This past weekend my 10-year college reunion allowed us the chance to blow this pop stand and head back to the mountains, to Colorado Springs, CO, home of The Colorado College. Checking the weather before our trip we read about the chance of rain and snow and low temps and packed accordingly. We arrived Friday afternoon to clouds slowly burning off the mountains and a relatively dry landscape so we thought maybe we got lucky. That night the skies clouded over again and coated the Springs in moisture. That moisture froze to ice, and stayed for the duration of the long weekend. But that didn't matter much. We were back in the glorious Rockies, at the base of Colorado's front range, and it felt good.
We wanted to be close to campus so we didn't have to rent a car. That would prove to be a smart move as Saturday alone there were way too many car accidents to count between the Springs and Denver, about an hour and a half to the north, all due to the unexpected ice storm. We stayed at the exclusive Club EL only a few blocks from my freshman year dorm. Friday night we met up with my junior and senior year roommate, Bob Pokorney, his girlfriend Jody Peterman, my other long time partner in crime McB Smith McManus, her husband John, and we decided to ease into the weekend with dinner at Phantom Canyon downtown. As we expected the food and microbrews was as excellent as we had remembered. Following that we would head over to Jack Quinn's to meet up with the rest of the class of 1999. So it wasn't until Saturday morning that I finally got to show my love around the old stomping ground. It was sensational to be on campus again and see that much of it was unchanged. The fall color was starting, the students still an interesting intellectual bunch, the natural beauty still very much there, even though covered by a heavy quilt of grey.
From my perspective as a horticulturist I was loving to see how the trees around campus had grown over the ten years.
I was thrown right back in time, remembering and visualizing the amazing classes and art installations, campus events and their leaders, fun characters, and free thinkers. It was just a shame the clouds wouldn't let up.
There were things like hardscaping changes but for the most part it was the same ol' CC we know and love. Places like Bemis Hall...
...and McGregor down on the lower portion of campus.
Of course Shove Chapel was still grand and spiritual and centering.
Shove Chapel has a side space where I was allowed to make on of my best art installations to date. It was a summer block about ancient Mesoamerican religions with David Carrasco, a genius visiting professor, and preseason for my senior project, a cultural ethnography of the history and ritual behind Los Dias de los Muertos, the Mexican Days of the Dead. For my final I created a sacred alter space. An indigenous alter of my own design intentionally perched within the societies idea of sacred and spiritual space it was an homage to how we all search for our own center of the world. I was never able to record it in any way (photo, video, etc.) which is a shame because it was a great marriage of rough elements creating formal ritual and beauty, complete with green bananas and broken radiators.
Tons of new landscaping all over campus looked great, like these grasses and shrubs where the stairs to Packard Hall used to be, one of Bob and my favorite skate sights those years ago. Today of course I preferred the sweeping plantings and big swaths of color and texture.
The courtyard at Packard Hall
It was definitely a little icy everywhere you went.
Pennisetum Popsicles anyone? (forgive me, I couldn't help the bad horticultural humor. ...humor?!?)
One of the best new additions to campus was the Cornerstone Arts Center across from Packard. I foolishly didn't get shots of the interior, but the facility and design of the space are no doubt huge and necessary improvements for the Art Department. Not to mention the venue for our Saturday cocktail hour before the classic CC Homecoming Dance on Armstrong Quad, both ridiculously fun affairs.
Of course no trip to Colorado College would be complete without a meal at Wooglin's Deli. Felis femina waiting for our breakfast sandwiches of egg, cheese, bacon, and croissant, in other words, heaven.
Then it was on to the bookstore with the ol' gang to get geared up in true Tigers fashion. ...well, that and another excuse to be totally silly and geeky with my dearest old and new friends.
GO TIGERS! Hahahahaha!!!
This is us chilling outside Worner Center, literally! Jody Peterman, Bob Pokorney ('99), McB Smith McManus ('99), John McManus, and Krissy Dunkle. And at the Saturday lunch we got to catch up with Renee Mackey ('97) and her adorable kids, Keenan (pictured here) and Sienna.
We also got to meet one of the newest and cutest of the next generation, Paul Wilson and Shea's little cutie, Otis.
L. to R.: Julia Nelson ('00), Paul Wilson ('99), Dana Stone Harris ('99), Bob Pokorney ('99), Jody Peterman, Megan McDowell ('00), and yours truly, Alex Feleppa ('99) with Renee's little Sienna Mackey there in front.
Paul and Mister Otis bundled and ready to dash to the next event.
Sunday the Springs quieted down a bit, or at least the lovely leftist little bubble I called home for four fabulous years. So we decided to take a Tejon stroll. You see, Tejon is the street that goes south to downtown C. Springs straight south from the center of CC campus. Freshman year I would take a Tejon stroll every night, a nice long walk by the mountains side to end the day and wind down before the next day's adventure.
It was the best to be able to share this weekend with my fiancee and introduce her to another part of Colorado. This Episcopalian church at the intersection of Monument I always liked.
...and it's statuary.
As you can see the plantings were still a bit frozen.
I especially loved the frozen annual Geranium.
We went on to Jose Muldoon's downtown in honor of our friend Custom who couldn't make it to the reunion this year. The margaritas were superb, the food delish, and the Broncos won in overtime. Our mini vacation was amazing. And to top it all off Pikes Peak finally decided to show it's face Monday morning before we had to head out and back to the northeast.
Well, maybe the adventure of trying to get home wasn't necessarily "amazing", what with the hydraulic leak, absense of crew, delays, missing luggage, and 15+ hours stuck inside various airports and planes. But in the end we did finally get home, safe and sound, and eager to figure out our next trip to the mountains. Hmmm, maybe honeymoon!?!?