‘I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky’

Dawn at Lily Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park. “Fire at Lily.” Copyright © 2018 Erik Stensland. Used with permission.

I came across this photo recently on Erik Stensland’s website. His gallery is in Estes Park, Colo., and he specializes in photographing Rocky Mountain National Park. There are many more equally spectacular photos on his website, Images of RMNP, and I guarantee time spent there won’t be wasted.

You probably recognized the title immediately. It’s a line from John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” and it came to mind instantly when I saw this photo. Colorado has two official state songs and “Rocky Mountain High” is one of them. The other, older one, “Where the Columbines Grow,” doesn’t even mention Colorado by name.

Contrary to speculation about a Rocky Mountain high referring to marijuana, Denver himself said that it referred to the emotional, spiritual high one gets from just being in the mountains. I prefer his explanation because that’s what the mountains do to me. A natural high. No pot required.

20 comments

    1. You’d be saying that a lot if you lived here. Something about this place — the dry air, the elevation, even the pollution — produces spectacular sunrises and sunsets on a regular basis. Of course, capturing them on film is quite another matter.

  1. I always believed John Denver’s highly emotional responses were never due to consumption of drugs. You just have to listen carefully to his music, to feel the full range of his genuine appreciation to the wonders he experienced naturally. Thanks, Pied.

  2. I guess those with MAS (mountain affected syndrome) understood which high he was talking about. Another fabulous photo – never a bad subject in CO skies
    (Where are all the wild fires? We get news about Durango, but the volcano grabs most of the news time)

    1. Three fires down around Durango, one in Summit County and one on western slope. Map: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dfpc/current-wildfires

      Pretty hazy around here due to the smoke, but it sure is making for gorgeous sunsets. Would you believe US Forest Service is keeping the supertanker (modified 747) on the ground in Colo. Springs and it probably won’t be put into service at all this year due to the lack of USFS permits or something. I’d take the damn thing, load it with slurry, and fly it anyway. Homes and lives are at stake and this invaluable resource is parked!

        1. It has something to do with when there’s a fire, control of the air space above it goes automatically to the Forest Service. I forget the ins and outs of the explanation I heard, but that tanker was commissioned last summer and has yet to be used!!

        2. Gads. Probably the same decision makers that decided it was wise to leave fallen brush/trees on the ground to deteriorate naturally….and make great dry underbrush fuel.
          Maybe they lost the keys/instruction manual and don’t want to admit it? Makes about as much sense.

        3. The Post is fighting for survival these days. I sympathize, but I hate it when readers I refer are blocked. A lot of places don’t block you if you are coming in via a link from another site.

        4. Even the Galveston paper has gotten blockie. I took the local Houston paper for a long time in support, but they fired most of their editors, real journalists, obviously their copy wasn’t being proofed by anyone and I finally couldn’t take the bad grammar, spelling errors, simple wrong words misused (to, too…), the cut and paste articles from elsewhere with cuts leaving incomplete sentences and info – the final straw was using the same (badly written article several times – on different days) Sigh.
          Went in from another computer for story. What a mess.

        5. My disillusionment with my chosen profession began years ago. It’s hard for me to believe that journalism schools and English classes still exist. Or if they do, that anyone is attending.

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