I’m obsessed with replicating the tranquility that makes Costa Ricans the happiest people on Earth. Since I arrived back in Denver, I have repurposed my 25 year old YETI FRO racing mountain bike into an around town bike. It now sports a purple basket on front and skinny tires. My idea was to ride it to Cheesman Park, which I have learned from the Internet is the best place in Denver from which to view sunsets. One problem is since I have returned home, it has either rained or snowed most afternoons, making that idea impractical. It is also migraine season for me, since I am a human barometer and storms moving in tend to make it feel as though someone is chopping wood with an axe on my head. So one of the things that makes Costa Ricans happy, getting out in nature, is not as easy as I had hoped.
I also went out and bought sneakers. Yes, sneakers. As an aside, I just learned after living in Colorado for 37 years that people from here do not call that type of footwear sneakers. They are called tennis shoes. I find that odd since most people do not play tennis in sneakers. No one has ever corrected me. The closest someone got was at the airport last week while I was waiting for my mother-in-law. I had struck up a conversation with the woman next to me who was also waiting for her mother-in-law when I suggested to her that everyone on my mother-in-law’s flight from South Dakota would be wearing sneakers. She smiled and said, “You are from New York, aren’t you?”. I asked how she knew and she said no one in Colorado or the whole midwest called that form of footwear sneakers–they are tennis shoes. So all this time I’ve been giving myself away. That and I wouldn’t be caught dead traveling in sneakers. Going to a foreign city whether in this country or in Spain or France or anywhere in sneakers just, to me, screams, “Rob me!” aside from being terribly unoriginal. But I digress.
I bought sneakers so I could walk around Washington Park and look at the mountains and smell the fresh air. Well my dog and I have done that exactly one time in one month. It was not fun. There were hundreds of people. There were people speeding by on bicycles at 20 m.p.h., the speed limit. My dog was freaked out. It was not relaxing. I did not feel like I was in nature with all the pavement and concrete sidewalks. So I started walking around my neighborhood. That is nice. However, I miss the monkeys and coatis and trees.
So, I have looked up hikes that are within a 30 minute drive from Denver. I’m thinking that may do the trick. Now I just have to find my hiking boots. While I’m not thrilled about being in the car for an hour a few times a week, I am determined to get my nature fix. It’s too early for mosquitoes so it should be very pleasant, if it would ever stop raining.
I am lucky enough to own a house up in the mountains near Winter Park ski resort. But I was also smart enough to put it on VRBO where it has stayed rented pretty much all year. There were a few days open during mud season (now) so I’m headed up tomorrow. Maybe walking around in the muck will drop at least 1/2 load of endorphins into my brain so I feel joyful being in nature.
I’m truly stressing myself out trying to replicate the feeling of the real jungle and pristine nearly empty beach of Samara, Costa Rica, population 4,000, in the City of Denver’s concrete jungle of carefully manicured neighborhoods and perfectly-placed well-tended parks, population 650,000. I think it’s time to take Denver as it is and realize Samara was super special. I need to just calm down. I’m missing something big–Gratitude. I got to spend 31 days in that beautiful place. If I have to drive for an hour once a week or twice a week to get out in nature, so what? The rest of the time I can spend with my family and recognizing what is important in my life every day. Denver is an awesome place to live. I just have to figure out the best way to do it.