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November 29, 2005 - Tuesday, 1:01 a.m.

A Good Day...

Last night as I came down the pass from Woodland Park, I took the exit out of Ute Pass into Manitou Springs. It was a quiet night. The road was dark and steep as is decended into town. The road runs along the creek and the houses are built up on the steep hills on either side, almost like some quaint European town. The shops vary from close to 100 years old, to shops that were built in the last year to fit into the architecture of the town. The street had almost no traffic. I passed a few cars parked near the few bars that were open. The arcade was dark, and all the shops closed. The windows, lit with twinkling strings of lights featuring folksy items like hand blown glass and hand made mandolins. The clothing stores looked like something out of the seventies, colorful, flowing skirts and blouses. Some shops have beautiful hand thrown pottery, and others are art galleries. This town definitely has a style, it’s an artistic community, and very obviously so. In the day time, especially in the summer, the streets and sidewalks spill over with tourists.

Once upon a time this street was the main thoroughfare from the city to the mountains, before there were highways that bypassed the business district. Over the years, small cottages, morphed to motels, housing all the tourists drawn to the area. There are even camp grounds. They sprang up along the creek from the edge of Manitou Springs all the way to Old Colorado City. I am sure at that time there was nothing between the two towns. That road has now been engulfed by the homes and businesses, leaving all the motels and camp grounds squarely in town.

It’s strange to drive though on a quiet Sunday night, in November. I never really thought about the fact that the motel chains like Holiday Inn, Ramada Inn and even Motel 6 don’t have the red neon “Vacancy/No Vacancy” signs, like the little motels always used to have. Every little Motel along Manitou Avenue and into Old Colorado City has one of those signs. In November, they don’t really reflect the reality of the occupation of the motel, but reflect better the state of mind of the owner. Many of the “No Vacancy” motels simply have keepers that have decided at some point in the evening that they no longer want to be dragged out of bed to rent rooms. So they flipped the switch the makes the word “No” light up, and they retire to watch TV and sleep.

As I drive along the quiet streets I try to imagine what it must have looked like in the 1950’s or even at the turn of the century when the area attracted people looking for magical cures for whatever ailed them. Colorado Springs was a haven for TB patients hoping the clean mountain air and sunshine would cure them. The springs that bubbled in Manitou were thought to have healing powers as early at the late 1800’s. Those springs flowed right up to the time they built highway 24 and redirected Fountain Creek. After that they promptly dried up for the most part. I believe only one or two of them still have water flowing in them and only in Manitou Springs at the far west end of it.

The avenue comes out of Manitou and into a business area with a Safeway, and most of the major fast food chains. Little motels are sprinkled along with the business, until you hit Old Colorado City. Again, the street is empty except for the cars again at the bars. The old buildings have cute little shops very similar to Manitou. Twinkling lights line the store fronts and wrap around the trees along the sidewalk year round. It’s is almost sad to drive by. It seems that there should be people walking along the sidewalks peering into the windows and music drifting out of the restaurants and bars. It just seems lonely.

It feels the same every time I drive through there. I often pick this route skipping the highway that zips by. It’s slower, but I love the feel. It stirs up my imagination and never fails to make me think about the years gone by and the changes that road has seen.

Today was a good day. I didn’t get a lot done at work, but I did stay busy and had a very nice visit with Tim in the copy room. It always amazes me how much he tells me about himself and his life. I pretty much know what is going on in his life, because he never fails to talk about it. I like that. He tells me the good and the bad, things he is feeling good about and the things that are worrying or concerning him. I realize that I tend to have this effect on people. Many people sit down and tell me about their life, but somehow this feels different, or perhaps I just feel different about it. He also talks to me about how he sees the world, or what he thinks, how he approaches his kids on different topics, the things that are important to him in life. Perhaps this is just how he is with everyone, but I don’t think so. Though he is not a striking man in looks, there are many things about him that are striking. He has a wonderful voice, a dry, whimsical sense of humor, he is tall and his hands are nice. His view on family is very appealing, as is his view on the differing roles of men and women. Most of his view of the world is very close to my own view, and not a view I see often outside of my small sphere of friends and family. Though no one thing about him is a powerful draw, the combination of things is very appealing to me. This man is actually older then me, by about eight years. It’s very new for me, as I am rarely drawn to men that are older then me. I think perhaps today it has started to dawn on him that I am interested in him. I don’t know why I think that, but that was the feeling I got today as I talked to him. Anyway… it was a good day. :o)

Tonight I headed up to university a little early and sat in my car in the parking lot. There is a beautiful panoramic view of the city south of the campus. The lights are lit up all over town, and roads are outlined by lights and I try to figure out which roads they are. I love that view. There is a similar view from the top of Fillmore Hill. The west side sprawls to the southwest and downtown to the southeast. One night at the gas station by King Soopers at the top of the hill, I stood under the awning filling my tank as it rained. The lightening display to the south all the way to Cheyenne Mountain was gorgeous. I could have sat there all night, but I didn’t. I love that there are hills all over the Springs and you are often presented with a gorgeous night view of the city. It makes a night drive though town very appealing.

When I got home from class tonight the house was full of people. My nephew, Kyle and his wife, Maqui and a couple of her friends were hanging out with Curtis. I visited with Maqui and we burned a CD for her. It was nice.

Like I said, it was a good day.

Sweet Dreams… M.

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