In all the years we came out here, I never made it to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. The kids wanted to go, though, so we spent the day there yesterday. Built on the side of a mountain, it is not as big as other zoos I have been to, but it is thoughtfully laid out and has an impressive array of animals.
The main reason I never went to this zoo when I was a kid was that if we were headed to that side of Colorado Springs, it was to go to the alpine slide at the old Ski Broadmoor. My parents would buy me a day pass and I would spend the entire day riding the chairlift up the mountain and then sledding down.
The Broadmoor closed the slide in the late 1980s and eventually sold the ski area to the city of Colorado Springs in the early 1990s. Like nearly everything else, the land was eventually sold off to developers and is now mostly covered by houses.
As we wandered the zoo, I found myself looking up the mountain at the familiar views and thinking back to my childhood. At the risk of waxing poetic, I found it to be a strange sense of walking in two separate worlds at the same time—one the real-time, practical realm of being at the zoo with my kids, with its calculations of how long it has been since they last ate and do they need a snack before things start going downhill; the other this hazy overlay of memory, the details of which swirl in and out of focus.
Proust did all this much better than I, of course.