Today my husband and I created a new tradition.  In Colorado we can participate in the great American voting ritual at our leisure.  We can opt to mull over the issues in the privacy of our own home and use mail-in ballots, take advantage of short lines and pleasant volunteers at early voting centers two weeks prior to election day, or we can wait in lines with the other procrastinators on election day.  We have tried the latter options.  I am too paranoid to trust my ballot to our imperfect mail-in ballot process.  We live in Fort Collins in Larimer County.  I voted at our County Government Center in downtown Fort Collins on Friday.  But today, we drove to beautiful Estes Park (also in Larimer County), Scott voted and then we tramped up to Bierstadt Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park to celebrate our civic participation.  We worked over the weekend so that we could enjoy the solitude of RMNP on a Monday morning.  We didn’t see a single person during our four mile hike.  Our car was the only car in the Park and Ride Lot.

I am a registered Democrat. But walking in the woods at 10,000 feet, in the shadow of Long’s Peak, and the majesty of the Front Range, I can understand being a Republican – a Teddy Roosevelt Republican, that is. Thank goodness he had the political will and foresight to create the national park system and introduce love of natural beauty and conservation to our country. Sure, he did some things that don’t make a lot of sense one hundred years later.  But none of us are perfect.

For me, I can think of no better way to keep the big picture in the fore, remember why I love being an American, strive to be a better, giving citizen, protect our little planet and relish the one life I’m lucky enough to have than to vote in Estes Park, Colorado.