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Saturday April 1st 2023

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That's what she said

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The Way Up There


Boulder Canyon road and tracks, c 1909-1923 (tracks were removed in 1920) Carnegie Library

This morning, this seventh day of September of 2013, well after the Flood, the road up the Canyon to Nederland is reopened. The way up there….

I think about that word, the way and think that the first, the primordial ways must have been game trails that crossed the terrain as readily as possible. Trails that our ancestors, when they were still but hominids chose to follow until, with use, they became settled ways to somewhere else. And so, there came to be perhaps the most ancient and fundamental of all freedoms, the freedom to go somewhere else. The freedom to imagine somewhere else and go there and becoming sapiens.

And Boulder’s bridges held.

I have thought how wondrous are the bridges, grand and plain, to whose rhythms civilization has marched. Before, there were only the fords crossed by the game trails, waters shallow and firm enough to allow regular crossing. A way to get somewhere else.

Four Mile Bridge, 1928. Carnegie Library

But I had not thought so clearly about roads, ways that wore into trails, into paths, and so to those narrow ways or roads that would allow a cart to drive on to the next ford—in our drive to civilization, now bridged, sometimes beautifully.

This morning so many are so glad to have their road restored to them, surprised, themselves, at how happy the repossession of their road has made them. Their road: their need, their pleasure, their imagination of some place else, their freedom is theirs again.

In the beginning it was impossible to get up through the Narrows or Boulder Canyon, so precipitously did the canyon walls plunge vertically down into the plunging creek.

To pass the Narrows was to climb the rocks, in and out or the creek. The only practical way was a way around them, a steep climb out of the canyon toward Magnolia and so on to Caribou or Blackhawk, or Perrigo.

It was the way that got us there. Those ways  became our roads and eventually our highways over which we could drive to our very lives, to where we needed and wanted to go, fording the creeks over serviceable bridges, as over our dear Boulder Creek.

It’s wonderful.

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