“ The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” (Ram Dass)
The experience of inner silence can be a difficult concept to grasp when you live a continually busy life in South Florida as we do. Fortunately, Ruth and I have long found remote Steamboat Springs, Colorado, nestled quietly amidst the Rocky Mountains, to be an ideal vacation respite for calming our most active minds. On our late March visit to Steamboat on days 17-20 of our road trip, we particularly savored a much needed slowdown here from our challengingly long days of driving. Being inspired at first by the the utter stillness of winter here outside our motel window, we proceeded to find additional opportunities on this visit to “zone in” quietly. In observing the following photographs, you thus might imagine the meditative silence we experienced on this visit.
After settling in at our favorite motel, Steamboat Mountain Lodge, our room offered stunning views of a mountainside, winter wonderland. Opening the window, a meditating calmness of steadily dripping icicles and crackling snow dampened our urge to turn on the television then. Additional calmness settled in as we listened to the shrill whistle of approaching trains and the frantic calls of migrating Sandhill Cranes.
On our second morning we took a leisurely walk along the Yampa River Core Trail. Following a winding trail lined with towering snowpacks, our senses embraced nature’s slowdown in the dead silence of winter. Taking a closer look for subtle signs of springtime awakening, steady river flows and occasional bird sightings would further relax our mind.
Looking for a suitable excursion, the next day we would drive a lonely county road north to Steamboat Lake Park. Along the way, we noted the welcoming appearance of snow whitened farm houses/adjacent pastures, and slow oozing brooks reminiscent of a seasonal Hallmark Holiday card. Even the cows hovering contentedly in the fields seemed unaffected by the perpetual cold.
At Steamboat Park, we then found snowshoeing to be a relaxing way to spend our second morning. By observing my breath rise and fall as I walked slowly alongside my wife on the snow packed path, such meditative calmness helped me to more confidently keep my balance as needed. For a fittingly serene encore, we then enjoyed stunning panoramas of the mountains over lunch from rocking chairs at the park visitor center.
As an isolated western town, Steamboat Springs seems surprisingly cosmopolitan in cultural awareness. Thus the Steamboat Library’s weekly film showing, “Mantra: Sounds Into Silence “ on day three of our visit would offer us an engaging look at Buddhistic chanting as a new way to find “inner peace and enhance our yoga practice meditation in the future.