I was twenty-seven years old. It was summer, a Sunday, and we were climbing into the car to make the drive to my sister’s new home about 125 miles from our own. I settled back in the seat, after making sure the two kids were okay, reached out and flicked on the radio as my husband began that long drive away from where we lived. And was immediately surrounded by the words and voice of John Denver.
I need to back up a bit here, just a bit. The evening before, while my children slept and their father finished his second shift of employment, I had sat down to read a small book about a spiritual experience that had happened to its author. At the end of this tale, the author had included a small prayer.
Reading through the prayer, I decided it might be worth a try. I closed my eyes and chose my words carefully. I wasn’t expecting anything to come from my personal commitment, but the words I had chosen were as true and real as I could make them. I was reaching out to the Universe honestly, perhaps for the first time in my existence.
As the words slipped from my lips, I felt something break loose deep inside of me. Something like bubbles of air that pressed upward, looking for release (and no it was not a burp, nor anything physical, yet I felt it on a physical level). Felt it rise even higher, millions of small bright bubbles as light as feathers, then burst from my own mouth in what could only be called delighted laughter.
I felt like a kid, having hoped all year that Christmas would bring something so incredibly special, it would make my eyes light up and shine for the whole next year, then found a gaily wrapped package under the tree, and unwrapped something beyond my wildest dreams.
Alone, I hugged myself, knowing only that I was feeling joy for the very first time in my life. The few hours that followed were filled with it. Each time I would stop, still myself, I would feel those bubbles rise again, and hug myself tightly and laugh again with delight. It was my secret, no one else could or would know what I was feeling and thinking. I had received a gift from the Universe, the gift of Joy.
And it was still there the next morning, filling me with lightness, sheer exuberance as I made breakfast, got the kids dressed and ready to go, and made sure the house was in order and we could have a good day. I didn’t say anything to anyone, but could feel the shine in my own eyes. Could feel that lightness, whenever I stilled, even for a moment.
Hugging myself, once again, I flicked on the radio and immediately heard:
He was born in the summer of his 27th year
Comin’ home to a place he’d never been before
He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again
You might say he found a key for every door
I gasped aloud, even as I sang along with John Denver about his own spiritual experience of the mountains. I didn’t know then, didn’t learn until much later that I had just had my very first experience with synchronicity, a confirmation that I was in the right place, at exactly the right time, doing the right thing, had been heard, and was being acknowledged.
And like that small child, I wrote about above, I was stunned into the utter silence of awe that such a thing could happen to me of all people. I don’t remember hearing the rest of the song, nor even recall the rest of the journey to my sister’s new home. It felt like one moment, and we were driving into the small town where she lived with her husband and two children.
Because of a prompt to write an encoded message within a poem, I spent the last week immersed in Denver’s music for the first time in years. The resultant poem is a tribute to the man and his music and can be found here:
And because of all of that, I thought it was time to finally write this piece of my story. Rocky Mountain High was not one of the titles I used in the poem because I figured it would be a dead give away to the encoded message. However, this morning, when I decided to write out this story, I went looking for the lyrics to make sure I had remembered them correctly.
As I read through all of the words within the song, I had another one of those stilled moments. Although I do not live anywhere near the mountains, I have made it a prerequisite to go there and see them, travel through them, and actually had an encounter with a bald eagle the first time I did so. But, that is another story, or perhaps a poem.
As I read through all of the song lyrics, I felt a deep kinship with their author. Not so much his personal experiences, but the feelings those experiences created within him, and therefore within me. There is truth within them that I recognize as my own.
For instance, did you know that the direction West is a symbol for traveling into the future and the unknown? We were headed due West that morning when I flicked on the radio.
When he first came to the mountains his life was far away
On the road and hangin’ by a song
But the string’s already broken and he doesn’t really care
It keeps changin’ fast and it don’t last for long
I have a friend who chides me for the childlike awe I express whenever I experience a moment of synchronicity. That original ‘feeling’ of joy faded slowly over the coming months, but I feel its echo every time I experience one of those ah hah moments. It never grows old, and I still feel a deep need to honor the experience.
The rest of the song contains much more of the same. That isn’t the point of this essay. The real point is that this is where my true journey began, and has yet to be completed. The drive to explore and try to understand the very real magic that is buried inside the workings of every individual, especially this one.