"Lookit hun, a smudge," I sighed, as we lounge on the living room sofa, reviewing Vacation Day 3 photos. Something catches my eye out the window, and I glance up to see a hummingbird flitting to the sugar water feeder. Beyond her lies the last full mile of great plains before the land rises up into the jagged beauty of the Saguache Range. Awe-struck, I recall that this is the land, that in the 1850's, Major Gunnison surveyed and pronounced was "uninhabitable by man." This is the land of great explorers and adventurers; of extreme athletes, of gun-toting Republicans, of pretty, leathered ladies in cowboy boots, and yes, of Midwestern retirees. Flatlanders, to be precise, arrive daily in the Rocky Mountain State with their bikes, tortilla presses, and yak racks, dreaming of fourteeners, ice cream stands, and bear sightings. "I [heart] Colorado" keychains jingle at the Safeway check-out counter. Baby Boomers pant up hiking trails, nose to the GPS, wiping away the sweat with their microfiber bandannas. Local Saturday sidewalks are alive with Crocs-clad families, old couples in matching fishing shirts and mesh-pocketed pants, and the occasional scantily-clad, tan, river guide or kayak instructor.
Well that was fun! No segues here. Back to the smudge. Can you believe we went nearly the whole summer with a stinking smudge on our camera lens?! Folks, it doesn't matter who's name is on it if you can't see out of it.