This is another free write about one of my past selves on her trip home from college. It describes the section of I-70 which snakes through Glenwood Canyon where the Colorado river hosts daring white water rafters in the summer and cyclists enjoy the views from the bike path. To this day, I still get excited for this part of the drive.
She was always full of anticipation to come home. For as long as she could remember, she waited with bated breath for the entire 20 minute stretch of car ride through the canyon which opened into the singularly beautiful little valley where she’d grown up. Over the years she’d memorized the canyon walls, pretending that dragons lived just behind them in vast stone caverns. She imagined them peering out at her through the thin crevices in the rocks. She knew this place. She knew what it looked like at sunrise and sunset, how the walls of the canyon turned to shimmering golden palaces where fairies held court. She knew the exact moment when, if she craned her neck and pressed her nose to the window, she could look straight up the sheer cliff face and see the stone alcove where an American flag had been planted, its star spangled majesty eternally unfurling in the wind. She would always salute it before the car sped around a bend and the flag disappeared from view.
Every curve in the road and every dimly lit tunnel through the mountains came and went like clockwork but as each one passed she couldn’t help bouncing in her seat and squealing with excitement. The thought of what waited beyond these grand halls of stone was so vivid that she could taste sulfur on her tongue even though the local natural hot springs were still miles away. She’d made this trip hundreds of times but the exuberant thrill of it never faded. She felt like a kid about to enter Narnia. She was on the Hogwarts express, speeding toward a world of magic and adventure, a place that lived in her heart no matter how far away she went.