Wake-Up Call: Best place to think about the Best of Denver

Yesterday morning, before heading to the office to finish up the Best of Denver 2009, our 25th anniversary celebration of this city, our annual orgy of niceness, I stopped for a moment at my favorite spot in Denver.

Denver got its start at the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek 150 years ago. Today, Confluence Park is a great modern park -- the closest Denver comes to a beach -- full of frolicking dogs, kids wading in the water, bums sleeping in the shade, running moms pushing strollers. And on a plaque to the side of one walkway are observations by Thomas Hornsby Ferril, the Denver poet whose rivers of words still run through this city. Here's what Ferril had to say:

Two rivers that were here before there was

a city still come together: one is a mountain

river flowing toward the mountains by

feeling them and turning back the way

some of the people who came here did.

Most of these people hardly seemed

to realize they wanted to be remembered

because the mountains told them not to die.

I wasn't here, yet I remember them, the first

night long ago, those wagon people who

pushed aside enough of the cottonwoods

to build our city where the blueness rested.

They were with us, they told me afterward

when I stood on a splintered wooden viaduct

before it changed to steel and I to a man, they

told me while I stared down at the water:

"If you stay we will not go away."

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