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A Heart-breaking Song in Sagebrush Hills

I wrote the last post after being so affected by the contrast between holiday tourist traffic and the total isolation I had just enjoyed on a mountain bike ride, earlier in the morning. If uncrowdedness were so great, why doesn't everybody avail themselves of it?

I suppose it is just human nature to go where everybody else does, by chasing brown signs put up by the forest service, park service, and BLM. It seems undesirable to think for themselves.

But the mass-tourist would probably not agree with that. They would argue that crowded places are crowded because they are more beautiful than the average place. If you then asked him, "What is beauty?', he would think you are being silly or argumentative, since beauty is "obvious." He means anything that is BIG, vertical, or freakish.

Although few tourists would consider the location of my morning mountain bike ride to be ugly, they would think it less entertaining than where they were.

But I was quite entertained, I assure you.  Of course, you can hardly go wrong when you are under the influence of psycho-tropic drugs like dopamines and endorphins. 

Despite the sunlight and perfect weather, there is a noticeable austerity to sagebrush hills. And once again I was affected by the fragile tendrils of forest that creep down the gullies of these hills. Frail copses clung to the edges of mesas, as well. Some of these trees and the ground vegetation were already turning orange and yellow.

Fall colors bathed in clear crisp air are supposed to be something to exult over. When the entire mountain side turns yellow, its glossy photograph would be included in next year's promotional pin-up calendar put out by some Colorado real estate office.

And yet, to the DNA of a northern European, there is something poignant about autumn, despite colors and crisp air. Aspen trees are famous for quivering in light breezes.

At breakfast that day, I had listened to some heart-breakers sung by EmmyLou Harris, with her quivering falsetto and all the emotion it evokes. While thinking of her music, I looked at these quaking leaves as if I were seeing them for the first time.  I don't ever remember being that affected by an entire mountain side of it.