Naming Moonlight Ledge (or Elk Rock) in Evergreen, Colorado

I’m perched on Elk Rock—or Moonlight Ledge, depending on the position of the sun. We’d climbed the mountainside behind my dear friend’s hand-built cabin in Evergreen, Colorado, where a bookshelf hugs the ceiling of every room, a wool loom reclines in the corner, and curiosity and caring fill the rest. I’d just cut my hair and life had no ease except for this beautiful Western sanctuary. Evergreen is a picturesque town in the foothills of the Rockies. The kids felt adventurous running around the “hills” at night, and I felt fourteen again. Free. Lighthearted. Loving the hush of the pines. The night air. The winking stars and faint outline of the elk herd moving silently in the open field far below the rocky ledge. When I asked my friend’s son, Dawson, what the name of the rock was, he said it didn’t have one. He was a teenager at the time and our tour guide for the mountainside behind his home. “You can name it.” I knew it was a generous offer as I scanned the ledge and the hammock he’d screwed into the rock about fifteen feet below where I stood: a ledge below the ledge. So, I did. “Moonlight Ledge. Or, Elk Rock. Oh, I can’t decide.” Dawson smiled, “So name it both.” And, a breath of fresh air whooshed in my soul. I’ve never forgotten; it was dusk, and the elk grazed in the meadow far below Moonlight Ledge, as it was evening, circa 2005. I go back, and I go back, and I will go back over and over, because the Rockies capture me every time.

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