I was surprised by the quiet beauty of Georgetown, Colorado, a small, historic mountain town close to I-70, the main route to the state’s ski resorts. A new blanket of snow had just fallen transforming the charming hamlet into a winter wonderland–the stuff of storybooks.
To ensure that we were sufficiently wowed by the scenic beauty, a friendly cowboy reminded us that “it didn’t look like this yesterday. There was no snow until this morning.” So I boarded the Colorado version of the Polar Express, sat down on a lavish cushion, and embarked on Georgetown’s Loop Railroad for Santa’s North Pole Adventure.
As Santa made his way through the train car the expectant, hopeful energy of the children grew. Soon he was standing right next to us: “Elephant, rocket ship, unicorn,” the requests were articulate and very specific. “I want a horse,” I said as I watched my nine-month-old grandson, Wade, grab a hunk of white fur on Santa’s red coat. “I want an Aston Martin,” said my husband John. For an easy instant, my sensible, sometimes cynical 62-year-old self vanished, and my child self, the true believer, took over.
Erin Doty, who took her father, husband and children on their first train ride the day after Christmas, had a very different experience. “It was less than a minute into the ride, the train started tipping back and forth, back and forth. And then the train literally flipped on its side, ” Erin told a 9News reporter.
“We were so confused as to what was happening. Glass was breaking, shattering. People were crying, the kids were so scared. And then finally somebody came through the door making sure everybody was OK,” said Doty.
My experience was enchanting–the stuff of treasured memories–and Erin’s the polar opposite–fear arising from real danger. If love is the recognition of expansiveness, as my yoga teacher Sophia Diaz teaches, then my practice is opening my heart not just to joy, but to pain, too. This is the adventure of life.