I’m not certain when the sense of wanderlust first struck me….maybe it’s an evolving thing, rather than a ‘strike’..

     When I was 14 my parents allowed me to get on a plane to fly to Denver, Colorado to spend a week or two with my aunt and uncle in Boulder. I don’t remember feeling any fear or trepidation about traveling alone, flying, being away from home….just the exhilaration of going somewhere new. (Now, on the way home, due to a communication breakdown, I DID spend the night alone in the St. Louis airport. Cell phones were only found in comic books and computers were large things that filled entire floors of buildings…e-mail was science fiction.)

     I had been in the Rockies before, but at such an early age that I had no clear memories of their majesty, their primeval grandeur.

     Aunt Shirley and Uncle Eric had my days filled with one adventure after another. They weren’t ABOUT to let me leave Boulder without having memories that would stay with me forever.

     I was taken  to fish in a glacier lake in Estes Park, stopping along the way to the timberline to entice the Clark’s Nutcrackers (picture a Mockingbird the size of a Crow) to take peanuts from my out-stretched 14-year-old hand.

     They dropped me off at the Denver Museum planetarium on the day of the first moon landing so that I could experience it in an environment that was as close, at the time, as one could experience it without being at Cape Canaveral.

     I have reflected many times on the fact that here was a young couple who had a toddler AND an infant and suddenly they had been invaded by a teen-ager. (Some of you may not understand the significance of that… I do….now!)

     I remember riding with their family on the winding two-lane roads through rocky bluffs that always followed the natural courses cut across eons by streams and rivers. The eternal water that has shaped the land and created and sustained life.

     Occasionally, we would happen upon a seemingly ancient abandoned silver mine, and small towns that only existed now as decaying structures…last vestiges of the souls who had searched for, and built toward their dreams only to have time trump those dreams with a stronger hand. The water continues…the dreams were dispersed, or passed on…or fulfilled.

     One of my most distinct memories of this trip was a night spent camping in the mountains with a couple of guys that were my age, thereabouts, who were introduced to me by my Aunt Shirley. I will never remember the exact location, or how we got there, but we set up camp in the ‘front yard’ of an almost totally decayed miner’s cabin. All that was left was the foundation and shards of pottery, tin, and a bristle-less brush (which I still have pieces of) and his path to the mine.

     Today, I would probably allow my ‘knowledge’ of danger to keep me from entering an abandoned mine, but at 14, I was indestructible and never gave it a second thought. (Actually, my memory is that it was carved into solid rock. There were no barricades or evidence of crumbling, and I never felt ANY apprehension that there could be a potential for disaster.)

     Armed with flashlights, we explored the cave and followed the vein of quartz 30 yards deep into the rock. All of a sudden, I experienced a sensation of timeless-ness and selfless-ness, and I could feel within me the ambition and drive and hope that this long ago miner must have felt every day as he entered the mine and followed the vein towards the elusive mother lode.

     “Today, I hit it! Today, One more tap with the chisel…one more drop of sweat, one more night of resting my aching bones on a dirt floor….Today, my dreams come true…my labors are rewarded!!!….

Well… then… Tomorrow!”


     Day after day. Year after year. Deeper into the rock. Following the vein and the Dream. Maybe an inch away, maybe worlds away, but the struggle was his. He owned it and It owned him.

     For all I know, he DID hit the ‘mother lode’ and went on to live a life of luxury. For all I know, he died an inch away from the dream with his hammer in his hand. For all I know, he finally took the gold flakes that he had accumulated over the years and spent the remainder of his life telling about “the one that got away”. For all I know, he was content within nothing but the search.

     What I most certainly do know is that he left behind a piece of the Spirit of mankind to find me and to infuse me with the knowledge of the Universal ‘struggle’.

The desire and need to go on…To not give up or give in.

     Every day I take part in the life-long task of chipping away the things that separate me from my Dreams, all the while knowing that the REAL dream is inside me and the un-truths are all that stand between me and this Gift that has been given to Mankind as a guide….a path…a Spirit…The Internal Motherlode.

So close….always getting closer.

~ by rkpowers on April 3, 2010.

3 Responses to “Wanderlust”

  1. You have a real talent for the first person narrative.


  2. Thanks Randy, I enjoyed your “perspective” and will use it as I journey.


  3. ….love the sharpness of your memory. I cringe at what we let you do on that trip. Good thing we were not yet parents of teenagers, huh? Eric and I were trying to remember just what year that was. 1969, ’70? Keep on chipping away at those things that separate us from our dreams, each other, peace, Love, and keep on writing about it. You do it so well, Shirley


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