A.M. Sharpe, Brooklynite-turned-world-traveler, reveals her appreciation of exploring the Boulder Flatirons.
The sights of my childhood were brick buildings, tiled lobbies, and crown molding; morning hot chocolate, oily pepperoni pizza slices, and beef patties between coco bread; and my bunk bed, my mother’s hand that covered her snaggletooth as she giggled, and a brown, thrifted-looking, brand-new pull-out couch. I heard steel train wheels gnaw up sparks, Caribbean shoppers negotiate for the freshest fish and fruit, and young, first-generation United States citizens master the thickest of Brooklyn, New York, accents (I still have mine).
Those spaces smelled of my family’s home country and a phantom scent of the freshly cut grass of which American Dreams are made. They were the only things I knew that didn’t come out of a bulky, black 1990s television. Yet, it was through the television that I saw the world. There were adventures I knew I would explore, even though I had no means and no idea of how one did so. A decade and-a-half later, I fulfilled my childhood dreams and traveled the world for a few years. At some point, the yearning for a home grew within me.
During those years traveling, I was secretly always searching for a home. While I was beyond grateful and prideful of my birthplace, I began to feel that contemporary Brooklyn was no longer my home. My childhood apartment was made into a condo, and what I wanted in a lifestyle evolved. Plus, I’d stopped drinking hot chocolate for breakfast years ago. The past had passed.
Fortunately, Boulder, Colorado, was a special place that stayed in my mind, despite my first visit being just a few, short hours. It is here that I found the last thing I loved: the Boulder Flatirons.
I literally feel there is a healing property by living near these slabs of rock. I see them, and I am instantly energized. I seek out spots all over town just to gaze at them, and I send the photos of the rocks, scattered throughout my cellphone’s gallery, to friends and family around the globe.
The Flatirons never have a bad day. Whether they are dusted in snow, enrobed in fog, or dried from the Colorado sun, they are stunning. It’s also nice to know that whenever you see them, you are looking west. Something about that is reassuring. It’s as if the land formations always want me to remember that if I look in the opposite direction of my new love, I am simply facing my old home.
Sometimes I travel to the Flatirons by foot, just so I can physically work my way toward being in their presence. Depending on the time of year, I am guaranteed to see an engagement or graduation photo shoot. I listen to the people who have driven from neighboring towns sort out which hike they intend to complete. I see the runners who can practically finish a marathon faster than I can finish a traditional Sunday meal — 26 miles to the aroma of coconut milk and thyme.
It’s also the first place I rock-climbed outdoors. The fear in my grip telepathically told Brooklyn that it would never believe what I was doing at that moment. I whispered my fears to the rocks, which could better feel how foreign it all was to me than to the veteran climbers below.
While on the surface level, I love the Flatirons for their omnipresent beauty, I also love them because they affirm my decision to make Boulder my new nest and official home. My inner child periodically craves Jamaican patties, but she is happy to be in a peaceful place, nestled in the calm embrace of the Boulder Flatirons.