When I first decided to visit a good friend who moved down to Colombia, South America, most people that I spoke to were worried for me. They feared for my safety, my health, and my security. I never felt nervous; maybe that’s naive of me, but I didn’t. We spent several days/nights in Medellin, Colombia and then traveled to the coast, to the city of Cartagena. The breathtaking mountains, foggy mornings, and kind souls that I met in Medellin will forever be in my heart. We went to a coffee farm, where a middle-aged gentleman, probably around 60 years of age, took us around the small farm that he has been working for for decades. The farm was pretty high up in the mountains, so during our tour, the beauty was nearly breathtaking. After the walking tour, he invited us inside the house, where he slowly roasted the coffee beans and prepared fresh coffee for us to taste. We didn’t speak the same language; he knew no English and I know minimal Spanish, but there was warmth, love, & generosity that was communicated without words at all. It is moments like this that I will carry with me when I think about Colombia, and realize that no matter how dangerous a country used to be, and the violence that once (or even still) took place there, the majority of people around the world are like this farmer; hard working, proud to be where they’re from, & kind to everyone they meet.
In stark contrast to the environment in Colombia, the air in Colorado was much drier; the mountains steeper, the food more vegetarian-friendly, yet the nature was just as stunning & the people were just as memorable.
We went to Red Rocks Amphitheater for our first hike in Colorado. As my sister said, “I think Red Rocks is one of the few places that when people talk about how beautiful it is, it actually lives up to the hype; or maybe even surpasses it.” I absolutely agree. We started at the base of the trail and hiked all the way to the top; passed the amphitheater, looking down over the theater, the rocks, and Denver in the far distance. From start to finish, the hike took about 4 hours–which really wasn’t bad at all, considering how frequently we (or…maybe just me) stopped to take photographs. The hike was moderately easy, proving to be difficult only at the end when we had to climb up a few dozen steep stairs. The air at this altitude is very thin; making it difficult to breathe deeply & get enough oxygen, but we did it! And it was worth every gasp for more air!
The rocks are massive; almost unworldly. Me and my Dad kept talking about how we are surprised that this isn’t one of the “wonders of the world.” But then I got thinking about how we said that, and realized that there really isn’t a way to categorize nature and how awe-inspiring it is. I think that almost everything we see in nature is a wonder of the world; whether it’s in that official category or not. Nature has the ability to calm me, bring me to a place of serenity and peace; make me feel at home. In its power to do that alone, nature in its entirety IS the wonder of the world.
Some of my last photographs in this collection are from the Denver Colorado Botanic Gardens. Me and my family love gardening, plants, and animals. It was a wonderful day spent together; sharing our excitement over different species of plants, coming across a bunny rabbit in the brush, and appreciating a brief and sudden rain storm.
What inspires me about nature is its ability to evolve; to change how it’s doing something if it can’t survive; to grow despite adversity. During a walk around the neighborhood in Denver, I saw a tree growing in the middle of a sidewalk crack. I’ve seen this before, dozens of times I’m sure, but every time I see a plant or animal surviving & growing in conditions that aren’t ideal, I think about humankind. I don’t like to separate myself from nature though, as I am a huge part of it; we all are. We can learn from the different species that inhabit our planet; regardless if we can communicate with them using our spoken language. I always try to remember that the earth is speaking to me; I just always need to remember to listen.