“He who is not content with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.” – Socrates
I just returned from a truly special family vacation. My husband and I rented a log home nestled in the mountains of Colorado, and along with our children and their families, we spent seven days together exploring the 120-acre home site. Located seven winding, rolling miles from the nearest town, we ate our meals at the big wooden table using the groceries we carried in. We took a few day trips to nearby attractions, and we gathered around the campfire each night after the grandkids went to bed, where the conversation and indulgences were more PG rated.
I’ve only been to Colorado during the months of summer, when the days are warm but the night temperatures drop to a few degrees short of cold. Coming from the summer heat and thick humidity of Florida, the air in Colorado felt positively arid and oxygen-lite. The scents of pine and leather were needle-sharp, and the rustle of the wind as it brushed through the aspen leaves was a constant reminder of the remoteness of our vacation destination. There were no city lights to dim the illumination of the Milky Way; no din of traffic to obscure the sounds of nature.
We hiked up a neighboring mountain past waterfalls and rocky outcroppings, to a serene little lake where a family of ducks created the only ripples on its surface. We rode horseback over rocky passages while our guide fed us information on the wonders and discoveries of the area. She didn’t seem convinced that here in Florida we also coexist with bears and panthers, big snakes and coyotes. But we did learn that rubbing the bark of an aspen tree releases a fine white dust that substitutes for SPF 15 sunscreen when you apply it to the skin. From that point on, the younger generation wore white aspen dust like war paint, and carried stick weaponry everywhere.
A highlight for us all was a ride on an old steam train near the historic mining village of Georgetown. Seating was open-air and even the littlest of the grandchildren were able to stand on the seats and peer over the edge. Within inches of trees, rocks and a 75-foot drop, they were captivated by the sights, and startled by the repeating whistle of the engine as it echoed off the canyon walls.
Back at the house, a towering rock formation was a favorite hangout. It satadjacent to the log home and loomed over it by 20 feet. Many of us spent time perched on the stone ledges taking in the 360 degree view of the snow-tipped mountain ranges, meditating or practicing a bit of yoga, balancing in the balance.
It was midway through our holiday week as we all sat outside on the deck, surrounded by the spectacular view, when one of our kids posed the question: “what do you prefer, the mountains or the ocean?” My husband spoke up first and said ocean. Most of the kids were partial to mountain vistas, although some, with just a hint of greediness, wished for both. For me, the ever-changing surf and endless horizon holds my heart.
Often in life we ponder “what if’s.” The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence. Our daughter and her family were recently contemplating a big move. New jobs, new town, closer to family. As they teetered between staying in the “sure thing” and moving into the unknown, she actually said those words. “Mom, the grass always looks greener somewhere else.” And I thought to myself, not for me. I am living amid the greenest grass. There is no pasture more colorful, no horizon more clear than where I am right now.
Colorado has always sparked a special fire in me. My husband and I sometimes tossed around the notion of buying property there. What a perfect complement of lifestyles? Beach and sunshine for nine months of the year; high-altitude hiking and cool mountain breezes to take us through the summers. But I don’t think so. As much as I relished our recent stay in the beautiful state, I feel contentment here on the Gulf Coast. Stepping off the plane back in Florida, the damp air hydrated my skin and lungs. The familiar scent of wet palm and hibiscus made me smile. And the color palate of white sand, turquoise water and bright, blue sky cannot be surpassed in my eyes. There are many places beyond the borders of this island that hold beauty and mystery and beg to be explored, but at the end of the day, I am content under the scorch of this sky, surrounded by the damp of Gulf air, watching the sun set over the same saltwater horizon every day for the rest of my life.
Laurie Kasperbauer is an active Florida Realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. Laurie also enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes.