Denver

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The house shrouded in fog and humidity this morning, the heat and sun trying to break through. The past week a crazy mix of weather – sunshine and high winds, snow-fall at the higher elevations, flooding to the north, wild thunder and lightning storms at night. Lupines are blooming in the meadow, butterflies and hummingbirds have appeared and the air is heady with fragrant summer blooms. The lush greens outside my window, so different from the barely-there green velvet blush on the early spring, high elevation, big-sky landscape of Colorado.

The trip, a delicious, leisurely long-weekend visit with family. At 5280 feet, Denver, with its snow-capped mountains to the west, and its lovely neighborhoods, took my breath away – literally and figuratively. Exploring the treasures of the neighborhood with sweet dog Izabel as my guide, pushing fluids to ward off the side-effects of high altitude, and dodging the heat of the sharp sun on shade-dappled sidewalks. A neighborhood in transition, modest bungalows, and rental duplexes giving way to modern, larger houses on small lots, set within a tangle of city parks, with spectacular mountain views. Ribbon gardens and pocket parks with drought resistant plantings utilizing the space between concrete, roads and buildings. Graduation parties and picnics, rites of spring, residents embracing the glory of spring sunshine and blue skies. A stone grotto from 1947 and a sister-park with giant stones from China’s stone forest. A mixed bouquet of backyard gardening and grilling, outings to downtown and the mountains, trips to farmer’s markets, a Scandi-essence dinner and tastings from food trucks.

A visit to DAM – the Denver Art Museum. A respite from the relentless afternoon sunshine and the jet-lag on my first afternoon there. Cool, calm and clean. Large scale sculptures and a dye garden in the midst of downtown at the Civic Plaza. Sharp angles and soft curves, luxury and homelessness. The museum, two buildings, the old and the new, connected by an enclosed bridge. Inside gallery spaces suffused with light, a fiber exhibit and the permanent collection holding their own, new installations in progress, not yet open. 

On Syttende Mai, Norway’s Constitution Day, the generous gift of dinner at Trillium. Named after one of my favorite ephemeral spring wildflowers, with a chef/owner of Finnish extract from the mid-west, the American menu featured a sprinkling of Scandinavian, utilizing local foods. A modern, light and open space set in a historic building with original brick and exposed beams, part of the Ballpark neighborhood’s revitalization. Super-attentive service, beautiful presentations and excellent pairings. Part of their monthly Scandinavian dinner series, the fresh seafood and smaller plates stole the show, with creative twists on traditional ingredients of geitost, cloud-berries, and mushrooms. But as tasty as they were, and as full as I was getting, the menu of the night left me longing for more Norwegian flavors. The next day, in a totally different setting, equally delicious, fresh and tasty food truck-fare of shrimp, slaw and sweet potatoes at Still Smokin – perfect and delicious all-American flavors.

A trip of many gifts, the biggest gift of all, walks with Izabel and the love of family, time spent together.

 

2 comments

    1. Thanks, Matti! In my travels I am reminded that life is not about grand destinations (though Colorado is VERY grand) – but about the small moments, the people and places that together make for a beautiful bouquet of memories and experiences. And nice to know, that in my travels, I can usually find a trace of Scandinavia. Hope your Finland (and beyond) travels are going well. 🙂

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