Thursday, October 13, 2005

Travel Log: 29 Sept - 1 Oct

Route

Colorado Blvd. to I-70 to I-25 to U.S. 36 and points therabout.

Our girls at the Denver Zoo.Travel Highlight

Visiting the Denver Zoo is always high on our list when returning to the Colorado Front Range. This time we spent nearly six hours roaming the grounds. We were impressed with the new Predator Ridge, and the girls were especially delighted by all of the new bronze statuary (is that the right use of the term?).

It's a tough call as to our favorites this time: the baby gorillas, Tropical Discovery, the prowling white wolves, the cuddling polar bears, the carousel perhaps?

Polar bears at the Denver Zoo.Travel Lowlight

I didn't make it up to Loveland to hear Billy Collins read on Saturday night, October 1. That's too bad. I see that Mary Oliver will be in town at the end of this month, as well. My two favorite living poets! Oh well: I'm sure I was more than compensated by the barbecue our hosts Carolyn and Joe threw for us Saturday evening. Friends from Denver and Superior came down and we had great food!

I also scored what I think are the last three six-packs of Tabernash Weiss in all of the metro Denver area. It's my favorite beer that, apparently, is no longer being brewed (a definite lowlight). Still, to be able to drink the proverbial nectar of the gods one last time was a true pleasure.

Lodging

We're still staying at the Doolings in Congress Park. We checked out our old lodging---a 1903 bungalow in Denver's Berkeley Park neighborhood, where we lived from 1998 through 2000. I was disappointed to see that no work has been done on the house since we left. In fact, the primer surrounding the then-new master bedroom window, upstairs, is still showing. It should have been painted right after we sold it five years ago. What a shame.

Bruce and Simmons: the odd couple?The Reading

Many thanks to my old friend, coworker, and project management mentor Bruce Kirschner (the shorter fella on the left, with me) for setting up a poetry reading and book signing at Louisville's Sun Rose Cafe.

Bruce also rounded up a handful of other coworkers, from our Western Area Power Administration days, who made the journey to old town Louisville (on the route between Denver and Boulder, closer to Boulder). Even though the cafe apparently forgot about the reading---and didn't hang any flyers---Bruce got it all over the local newspapers and radio, and by the time we got going there was a pretty good crowd. I especially enjoyed the older lady who came in for the reading and knitted while I read, and then politely slid out after I finished. I sold a few books and the cafe sold some coffee-type-thing drinks (I'm not a coffee guy, so get lost in all that jargon).

Three Things I Think...

1. I think that the redevelopment of Stapleton International Airport, which we visited on Saturday, will be a sure success, especially once the landscaping grows in. But I agree with Carolyn that it could use more authentically modern housing. Don't get me wrong: I love all the traditional Denver architecture---Denver has a grand history of residential architecture---but there is an opportunity, still abiding by the good street layouts and pedestrian orientation of the new Stapleton, to create a new and even more robust housing scheme here.

Carolyn and daughter at a Stapleton park.2. I think I get really jazzed by giving readings, so when little things like the lack of advertising or a late-minute room change and subsequent train calls invariably happen, it's no big deal. All those public speaking courses I made myself take in college have, it seems, paid off!

3. I think I could live in Denver again, where thanks much to Jake Adam York there is now a visibly growing and involved community of poets. But how do young families afford to live there? One of the urban estates along the Stapleton park we visited is for sale for $1.255 million. Even the small single-family homes start in the $300s, without options. What young couple, with or without children, can afford that?

Closing Poem

In memory of our wonderful visit to the zoo, I present an animal poem from page 47 of Riverfall:

The Egret, I Choose

Not because of his plumage, for the wood duck is no less
than a batik at the Indonesian hand of its creator;

not because of his flight, for the ruby-throated hummingbird
is simply more efficient;

and not because he wades water, for a company of plovers
presents a better show.

But because he stands still as the moon, and as white;
because the green-striped cichlids know certain fear

upon the rush of that golden spear;
because his darker cousin still waits patiently at the frayed

end of reedy pond;
and because he will sail the cracked back of crocodile;

and because there is no love lost in his piercing stare;
and because he is egret, remaining noble in the poorest of swamps;

and because she is egress, the exit he deserves.

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