An unexpected morning of particularly gratifying photography...To begin with, this is very unusual weather for Colorado. On the East Coast, this would be nothing special. But here, it's like a unicorn or an jaguar. Just not something you see every day.
As a result, a day like this in Denver foreshadows pure magic.
Let me take a step back and tell you about how I have always loved the Lodo trainyards. Long before my husband and I relocated to Denver from the mountains, a friend and I drove down the passes to attend a particularly glittering sunset gala at one of the new penthouse apartments overlooking the trainyards, and the city, with astonishing views. I was instantly in love.
My husband (then my boyfriend) was born in Denver and had recounted to me his days of running through the deserted trainyards during his college years.
So the trainyards had a certain secondhand mystique for me before I ever lived here myself. That mystique has never worn off. I still love to listen to the lonely call of the trains echoing through our neighborhood at night in the winter, when the falling snow creates a sound inversion.
So needless to say, the trainyards on a foggy October morning were an exceptional moment for me.
Q and I ended up down here on this particularly rare morning by sheer happenstance. Normally, we would have been holed up at home on a grey autumn morning. But on this morning we were meant to meet my husband's family down at the far south end of the city for a pumpkin patch visit at one of the historical farms. Due to the threatening weather, the family decided against the pumpkin patch. Since I was attempting to give my husband a quiet morning at home to study for his midterms, Q and I made the executive decision to spend some quality time wandering the streets of Lodo.
While the morning was magical for me, it was even moreso for Q, whose first time it was exploring this particular part of town. The trainyards are a kind of sea wall between the sloping, tree-shaded, garden-strewn heights of old North Denver (our part of town) and the starker, more cosmopolitan streets of downtown Denver. The multiple tracks and the narrow wasteland that attends them form a sort of canyon or stark river, crowded but never entirely encroached-upon by the chic, modern lofts that border them to the north and south.
I am inevitably reminded of Fitzgerald's "valley of ashes" that bisects the island of Manhattan from the luxe lawns of Long Island's elite.
Our trainyards are not nearly as gritty, of course. The lofts that have grown up around them have necessitated a certain cleanliness and order. But there is still that dichotomy, that mythical borderland that traintracks have always evinced.
Shadows through fog, captured at just the right moment, can be preternatural.
Union station, the hub of Denver's train culture, and the origin of the famous "ski train" that transports skiers to the Winter Park ski area. If you walk through here in winter, just after dusk, you will witness the surreal sight of youngsters in full ski gear and city boots, skies cantilevered over their shoulders, dismounting the trains and clumping, weary but happy, into downtown Denver.
The beginning of the 16th St. pedestrian mall, a ghost town early on a Wednesday morning.
While we were wandering, Q spotted a garbage truck making its morning rounds, and was instantly entranced. She wanted me to follow it in my car, which - I'm embarrassed to say - I did. When we lost it, I had to console her with the promise of a trip to the Tattered Cover bookstore to find a book about trucks.
Wynkoop Street tiles.
Q playing out some sort of imaginary twister game involving the demarcations on the cement.
The chilly but elegant woman in the last frame, her two greyhounds clad in shearling coats, looked Q and I haughtily up and down from head to toe and then declared, with just the ghost of a smile, "Great boots!" before proceeding on her solitary way. I sincerely hope she lives in that penthouse where I once attended the gala. If so, I wish her great joys of those stark and stunning views.
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