By Monika Erzsebet Berenyi

This poem, penned in the moment, chronicles a glimpse into the experiences and perceptions felt, whilst ascending and descending Flagstaff Mountain. It is a panoramic portrait of the wild and alluring world which informs the current place I call home – Boulder County, Colorado. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Nothing is certain, save for eternity.

In Boulder County,
The sun is rising,
With cadence
And with song.
A clock in space and time,
Set to cradle, this world of beauty.
The certainty of light
Stands the hero here,
Or so the Bluebird tells me.
And one, I dare not miss.

What dances along with Nature,
Therein lies –
A truth so bold.
I am humbled by Her –
Subservient to the call of
Morning calm, and daybreak drawing.
Lines of symmetrical light
Envelope this climb –
To a summit so near, yet to an elsewhere land.
Here, I am one.

The air is cold –
Dangerous at times.
Dense with volume, like a hot air balloon,
I rise through space and time.
The blue hour fades.
There are no constraints.
Only the soft sounds of morning.
So this is rocky mountain high?
The Bluebird nods,
And I surrender.

The elevation is grand,
A mile high if not more, so the locals say.
Calling out for consciousness,
I step higher
Into a realm which touches the sky.
A perfect light comes into the fore
And the sun…
On Flagstaff Mountain,
In Boulder County –

I pass Chautauqua Park.

Columbine rules and foothills meander
Below the great Flatirons on Green Mountain.
Steadfast and careworn,
With glowing permanence –
These “Chautauqua Slabs” – known colloquially,
Are readied for the break of day.
I am awestruck by their faces,
Shifting from tones of pink and orange,
Yellow and red,
With hints of Violet and Magenta Blue.

I coast along,
Cascading lightly –
Around jagged edges,
Bends and Turns.
With moon and sun exchanging faint hellos and goodbyes,
There is no end to higher grounds.
The Bluebird flies ahead,
And the wild woods sing softly.
The wind –
A vortex, untouchable.

Ascending higher,
The portal awaits –
To a space which holds
A thousand shades of Colorado blue.
And Viridian reign,
With clouds of powder.

Passing Realization Point,
The compass points toward Tenderfoot Trail.
Beyond a fragrant thicket of Ponderosa Pine –
Blanketing jagged rocks and crags,
The Bluebird –
Perched high,
Calls out from Flagstaff Mountain.
I pause.
I am filled.
I am there – beholden now to the Colorado Continental Divide.

There is no beginning.
There is no end.
Nor will there ever be.

Turning again,
Charged with inspiration,
I take another bend with curve,
Traversing unmarked earth –
No ceilings known.
I reach Chapman Drive –
A remnant project of the Civilian Conservation Corps,
Forged during the New Deal,
At the time of the Great Depression.

I reach Morse Well –
Built in 1929.
I then touch down at Flagstaff Stone Shelter,
Continuing toward Sunrise Amphitheatre –
Storied places which conjure
The determination…
The hardship of America…during the 1930s.
I imagine “the” hopes and dreams,
Once vested in these structures.

At 7400 feet, the air is thin.
I recover my thoughts;
I recover my breath.
Acknowledging the Bluebird –
The guide to my morning path,
I turn again,
And face a landscape, ever enduring –
Dotted by the wildflowers of Boulder County.
Grounded and anchored by Flagstaff Mountain,
I enumerate:

Wild Chokecherry
Boulder Raspberry
Miner’s Candle
Common Mullion
Silvery Lupine
Arkansas Rose
Golden Banner
And the Rocky Mountain Phlox.
Commanding magnificence.

And the trees, known by name
Leaf and ornamental needle
Stand prudently tall,
Interspersed amongst the Ponderosa Pine.
They are tomes of their own.
Rocky Mountain Maple
Blue Spruce
Limber Pine
Rocky Mountain Juniper
And the great White Fur.

And at times, the animals along the way –
Mule Deer
White-tailed Deer
Colorado Chipmunk
Deer Mouse
Pine Squirrel
And the Prairie Dog.

And the butterflies –
Gossamers – the likes of Coppers, Hairstreaks, Elfins and Blues
True Brushfoots
Admirals and Relatives
Satyrs and Wood Nymphs
Spread-wing Skippers
And Grass Skippers.

And to the elements,
Nature’s dear forces –
Which have come to punctuate
These mornings,
So Untamed, so free at will –
Electricity and Lightening.

With gratitude for Nature,
The presence of Flagstaff Mountain,
And Bluebird as guide,
I look out once more – grateful.
This is Boulder County.
I fill my lungs,
With an expanse and vastness,
An endless panorama –
Is it possible to count such beauty?

Today I draw in words,
Though envision the paintings
And hear the symphonies of sound –
Spawned only on such grounds.
And rest – in knowing,
That before I descend,
The sun will rise,
And tomorrow,
Once again –
I will return to all that Nature holds here.