My New Normal

The River near my cabin

A week ago, I stayed up most of the night finishing packing and cleaning the house for the final time. What a difference eight days make.  An Adirondack chair cradles me, my feet are propped on a picnic table and I’m covered by a throw blanket.  It’s about 51 degrees and I hear the river running not far from the front of my cabin.  There’s a smoke smell in the air from a group from somewhere assembling at the campfire place behind me.  I’m about a thousand miles from home.

(As I’m sitting here, I’m marveling that I have Internet outside, when sometimes I can’t even get a decent phone signal to send text messages).

The week has been mixed with emotions.  Mostly, it’s been positive, but there have been moments when I’ve thought, “What have I done?”  I miss the familiarity of home and my friends.  I’m trying to find my new normal here.  Stepping into a place where I don’t know anyone has given me a slight pause.  I’ve pasted the smile on my face and been as friendly as I can.  Starting a conversation is not something I have a problem with, however, keeping the conversation going is my weak point.

Bear Cabin in Friendship Circle

There are three ladies from Texas in my cabin, one from Arizona, and one from Tennessee.  I’ve met some ladies and a few husbands in the Spruce Dining, (employee only dining room), that have been very sweet.  Our jobs range from guest relations, library, laundry, post office, coordinators, and museum (me).  Some of the jobs are paid and some are volunteer.  We wear name tags with our picture, hometown, and state.  I’ve heard, “Another Texan” at least ten times.  There are many people here from the Dallas area and some from east Texas.

(It’s getting so cool out here that I’m going to have to take this inside).

Now in bed, writing and reflecting.

My workplace…wonderful!

I’ve enjoyed working in the museum this week.  The staff is varied and all have a good sense of humor.  (As I get to know them better, I’m sure they’ll be in my blog).  My job is to work with day campers when the Summer Intern is double booked.  She makes the lessons, and all I have to do is follow them.  I usually listen to her do one.  Tomorrow will be my first group.  (Ha, it’s like being a student teacher….smiling)!  I’ve been given the walking tours myself, but so far I haven’t conducted a group.  I greet people at the museum, answer any questions I can, clean and dust, and play games with kids.  On the weekend, two people go up to the registration building and play games like Checkers, Tiddly Winks, Pick up Sticks, and other old fashioned games while their parents check into their room or cabin.  (I think the registration room is one of my favorite things).

Bull Elk

I’ve been reading books about the history of the YMCA of the Rockies.  We will have twelve people on staff when the last couple arrives next week.  One of the things that makes me smile is when someone says, “Is it porch time?” and we go sit in the rockers or the swing on the porch for a break.  There’s rabbits, chipmunks, and Wyoming ground squirrels all over the place.  There’s hummingbirds and other types of birds; we watch them from the porch.

Elk, both bull and cow, are a common sight here and in the National park.  We give them space, and now I no longer whip out my camera when I see one.  Mule deer are another animal that roams here.  I’ve seen mountain sheep at the park.  Still haven’t seen a bear, bobcat, mountain lion, beaver, or a moose.  They are common in these parts.  There has been bear and bobcat sightings around the Y.

The breathtaking views of the mountains around me totally make me stand still in awe.  I’ve taken dozens of pictures of the mountains, rivers, and small lakes.  I bought an annual park pass to the National Park.  On Saturday night I simply drove around and stopped where I wanted to.  At the park, cars tend to slow down and practically stop when they spot an animal.  Of course that causes more cars to stop to try to spot what they see.  There are pull over places quite frequently to stop.

Releasing a fish

At one point while driving, I saw a few people fishing.  I pulled over.  I thought they were fly fishing, but they weren’t.  I got out of the car and talked to a guy.  He was pulling a fish up on his fishing pole.  It turned out to be a trout.  He told me what kind, but I can’t remember because he was telling me how many different type of trout there are in Colorado.  He told me that he came from the other side.  In local speak, that means that he lives on the other side of Trail Ridge Road.   He talked about how bad the Pine Beetle is effecting the trees on that side.  He told me more about himself and then proceeded to give me his card.  That’s a first for me!  I thought slightly strange too!

It’s funny how active people in Colorado are.  After dinner that don’t sit down to watch TV.  Instead they go for a hike or a bike ride or some other activity.  The fishing guy referred to himself as a volleyball player.  Whereas we get together to eat, they get together to do a physical activity.  Must be why most of the Colorado people are physically fit.  I went for a hike with a few ladies after dinner tonight.  It was gorgeous!  I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to purchase some hiking shoes because my cross trainers aren’t supporting my ankles enough.

My hiking buddies and new friends

On Sunday, my first day off, I joined three other ladies for a hike to Alluvial Fan in the park.  Then we drove to Bear Lake and walked around the lake.  It was a lovely walk with snow on part of the trail.  Slipped once and fell on my tushi! We hiked down another trail and came to a trail head.  What I love about Rocky Mountains National Park is that there are shuttle buses that will pick up at one trail head and will deliver people back to another trail head, where luckily the cars are parked.  Pretty awesome!

Sprague Lake

On the way back down the mountain, we stopped at Sprague Lake because we were hoping to see a moose.  We walked the mile or so around it, but no moose sighting!  It’s a gorgeous lake, but of course I haven’t seen any place in the park that wasn’t.  When we arrived there was a fly fishing lesson going, a few kayaks, people fishing from the bank, and a few kiddos with waders on fly fishing close to the bank.  One fell over when we were there, filling his waders and wailing ensued.  It made us laugh.

I attended Rocky Mountain Church on Sunday.  They also do Saturday night church which is a bit different, but it makes it available to people who’d rather attend a night service.  There were quite a few people there from the Y.  The worship music is contemporary and the preacher was engaging.  At the Y, they also have a church service, so I’ll have to check that one out, also.

I know I’m probably leaving out stories that I wanted to tell, so I’ll try to write shorter entries and more often, so I don’t have to go so far back in my memory and I’ll remember more details.

I wanted to share a scripture that spoke to me this week.

Rejoice always.  Pray constantly.  Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


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