A Letter to the Rocky Mountain "High" State

Dear Colorado:

I’ve lived inside your borders since before I started to walk.  I’ve called various cities, towns and suburbs my home, from the Front Range to the Western Slope. I’ve cheered on bad-ass bull-riders at the Greeley Independence stampede, donned my country-best (which isn’t much but still…) at Grand Junction’s “Country Jam,” studied in our most "liberal" of arts college, and I faithfully purchase my Epic Ski pass every year.

Admittedly, I’ve never actually climbed one of your 50-some-odd 14,000 foot mountains, but for all intents and purposes I feel like I know you... or at least I thought I did.  

But now I’m not so sure.

The other day I opened my email and looked forward to reading my “Daily Skimm.”  (For those of you that haven’t heard of the best new weekday injection of worldwide news highlights - I highly recommend you check it out!)  I, for one, now feel at least semi-informed.  Perhaps only enough to be dangerous, but I suppose that’s something.

Anyway, I opened my dose of Daily Skimm and noticed a paragraph towards the bottom called, “Skimm the Vote.”  This section exhorted those of us who live in certain states hosting mid-term elections to make sure we registered to vote because it was the last day to do so.  (Rest assured, I am registered so no harm no foul there.)  

I noticed my home state listed among the ranks.  I clicked on the link.  No time like the present to get even more informed, I figured. I’ll take all the help I can get.

I scrolled down the list to the information pertinent to my place of residence and did a double take.  The symbol associated with our beautiful state stopped me dead in my tracks.  

All the other states on the list boasted iconic symbols that represent the best (or at least most cliche) associations their state has to offer.  For example:  Georgia was depicted by a peach, Kentucky - a jockey on a horse, Arizona - a cactus, Arkansas - a banjo, Florida - an orange, Iowa - corn on the cob…. You get the idea.  

But not you, Colorado.  Nope.  No Pikes Peak or Columbine flower.  You are indeed synonymous with nature, but not the kind one might think.  The au-natural of which I speak is not a changing aspen leaf, but a marijuana leaf!  We’re talking - Weed. Pot. MMJ.  

Whatever you want to call it, it seems we are now considered less “Rocky Mountain” and more “High.”

I’m not sure how to process that.  A state I have loved since my youth, a state rich with natural beauty is now getting rich on proceeds from legal drug purchases.  Late night talk show hosts are falling all over themselves with marijuana jokes for their opening monologue.  The young and the restless used to move here to become ski bums and figure out what they want to do with the rest of their lives.  Now, they move here because they can smoke in public and, oh by the way, they can hit the slopes too. 

I find myself being protective of you and making excuses for you.  I feel like I need to fight just a little harder to protect your reputation around the rest of the 49 states.  But with a tagline like, “high stakes in a high state” you’re not making that too easy.

Love ya.  I really do.  But honestly.  Sometimes I don't know what to do with you.