I took the above photo while hiking in Wild Basin (a southern area of Rocky Mountain National Park) the other day. When I looked at it today, immediately the famous Robert Frost poem, The Road Not Taken came to mind.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,And sorry I could not travel bothAnd be one traveler, long I stoodAnd looked down one as far as I could
The funny thing is looking back on my life’s choices, I did often choose to not to conform and take the “road less traveled.” Sometimes those choices have brought tremendous joy from the experience, and sometimes a lot of heartache and stress. Leaving a very well paid job in Washington, DC to take a minimum wage job as a ski bum in California was one choice. Choosing to become a seasonal Park Ranger was another. I have no regrets about either. Speaking without thinking and saying something quite controversial is yet another, which looking back on it, I probably would be better served to take a moment of consideration before giving voice to my opinion.
I saw a bumper sticker once that said, “Well behaved women seldom make history.” Well, if there’s any truth to that, I’ll probably be historic in some way, because I don’t know many who have known me during my life that would describe me as “well behaved.” My friend Jane, tries to be kind, when describing me as more of an activist. I’m going through one of those days today where I feel a little bit of heartache, as I wish I could be more of a conformist, and less of a rebel. But try as I might to be the fish who goes with the current, something in my personality seems to want to buck convention and march to a different drummer.
Perhaps that is why I was so drawn to Nederland in the first place. It’s a town full of people taking the road less traveled, and expressing their weirdness and quirkiness on a daily basis. It could never be confused with being quaint, touristy, or elitist, as it is none of those things. People here don’t take themselves too seriously, and if nothing else, the town is unique in a state full of mountain towns. I don’t feel like I have to try and pretend to be something I’m not living here, and that appeals to me, especially on days like today where I feel like I just can’t figure out how to go along with the flow. A friend of mine told me awhile ago, that you don’t have to like your circumstances every day, but you do have to like yourself within those circumstances or relationships. I like the person I am living Nederland, and I guess that’s the biggest reason, why I feel so at home here more than anywhere else I’ve lived.