Rocky Mountain National Park
July 25, 2016 by Ed Chasteen
One hundred-one years old as a national park, this Cathedral of the Infinite has been millions of years in the making. The parts of five days I’m here do not register on either time scale. My own life of now 24,401 days is hardly a blip.
Before the river that runs through it was named Fall; the settlement, Estes Park; the road, Elkhorn; the log cabin on that road, MacDonald Bookstore, these mountains were ancient beyond human comprehension.
All life forms here have flourished and faded over countless millenia as wind and water have with patience and persistence humans cannnot practice molded the physical environment to a geologic design.
Cataclysmic events at random times over eons abruptly and dramatically intrude. A new normal prevails. And shapes belief and behavior.
That we are along for the ride is a notion that comes with us when we visit the Magic Kingdom or sit in the dark for another Star Wars sequel. So beyond our human life span is all that our national parks conjure that unspeakable AWE overtakes all our faculties. We are drawn here by urgings we cannot articulate and can never satisfy.
Up the nine mile one-way multiple swithback dirt road to the Alpine Visitor’s Center where snow lives year round and air is thin, those of us who come glimpse for a moment a dimension to our lives in no other way accessible to us. To those who came earlier to this place and in their wisdom left it intact for us we owe a gratitude that only our stewardship of their legacy is an adequate response.
Let it be so.