This Shadowcliff love story is written by Karen Bigelow about her and her husband, David Grossman, and their Shadowcliff experiences over the years.
I am both an avid traveler and outdoors person. When traveling overseas, youth hostels provided a welcome, temporary home; but in the US, a tent was home. One day, while camping in RMNP, a torrential rainstorm caused the tent to become unusable and my dog-eared HI-USA book, indicated there was a hostel in Grand Lake. Looking like a drowned rat, I was welcomed into the warmth of Rempel Lodge. At Shadowcliff, I found the intersection of travel and outdoors; international and home; zimzum and family.
Zimzum is the concept of an energy field that encircles two entities and provides a fertile ground for them to thrive. One side contracts their needs temporarily to provide space for their partner to grow. The circle grows and contracts, as needs and opportunities arise and as people come and go. I think zimzum is a good name for the magic of Shadowcliff. It is certainly an energy field that gives and receives, and encourages each of us to grow – or as the tagline says: Inspire the journey.
A worry when introducing your boyfriend to your friends and family is the dreaded “first impression”. I was 45 years old, my parents were deceased, and siblings lived far away. I brought David “home” to my Shadowcliff family. I watched his eyes the first time he walked into Rempel, would he get it? He was quiet for a few moments… taking in the great room, the fireplace blazing, the art on the walls and the view over the lake. I held my breath until I saw his jaw drop, and he just said WOW! He was hooked, and so was I.
Growing & Sharing
Over the next years David and I created space for each other to thrive. It included Shadowcliff, as volunteers, as guests, as a place that inspired our journey. It expanded, of course, to include the kids and grandkids, introducing them to the magic. David and I were married on The Point in 2004 – in a 30-minute wedding and a 5-day reception. Shadowcliff is the place where memories are created.
Ten years later, we were asked to spend a season as managers. We were lucky to experience the zimzum of Shadowcliff as only a few predecessors have. We experienced it in early season, when it receives so much love from volunteers and excitement from new staff members preparing it for long and busy days. During high season, we experienced guests that have traveled here for many years, and people who come upon us for the first time. Many guests comment on the energy they feel, and tell stories of being nurtured here. The great room is filled with conversations and laughter. Finally, we readied for the lodge to have another winter season, before spring arrives and the zimzum begins anew.
David and Karen served as Operational Managers for Shadowcliff in 2014. Karen has spent over 20 years in many operational capacities; and David fell in love on his first visit nearly 13 years ago. Shadowcliff is part of their heart – they were married here in 2004. David and Karen are both retired, and enjoy the moniker of “full time travelers,” either in their RV or somewhere experiencing the wonders of the world. They have three kids and six grandchildren.