There really aren’t many things as beautiful as the Rocky Mountains in the autumn. The sky glitters pristinely blue, and the aspen leaves are a continual flutter. At present, the mountains don’t bear snow, but it’s certain to come soon.
It’s nearly the end of guest season here at the ranch, and as the world turns to gold and the staff return home for school and work, I find myself nostalgic. Amazed too at the work, sweat, tears, joy, and love how we’ve all poured into Latigo each day for all these months. It’s hard to think that so much time has passed and summer 2015 is over.
It’s been a delight to grab a cup of coffee and rest on the porch swing for a handful of moments this week. There’s been some time to breathe, and feel grateful, and think. Sometimes one just needs to sit, admire the view, and remember how very blessed we are.
While sitting with my coffee, I came to a conclusion I think I’ve known ever since I arrived, I’d just never articulated it to myself. That conclusion is: Latigo is more than just a place. It’s more than just a delightful view of dusky blue mountains, more than delicious food, and more than the rustle of aspen leaves. It’s more than a moment away from home in a lifetime of moments.
It’s more than all of that, and yet, what it is is almost undefinable.
Somehow, inexplicably, this place changes the people who find themselves here. Guests and staff alike leave their brands on the dining room walls, but in reality? The ranch does more branding of our hearts than we do branding of the pine, and the marks left upon us run far deeper than a simple burn on wood.
There are things to be gained here which can’t be found anywhere else on Earth. The staff has striven together toward one goal: a successful summer, and in the journey of nearly five months, we’ve faced challenges, heartaches, frustrations, setbacks, friendships, and joys. Sometimes the most challenging summers are also the best; my summer this year seemed to be full of troubles and frustrations, but also the renewal of deep, satisfying friendships. There’s something really comforting, too, in facing hard things with the wonderful ‘ranch family’. I’ve found there’s a lot to be won through their friendship, support, and love.
Here’s to a summer of growing, in the best place to grow: between those lovely mountains and an equally lovely summer job here at Latigo Ranch.