Sometimes I think fate has a real role in life. Things seem to pop up when you need them - challenges or rewards... life lessons in disguise. Like the universe gives you what you can most benefit by (or, at least - grow from) when you need it the most. And other times, I am quite sure that life is random. Things happen and you make choices - it is how you deal with these that defines your reality, and your "luck".
Monday was a day I felt rewarded. This has been a long trip; my Michigan departure was a lifetime ago. I caught a cold in Seattle, so I am tired and my snot is green. My first night in Wyoming was particularly tough. The 2nd floor apartment was not ready - no sheets on the bed and no key that fit the lock. Honestly. It was hot out and I had driven at least 5 hours from Salt Lake City. I went around the corner to a bar with a fenced, green lawn for dogs and kids (nice!), cold Budweiser on tap and a truly fabulous burger. The people were very friendly in Encampment, this dusty cowboy town (population 450), once a center of copper mining. Upon return, however, there was still no key. Well, okay, the door locks from the inside. But sleep was next to impossible - stale smoke smell, over 80 degrees with a broken fan and light from an orange street lamp that angled perfectly into my eyes. Every time I opened them, Charlie was looking at me from the other twin bed, like, "What the f?"
I clearly was not going to invest two nights in this place and was quick to decide where to stay next. Laramie is 84 miles east - a college town with clean, comfortable hotels. And, the best part is the route there, through the Medicine Bow National Forest on the Snowy Range Scenic Byway. These mountains are part of the Rockies that spill over from Northern Colorado and I was excited to see what they had to show me.
I was not disappointed! Rolling green pastures flanked the road as I left town. Closer views of the purple mountains appeared around each curve. Some of the pull-outs on the ascention had vistas right out of the beginning of "The Sound of Music". Oh, I felt like singing! Soon, I pulled into the Mirror Lake trailhead and could get no farther than 50' because of snow blocking the road. I tramped over it, towards the water, in my flip flops. The view was astounding. Right before me were 12,000' peaks, perfectly reflected. WOW! I quickly assembled my supplies and set up. It was 9 am.
What pure pleasure to paint there! I had all the time in the world and no distractions. Charlie was free and happy, able to eat snow to his heart's content. The day was so bright that the shapes were clearly defined and the color - indisputable. That sky! My heart sang. So, this is why I am traipsing all over the US!
I worked with a clarity and vigor that I had not felt in a while. After my canvas was covered with the first layer of oil paint, I pulled out watercolors. I just had to keep recording. The cool mountain air cleared my brain and calmed my nerves. Life suddenly made perfect sense. Am I lucky? Yes, and well rewarded too.