Tucked away in a corner of a park in Aspen, CO, is The John Denver Sanctuary. It is a meandering trail open to the public that is lined with huge boulders on either side as you walk it. On these rocks has been engraved lyrics from John Denver’s songs, and I went there in search of one particular song that has been most inspirational to me: The Eagle and the Hawk.
John Denver, like me, was an aviation nut. In his case, it was in his DNA. His father was the late Lt Col. Henry J. Deutschendorf who flew USAF jets and held aviation records flying a bat-out-0f-hell aircraft called the B-58 Hustler. This aircraft was known for extraordinary speed and high altitude and one of my favorite to daydream about when I was a kid.
Also like me, Denver was a pilot. He flew many different airplanes, though tragically, he lost his life flying one very similar to one I built and fly.
There were many people walking the path. Many were obvious Denver fans. I spotted several engraved boulders when finally I found it:
The Eagle and The Hawk
Oh, I am the eagle, I live in high country
In rocky cathedrals that reach to the sky.
I am the hawk and there’s blood on my feathers.
But time is still turning they soon will be dry.
And all of those who see me, all who believe in me
Share in the freedom I feel when I fly.
Come dance with the west wind and touch on the mountain tops,
Sail over the canyons and up to the stars,
And reach for the heavens and hope for the future,
And all that we can be and not what we are.
For me, no song before or since has conveyed the rapture I feel when I fly my own airplane. Obviously, John Denver’s own experience flying is what made this so compelling to me.
If you are a John Denver fan and want a pleasant way to literally wonder through his thoughts and music, then I recommend a trip here to The John Denver Sanctuary.