arrived making the dream a reality. I’m sure there will be plenty of ups and downs as is the case both literally and figuratively with being on a mountainside. But it’s time for the next chapter and my wife Patience and I are thrilled to call the mountains our new home.
Next time you’re in the Vail Valley and you hear someone belting out a rousing rendition of “Do re me” make sure you come over and say hello.