If you drive east from Fort Collins, you’ll end up on the plains. With the mountains at your back, you actually start in a low spot in the land - and then rise and rise and rise. Somewhere out in that flatness (which really isn’t flat at all) there is a peak, and after cresting it you begin the long and almost imperceptible slide down again. About sixty miles out, in a low spot, a pair of buttes rise up from the prairie. And even though I grew up here, thought I knew this land through and through, I had no idea that they existed. I suppose that’s what I get for being a know-it-all!
The day I saw the buttes, the sun was shining but the wind was whipping - and I was grateful for my down jacket, zipped up to the very top. The trail wound through escarpments and dry creek beds, deeply carved into the land. There were places that felt closed in, like a grove of junipers that provided some temporary shelter from the wind, and wide open expanses where the sheer size of it all snatched my breath away.
And then the buttes themselves - they are bizarrely magical. Simultaneously out of place, steeply jutting up from the grasses, and perfectly at home. I want to see them as the sun rises. I want to see them painted in sunset. I want to see the birds of prey, that live and nest in the porous recesses of those stony walls, spiraling in the clear blue. I’m already making plans to journey east again.
Yes - this land still has much to show me.
And when I got back, I pawed through my stones looking for one in particular - a Spring Mountain picture jasper with a pair of buttes. Because what better way is there for a prairie-loving plainswoman to show her love of the land than with a ring (size 8) that captures a touch of that magic?
Update - now sold! Thank you ✨
Copy & Paste 🔃 #opensky by @phillipksmith3 installation. Such a experience of total isolation from a chaotic city, especially during #salonedelmobile
Wearing: total @cosstores