Finding perspective

Amy McConnell

On our last full day, a small group of us hiked up to some basalt formations for one final look at the landscape. "These dried-up lava flows are the result of an ancient eruption of a major volcano," Chip told us as we gazed upward. "You're looking at a remnant of what I like to call 'deep time.' It's almost too ancient to comprehend."

In retrospect, "deep time" strikes me as an apt summation of the Vista Clara Ranch experience. Time is the most valuable commodity these days, and meaningful time is all the more so. It's not that there are fewer hours in the day; the problem is that so much of our time is spent racing around breathlessly. What I loved about Vista Clara was the way it programmed both my mother and me to succumb to a slower, more deliberate rhythm―a rhythm that suffused everything from the morning yoga classes to the leisurely (and beautifully presented) meals to the conversations we had first thing in the morning and last thing before bed.

That evening, my mom and I sat on the porch of our room, watching the sky go from orange to rose as the sun sank below the Sangre de Cristos. My mother said she felt as if we'd been gone for a long time, even though it had only been four days, and I had to agree. Though Vista Clara hadn't left us looking particularly buffed, toned, or glamorous, it had given us a rare taste of what it feels like to savor four days of quality time together. And I knew that no matter how busy we would both be once we got home, we would remember what it felt like to be in tune with ourselves and each other, and the way the wide open sky put everything else in perspective.