Waiting at a stoplight in Boulder, the turn signal turned green.  Yet the car in front of me didn’t move.  I waited patiently a few seconds, and still nothing.  Finally, I tooted the horn, and just as the light was turning yellow, he turned onto the cross street.

In the scheme of things, it’s not really a huge deal.  I can wait until the next stoplight.  But the realization of how often this happens and why it happens felt a bit more daunting.

The offending driver had his head down, and I’m fairly certain was doing something on his cell phone.  Texting, checking his email, surfing the web — who knows?  This is what people are doing all the time, even when walking down the sidewalk, or shopping in the local Trader Joe’s.  They can’t even be bothered to tear themselves away when checking out, which to me is beyond rude.

What’s this got to do with living in the mountains of Colorado?

We are privileged to live in an amazingly beautiful state.  One whose population is growing at an exponential rate because so many other people want to live here.  And yet, as we conduct our daily life, so many of us are missing out on that amazing beauty, or interesting culture, buried in our devices.  It’s so bad that I imagine some people walk from one end of Pearl Street to the other and don’t have any idea what they saw.

And it’s not like small mountain towns are exempt from this.  Plenty of folks in Nederland do the very same things.

I found myself feeling grateful the other morning as I drove Boulder Canyon that there is no cell service available within the canyon.  The canyon is dangerous enough with snow on the roads without people yacking away or glancing at cell phones as they navigate sharp curves.  But it’s not just a safety issue.

As I marveled at the new snow clinging to every crack and ledge of The Narrows, I remembered once again what touches my soul and makes me feel alive.  Glancing out over the frozen ice of Barker Reservoir brought a sense of peace and contentment to me.

I think it’s far too easy to get caught up in the trials and tribulations of daily life, and take it all for granted.  Sometimes, I think we need to put ourselves in the shoes of the many tourists who visit here, and see the beauty of this place through different eyes.  To grasp that sense of wonder and awe that perhaps we felt the first time we got a glimpse.

Take a moment.  Leave 20 minutes early for work one day and take it all in.  Maybe even pull out once or twice and snap a photo.  Be present and connect to the wonder of nature all around us.