Friday, September 9, 2016

Lyons, CO: Tiny House Adventures, Art in New Places, and the Great Outdoors

Lyons, CO from Picture Rock Trail 
For those who haven't heard, I'm taking off on a road trip tomorrow and I'm pretty excited. And kind of scared and nervous (never done it), but I'm predicting- like any new thing that is both scary and exciting- it will be good.

Yesterday I left Estes Park and headed about 30 miles southeast to Lyons, CO, a cute, hippy-ish little town that I've been to a few times but hadn't really explored. And, there are two places here that I've been wanting to sell my art at: an artisan gift shop called Red Canyon Art, and a coffee shop called The Stone Cup. I made appointments yesterday and today to meet and show work to the owners, and I'm in at both of them!
My cards and necklaces at the Stone Cup coffee house in Lyons
I figured a long as I had to come down this way, I might as well stay a night: in a tiny house, of course. As luck would have it, Lyons is home to Colorado's first tiny house hotel (genius, right?). It's just that: a collection of tiny houses that people can rent and stay at, so that's what I did.

I think as I see more of the world and I place less value on having things and more value on having experiences, tiny living has gradually been an idea that's been growing in my mind, so this was a perfect way to experience one. It's funny what happens when we lose our sense of esteem from getting status, meaning, or validation from things or people in the world: the growth and change in the past few years of my life have left me with gradually decreasing desire at all for the things I once thought I really cared about (money, security, status, approval from other people, 'success' as it's societally perceived), and I really only want to pursue whatever things bring me closer to God, closer to myself, and closer to truly seeing others for who they are, for the rest of my life.
Flowers blooming in downtown Lyons
So that said, I enjoyed my tiny house stay very much. Another thing I've noticed about myself as I get older, and come into my authenticity more and more, is that I have little care for another thing I once cared a lot about: dressing well. Or putting an excess amount of energy and effort into things like doing my makeup, or doing my hair, or buying lots of clothing that suggests I even have a sense of personal style. 

Which sounds funny, but it's really true. We put a lot of weight in general as a society in appearance, and- especially working in retail since I was old enough to work- I had always internalized the idea that fashion was important. Don't get me wrong: I work at Anthropologie, so when I say I seriously love creative fashion and stylistic visuals, I do mean it. And I've always loved the creative, expressive side of dressing: for me it's a fun extension of some part of my personality.

But I think because I no longer hold the same inner desire for things or material objects, that means I have loosened the mental and emotional grip on my appearance always looking 'composed' or perfect- all the time. Basically, when it's time to dress 'up,' I like to; but generally speaking, every day, my mentality has become more focused on functionality than appearance. 

I like to think if need be I can throw a fine outfit together- but given some changes in my lifestyle in recent years, 'need be' isn't as often as it used to be.
My tiny house for the night
Which is probably a mentality connected to why I like tiny homes. They are very adorable and quaint and charming, but the ultimate point in having one is their function- they're efficient, minimalist, and sort of force you to think about your lifestyle: the things you bring in from the outside, and whether or not those things are compatible with a simpler, more pure, more enriching way of life. Sort of like what you let into the space of your mind and heart as well. An intentional space makes you think about the essence of things, not the excess.

And since at this point in my life I'm disinclined to buy a lot stuff, and I get more joy out of creating art or projects than I do from things like decorating a home or remodeling a room, and I'm not in need of much more clothing, and the natural world appeals more to me than a man-made one, I really enjoyed my stay. The house I picked wasn't even 200 square feet, but it had a little porch outside and lots of windows, which is what I liked. With everything opened up, it was kind of like being in a little glass box where inside and outside were one.
The house from the back porch
It was a great way just to see how living in a small space would feel. I'm a neat, organized person but a messy artist, and in my own home I'd want a sufficient amount of work space. This tiny house only had a couch, so there wasn't anywhere for a desk, say, or even a kitchen table. The shower was a wet bath (the 'bathroom' is just a few-foot by few-foot room with a toilet and shower head in it, that's it), and there was a hotplate to heat water and cook, but no stove or oven. 

So it was beautifully minimalist for a night, and I couldn't complain about reading and doing some yoga on that beautiful deck, but in terms of livability it gave me some good ideas as to what I would need for a functional space in the future. (I like to cook, and take an actual bath every once in a while too; and truth be told a dip in the river with my Dr. Bronner's after a run last night was my 'shower' for today).
Inside the tiny house
St. Vrain Creek runs through town and behind the tiny house hotel
Since my tiny house didn't lend itself too well to cooking, dinner was a beer and burger at Oskar Blues microbrewery, and breakfast this morning was served up at my meeting at the Stone Cup coffee house. I went for a little run afterward through Heil Valley Ranch, a beautiful open space with great views of Lyons and a network of several trails.  

This time tomorrow I'll be in Moab, Utah, and it's just crazy to think about leaving the beautiful place that is Colorado- for now anyway. It's been real and amazing and nothing short of awe-inspiring. There's nothing like going to a place that continually wakes you up to the idea of living life fully, seeing all there is to see, and not stopping.


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