last sunday jenna, eric, kevin & i headed to monte vista for the ski hi stampede, colorado's oldest pro rodeo. i had never been to the rodeo before. i had no idea what to expect. i mean i anticipated tight jeans on cowboys and plaid button up shirts. oh but it was so much more. it was an amazing spectacle: mutton bustin, bull riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling and team roping. if i hadn't dropped my camera in el rio grande i would have taken a million photos. but alas, i only had my polaroid, which is not a sufficient device for taking photos from far away. what i do have, however, are some polaroids from the adjacent carnival. i was too poor to afford actually going on the rides. but i did get some sweet shots:
jenna and kevin look on at all the amazing rides.
isn't jenna's outfit amazing?
the ferris wheel, a glorious invention.
not many posts for the month of july, i know. it's been a whirlwind, to say the least. i've found myself on a roller coaster of emotion, feeling everything from excitement to dread as i finish out my year of service in alamosa and prepare myself for the trek further west to california.
in a week and a half i will leave alamosa, by car, stopping in st.louis, missouri to see my dear paulette before landing home in atlanta. there i will gather myself and my belongings, spend time with the fam, and then fly out to san francisco on the 14th. i am so excited and anxious to get to the bay area. i feel very blessed knowing there will be people there waiting for me, to welcome me and help me get settled. then i start film school on aug 26th. a year ago i would not have guessed i'd finally be following my life long instinct at 22. but i am. and im scared and jazzed and anxious and rowdy. ants in my pants!
all this being said, i had a very enlightening experience just a few days ago that was profoundly reflective of my current state of mind. my friend mary kate and i (and her friend dan) were on a walking adventure through the thick of alamosa. she had told us of a strange abandoned structure along the river known as 'monkey mansion' where a man with pet monkeys had once dwelled before going crazy, killing his wife and precious primates (a rural legend, if you will). to get to the left behind site we had to cross a pseudo foot bridge over el rio grande, right above a small dam. the foot bridge was not really a foot bridge at all; more like a crossing for river maintenance. as we crossed i took a few photos of mk and dan, the sunset, the river. the sky was a deep blue with airy clouds brushed thinly across, as if trying to stretch the valley from east to west. i snapped my digital incessantly, as i do, walking across the bridge, in awe of the dusk. mk and dan stopped for a moment, propped themselves up upon the rail. i stuck my digital camera in a pocket of my overall jumper, lifted myself upon the bar and stretched my legs onto the rail in front of me. as i lifted my legs i felt my camera slide out of my pocket and watched as it bounced in slow motion off the bridge and into the river, swiftly flowing south.
a year ago i would have screamed. two months ago i would have cried. three weeks ago i would have felt terribly bad for myself and my misfortune. but at that moment in time, almost a week ago, i could only feel relieved. somehow, losing my camera to the currents of el rio grande felt deeply liberating. and as mary kate tried to convince me of the benefits of chasing after it i could only say, 'it's okay'. it may seem like a minor, insignificant moment but for me it felt meaningful and beautiful and perfect. suddenly the true intangibility of instant nostalgia made itself blatantly apparent. the need to photograph everything can sometimes get in the way of experiencing anything. so when we finally got to monkey mansion i was forced to just be there, 100% present and at peace. and now, in my last days in colorado, i can only be here, happy and full of love for a place that has changed me more than i ever imagined possible.
so i no longer have a digital camera. granted, i am still in possession of my two polaroid cameras and will now, more than ever, hold onto them with severe responsibility. but honestly, it's these little losses and fleeting moments that make life so full, so real. and while i am terrified of what is to come i am gently at peace. in the words of kurt vonnegut . . .
everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.