Right Left

October 20, 2005

Last week we had a couple of days off from school, they ended up calling it fall break, so we broke and headed on off back to Michigan to see my parents.

I had tried to get up to northern Michigan in the week or so before the move out west, but the time slipped in a blur of this and that, all of which had to be finished on time in order for me to get to Albuquerque and the start of school.

This is a great place to live.

I had an assignment due by Wed at noon and our flight was to leave at 1:30pm. In keeping with our tradition of trying to cut things to the last minute, Mrs informed me that she had a surgery that morning an I needed to pick her up at 12:30, outside of the hospital.

At 11:25 I emailed my assignment, spent 5 minutes throwing together two suitcases of stuff my daughter wanted back at school and was in the car just by about 11:35. I ran through several options and decided to go ahead and blast to the airport, drop off the luggage and try and make it back to the hospital in time to pick her up. It worked.

It helps that this is a fairly small town and we live only 14 or 15 miles max from the airport.

We boarded the first flight to Denver and I had a great view of some of the places we have already hiked in the northern part of the state. Had I been on the other side of the plane I think I just might have seen some of the peaks I've climbed over near the sand dunes in southern Colorado.

As it turned out, we crossed the front range somewhere south of downtown Denver and flew north for a while. I was looking out to the west enjoying the view as the airplane began a slow turn to the right and began to head south.


I looked out the window with my mouth agape.

This was one of those moments when my eyes told me one thing, and my brain was just struggling to figure it all out. As we turned south and the wing was dropped I was now facing east and there spread out before me on the vast Colorado plain was snow, as far as the eye could see.

This was not just a little snow mind you, but a frozen landscape of white, covering everything in sight. I thought I had dropped out of the sky in some Twilight Zone episode, right into the middle of the February.

I turned and looked across the asile of the airplane and out of the window on the right side, everything was green.

The grass was green.

The trees all had leaves and they were green.

There was not an ounce of snow to be seen.

Turn to the left, frozen wasteland.

Turn to the right - the bright green of a Colorado fall day.

I swear my head flipped right to left dozens of times - because it truly was something I had never seen before.

There was maybe a mile difference between the snow, no snow zone, and our airplane was flying right smack down the middle of it.

Anyway, I really thought that it was cool.

During our four hour layover I found a new service being offered at the Denver airport, DVD rentals, including a player if you needed one. For five bucks I rented Cold Mountain, knowing it would not be as good as the book, but thinking that perhaps it might give me a kick in the seat of the pants to finish my own Civil War project.

In the morning Mrs and I went separate ways, she with the car, I with a client and we met up in the early afternoon, just in time to scurry off to pick up our daughter from her school and start the 4 hour trek north.

Unfortunately, we didn't get to see a whole lot on the way up, arriving as we did, sometime around 10pm.

The northern Michigan colors would have to wait till the next morning.

The whole trip went too quickly.

We ran into town because of a Dr. appointment for my mother and then had brunch at a Chineese buffet. She likes it, so we ate it.

I spent too much time trying to fix my daughter's errant computer, then was on the phone with tech support getting it set up to be shipped back under warranty.

Another hour or so blew by in the morass of the web trying to find flights so that I might come back at Thanksgiving. In hindsight I should not have bothered, since I've got exams starting just after Thanksgiving and I can't see how I can spend that much time traveling.

Anyhow, I guess we'll just have to see what happens next.

I left in such a hurry that I had no camera with me on this trip. Before the sunlight was lost to the day, I borrowed my parent's digital and went out to try and grab an image or two.

The color was there to be sure, but what worked for me, as usual for fall colors, was to get up close and personal with the way the light and the leaves worked together.

Red remains the toughest color to photograph.

The light however, works again as the accomplished partner.