I discovered my place when my family moved to Fort Collins, located in the Northern foothills of Colorado. It is my home and a wonderful place where a fifteen-minute drive can take you right into the mountains. I can distinctly recall one particular adventure up into the mountains, about three years after the move. It was on a hike up to Horsetooth Rock, a landmark for Fort Collins with the “horse’s teeth” standing high above the town, that I felt it, and truly started to understand my place. The day had been raining and sleepy, but once the sky released in the afternoon, all that was left of the raining day was a few misty clouds. Behind Horsetooth Rock there is a beautiful and prestige valley with rolling hills and lush green grasses. The side of the mountain drops down into this wonderland, and on this particle day, it was a misty and almost magical wonderland. The raining mist laid in the bottom of the valley, trapped by the surrounding mountains and the changing air pressure. The sun had fraught it’s way out of the clouds for the few hours left in the day, and broke through the thin clouds casting perfect streaks of lights cascading from the world above. It was the beauty that drew me in, but it was its values, uncaptured by language that kept me there long after my friends. It was the kind of scene you wanted to paint even if you weren’t a painter. It was here, in this real life painting of a landscape, that I established a connection with the natural world.
That afternoon on Horsetooth Rock was the beginning of my story. It made me realize that I wanted to spend the rest of my life inspiring and engaging others to feel that same connection to the Earth. It has become my passion to share those experiences, and enhance the sense of responsibility to protect our place.