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Friday, August 24, 2012

Conejos River Valley

Refresh, Renew, Rejoice

For nearly a decade now, I’ve spent one week a year in southern Colorado fly fishing, resting and running.  My family and I rent a series of cabins on the Conejos River.  From the porch you can hear the rush of the water day and night.  This place is special like no other.  I’ve traveled quite a bit in my life and this place just keeps drawing me back.
Conejos River

When I return from one of these trips, I’m often asked about the fishing.

“How was the fishing?”

“It was ok, not great.”

“Not great? Why do you keep going back?

And that my friends is a question I cannot completely answer.  It is quite complex, yet it is really quite simple.  Being around family.  Limited access to technology…heck, you have to drive 15 to 20 minutes to get a reliable cell phone signal.  Mostly home cooked meals save for the dinners we have the day we arrive at the local restaurant.  Cool air.  Afternoon showers. Nature….

I could go on seemingly forever if I sat here and just jotted down anything that came to mind.

My Fishin'  Porch
It takes a few days to slow down enough mentally to not feel guilty about sitting on the porch for extended periods of time staring off into space.  Maybe holding a book, but not turning a page.  Someone might ask what you’re doing.  You can confidently say “nothing” and then go back to doing it.

One of the things I love about this trip is running.  It is so nice to get away from the Texas heat.  After a day or two of adjusting to the altitude, the runs become comfortable…dare I say easy.  Except for the steep trail runs, I feel I could run the backroads for days on end without stopping.  In the end, you stop so you can get some vittels, clean up and get back to doing nothing.

Leaving this place is bitter sweet.  I know work is piling up at the office.  I know I have real life to tend to at home.  I know I’ll be back.

A Shot from the Run
I’ve been home for a week now.  Reflecting back on the trip is hard to do.  Not because I wish I were back there or can’t stand that I’m here.  The years just seem to meld together.  Sure, I could recount it day by day…but it is a little like sitting on the porch gazing at the river.  Why bother with all the details?  Just sit back and let the trip just be more than the details.  Let it be about the feeling you get when you are really relaxed.  Really renewed.  That’s called peace.

I think God leads me there because it may be the only place where I find peace.  It simply doesn’t happen on any other vacation.  Maybe I’m strung too tight, but I need to be alone in the river.  Alone on the trails.  Alone on the porch to find my peace.  A place where even the smallest whisper from God can be heard.  A place where even the smallest prayer might be answered.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace.