I recently traveled to California to visit some of my dearest friends and immerse in ocean time…a rich visit well spent with loved ones, but this Sunday morning, with the rain still hovering around, I wandered out the door with my dog to the river. It’s just a few minutes from my house and a route that takes me right into the heart of town.

Maybe it was the lush green brought on by the unusually wet month, the birds that were chattering non-stop, or the river running high, it matters not. Every step of my walk, I was reminded of the reasons I love this place.

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Canada Geese and Goslings

The River Trail was alive with activity. I greeted neighbors on their bikes along the path, wandered off the trail and found wild asparagus that I can’t wait to taste. There were Western Tanagers, finches, Grosbeaks and swallows darting from willows to cottonwoods and a Great Blue Heron flying down the river. Further ahead my dog startled a Canada Goose family that quickly took to the river, honking their disapproval.

Along the way, I passed the blooming native plant garden located in front of our library, a LEED certified building that perches on the river’s edge. There’s the Division of Wildlife Fish Hatchery, sculptures by local artists on the path and adding to the morning show, the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Train chugs by into the high country loaded with visitors waving. There were kayakers surfing the high water and always more encounters with friends on the trail. And this afternoon I’ll cycle into town and meet with friends to cheer on the fun events of the world class Iron Horse Bicycle Classic- an event that brings in thousands from around the country to participate in road racing and mountain biking.

Durango neighborhood

Wherever I’ve been, I’ve found beauty, wild forests and gardens, fun activities, friends, culture and community. Place for me, is important beyond measure. Some aren’t fortunate enough to be able to choose, others are blessed to feel at home no matter where they land. Me…I need to wake up where the birds are singing and Mother Nature is close at hand, where the community is alive with music and art, and my friends are next door, or a bicycle ride away.

Whether it’s those precious weeks when the high country alpine flowers cover the mountains, when the aspens shimmer gold, or even a morning just like this, it’s hard to imagine anywhere finer. I’ve lived quite a few places in this country, but I always circle back to Durango. I’m an explorer. I will find other places that speak to me, but this morning there is no other place I’d rather be.