Walking into this rail car at the Colorado Railroad Museum was like stepping into a home from the past. I come from a line of men with a love for the rails. My great-grandfather’s journal from when he criss-crossed the country time and again as a very young man working on different rail lines in the early 1900s is one of my treasured possessions and provides a glimpse into a time that has faded into the last century and a man I never met, but whom I’ve always considered my guardian angel. And now I’m married to a man who has always loved railroads. I think my grandfather would approve.

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Golden, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “…some hours later they were down
at the railroad tracks
standing close together by the switch lights. The huge night moved overhead
scattering drops of itself.” — Anne Carson

Daily gratitudes:
A day with only a few tears
Dogs
Scents that spark memories
Cloudless days
MKL
A tidier yard
Messaging with Kelsea

Yes, I do mean encroaching. Encroaching on the richness of summer and the bright days that stretch into soft, long evenings with nine o’clock sunsets. It was a shock today to leave Job #2 at 8:15 and have it be dark. Over the weekend, we did get into the mountains for a quick overnight in Cripple Creek with an interesting side dish of a ghost hunt at the Cripple Creek Jail Museum, which I’ll share more about once I’ve gotten my thoughts in order and it’s not so late in the evening.

Here’s a simple, rather abstract image that feels to me like it captures the essence of fall. (Kudos to anyone who can discern what this image is and how it was taken.) Let’s hope we have a gentle fall into winter here in Colorado.

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Buena Vista, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “But when fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.” — Stephen King

Daily gratitudes:
The woman pushing her two yorkies in a double stroller
The split of political views in the office
Easing of the spiritual stress
MKL
Being more organized

I don’t talk a lot about being an empath. Partly because it’s a complicated thing. It’s also a pretty private thing. And these days, it has entered into popular culture enough that it can be easily dismissed by those who don’t share this quasi-gift, and easily adopted by those who are struggling to belong, to attach a cool label to themselves, or to understand their own feelings. I don’t diminish those people and their needs, but I do not know if their experience is the same as my own….though that could be said of everyone.

This week has been an eye-opening one for me with regard to this component of myself. Being an empath is something different from being empathetic or highly sensitive, or even empathic. I’ve been led to the realization that it is not something I can ignore at times of global collective distress – or anniversaries like September 11. It took the universe dropping a heavy veil over my body and spirit for me to see that this gift, this calling, this ability to wend my way between worlds and realms, is something precious and needed. I am a path through the veil for silent acknowledgement and connection for those beyond. Being a channel, a vessel, is part of the reason for my being here, on this earth, at this time. And the divinely given art of dancing across levels of existence is something I need – and want – to practice.

I judge my own words through the eyes of others. So, to head you off at the pass, I’m not high or crazy or a hippie. I’m a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend, a cousin, an aunt, a homeowner, a writer, and I work three jobs to put my daughter through college without (fingers crossed) student loans. I’m the picture of responsibility. I pay my bills on time. I don’t wear make-up, except eyeliner as my work disguise. I don’t color and style my hair. I like jeans and yoga pants and dressing up and thrift stores. I like tuna salad sandwiches (warm, with cheddar, mustard, and hot peppers), rib-eye steaks, and butter pecan ice cream. I like Appalachian music and opera. I love flowers and mountains and especially the sea. I love to travel. I help tourists in Denver when they look lost, and like to smile at strangers, especially, these days, women in hijabs, because when they see the smile in my eyes, their eyes smile back and I can tell they feel welcome and trusted and a little bit safer. I’m not stunning, I’m not unusual. I don’t have any piercings or tattoos, because my mother drilled into me at an early age that there’s no sense in poking holes in yourself for the sake of fashion (and she was right) and the only thing I would ever like to have indelibly inked on my skin are the latitude and longitude of my favorite places on earth, perhaps as anklets or bracelets, but not now. Maybe someday, when I’m older.

If you were to see me walking from Union Station to my office in the morning, you probably wouldn’t give me a second glance. But at a glance, I can feel so much about you, and you’ll never know that. I can sometimes turn it off, but not this week. This week there were so many souls who wanted their energy and their words resurrected into the consciousness of now for just a few moments, and needed me to be a silent channel for them. And so, while it took me a few days to figure it out, I did. And we are all, for now, somewhat soothed.

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Some beautiful beach, some beautiful where between worlds.

Quote of the day: “People underestimate the stars and the connectedness they bring between spirit and matter. More often than not, when lost, we seek solitude in staring into the darkness hoping something speaks back to us, usually through a feeling, a thought or a rare occurrence of a shooting star.” — Nikki Rowe

Daily gratitudes:
That my cricket has moved to the kitchen
A clean bedroom
That MKL loves me regardless
Truck stop coffee
That Kelsea called me from the grocery store, asking about spices for what I have taught her to be her “signature dish” to cook

Not only mine, but tonight, the spirit of a dear friend. Do you think that as we age, our beliefs evolve just as our bodies and minds? As a teenager, I was firmly established in my own personal concept of faith, which encompassed many non-traditional beliefs, and which indeed still does. But lately, more and more, I have turned to words from the Bible and the strength of my friends who are so very firm in their faith that it is inspiring. I feel my spiritual perspective is expanding and compressing at the same time. Perhaps it is focusing in on something that is truly endless, and I am working at coming to terms with that seeming contradiction. I find prayer and God (or use whatever term you will) in the sky and the trees and the rocks and the sea. I look up during prayer, instead of down, with open eyes as if to catch the eye of God. I am reading the Bible and Anne Lamott at the same time. I am looking, not for answers, but for a deeper understanding of purpose, action, and what we can and cannot control. Are we indeed all grains of sand on a beach that God loves, forming into shells that house our bodies, and stones that reflect the clarity of light here and now, only to transform again into air and foam and and whatever form we will take next? Do we not even have the capacity to answer these questions to our own satisfaction – and is that in itself called faith?

the-heart-of-the-stoneTopsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: ““if you are writing the clearest, truest words you can find and doing the best you can to understand and communicate, this will shine on paper like its own little lighthouse. Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” — Anne Lamott

Daily gratitudes:
Our own form of prayers
MKL
Mr. Man
The easing of the migraine
The cricket in my bedroom

But it does continue to revolve at its own pace, doesn’t it?  I’ve missed you. I hope I’m back now.

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Denver, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. ” —  Jon Krakauer

Daily gratitudes:
MKL, always
Motion
Rainstorms
Mr. Man
A call from Kelsea

 

She’s almost 20 now, but the sentiments still hold true.

Seasweetie's Pages

I love having a child. Granted, she is not a child anymore – she is almost 17. Wow.

I guess I need to stop saying that I’m trying to lose the baby weight.

Here are some of the wonderful things about being a mother:

1. Getting to know the amazing person who is my daughter. I’m so glad her little soul chose me.
2. The idea that I made this person out of a seed is remarkable. She’s the best thing I ever made. Even better than my eggplant parmesan.
3. She has taught me more about what’s important in this world than almost anyone I have ever met.
4. Through her, I have remembered what it is like to be a child.

There are lots more things I could say, but it’s that last one that I want to focus on. When I was on a walk yesterday, I…

View original post 489 more words

Or it will be soon. Looking forward to going home.

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Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “I am one of the searchers. There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life, hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand. We like to walk along the beach, we are drawn by the ocean, taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mystery and unspeakable beauty.” — James Kavanaugh

Daily gratitudes:
Dragonflies
Katie Ledecky
Friendly chalkboards by front doors
Hot air balloons this morning
Perfectly dried roses

I sometimes think that all works of art are born somehow of fire. Words burn in a writer’s brain, unforgiving until they can spill upon page. Motion burns from the core of a dancer’s muscles. Paintings are licks of flame risen from a spirit through a brush to a canvas. Even in photography, there is a burning peaceful need to capture what is seen by one set of eyes into something that can be seen by others, a sharing of the embers of the photographer’s vision. The center of the earth that we walk on each day is made of fire, and it passes through layers of rock and soil and the skin of the soles of our feet to the center of the souls of our being, and must be expressed somehow.

In this sculpture studio, we found the purest expression of the creative fire, molten iron casually poured by men protected from its destructive power, men looking like creatures from the center of the earth themselves, men who controlled the flow of creativity, channeling it into molds and frames, containing it, shaping it, melding with it, as it fashioned itself through the sculptors hands into art, cold to the touch but still retaining that fire within. As we all do.

It reminded me that art can be dirty and primal and beautiful, full of heat and passion and practicality all at the same time, blending hotly and gently to create an artist’s ever-imperfect vision, for imperfection is the nature of art as viewed by the artist, and what makes them strive to improve always, trying to touch that fiery core with their bare hands, capture it, rejoice in it, and share it.

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Shidoni, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Quote of the day: “I used to know a sculptor… He always said that if you looked hard enough, you could see where each person carried his soul in his body. It sounds crazy, but when you saw his sculptures, it made sense. I think the same is true with those we love… Our bodies carry our memories of them, in our muscles, in our skin, in our bones. My children are right here.” She pointed to the inside curve of her elbow. “Where I held them when they were babies. Even if there comes a time when I don’t know who they are anymore. I believe I will feel them here.” — Erica Bauermeister

Daily gratitudes:
Brief flashes of clarity
Some time with Kelsea
Realizing creative necessities
Water
Beach time soon come

Sometimes, it’s hard to tell, especially when depression shadows you, constantly grabbing for your hand to hold you back. Even when I know the things I need to do to come out from a bout, I sabotage myself by not doing them. Sigh.

IMG_8419Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Quote of the day: “When you’re lost in those woods, it sometimes takes you a while to realize that you are lost. For the longest time, you can convince yourself that you’ve just wandered off the path, that you’ll find your way back to the trailhead any moment now. Then night falls again and again, and you still have no idea where you are, and it’s time to admit that you have bewildered yourself so far off the path that you don’t even know from which direction the sun rises anymore.” — Elizabeth Gilbert

Daily gratitudes:
Rabbits
Clean dishes
An empty drawer
Birds flying in formation
The Olympics

Save

I don’t know if this means it’s a sale on Big Jesuses or if it’s a big sale that encompasses all Jesuses, but either way the sign struck my fancy. I mean, you can’t buy Jesus. He’s way too ethical for that. I don’t actually recall even seeing any Jesuses at this interesting and chock-full shop that popped up on the other edge of Cerrillos Road from Jackalope, which it is trying to resemble. It was worth a stop on the way out of town.

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Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Quote of the day: “I thought such awful thoughts that I cannot even say them out loud because they would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of the cat dish.” — Anne Lamott

Daily gratitudes:
The light smell of rain
A peek-a-boo sunset
Shared experiences
Good books
Clean sheets

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