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I would have liked it if I had gotten the monument sharp, but the softness is pretty too.

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Monument Valley, Arizona.

Quote of the Day: “Like a flash of lightning between the clouds, we live in the flicker.” — Joseph Conrad

Daily gratitudes:
The amazingly beautiful smell of rain
Lightning poofing in the clouds
Makeshift meals that turn out delicious
A rare cool breeze
Cold Red Stripe

We had to turn around to go back to take a picture of this sign. MKL didn’t believe me when I told him what I had seen. I guess that’s common with UFOs.

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At an intersection of two roads in northern New Mexico.

Quote of the day: “Keep calm and don’t forget the whipped cream” — Quinn Loftis

Daily gratitudes:
The gorgeous green in our lovely State right now
A surprise drop-in by Kelsea
That my cooking is improving
Iced green tea especially on hot days
Josh the Barista

Please say a prayer tonight for young Dylan Redwine, missing since November, whose body was found by searchers this week. May his soul fly free.

We were blessed to have just about every kind of weather you can imagine (except snow) when we were here, and the view from our room was constantly changing. We had just gotten back from the 17-mile loop when a rain/sand storm strolled through.

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Monument Valley, Arizona.

Quote of the Day: “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” — Confucius

Daily gratitudes:
Iced green tea
The waitress who dumped the whole water pitcher on the firefighter’s table today
Sweeping
A coolish morning
Poetry

This was one of those amazing sights that we only saw because we wisely took a private tour with a wonderful Navajo guide (more about Wil Cowboy later), since it’s on protected tribal lands and not on the public road. We had a little extra excitement in the form of a runaway horse that had tossed off its rider. We lay on our backs and looked up through the hole to the sky, and listened to our guide sing. Awesome.

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Monument Valley, Arizona.

Quote of the day: “…There is the heat of Love, the pulsing rush of Longing, the lover’s whisper, irresistible—magic to make the sanest man go mad.” — Homer

Daily gratitudes:
Lunch with Julayne and Melinda
Waking up with MKL
Having Kelsea here tonight
Yellow roses
Talking things out

The annual Steamboat Springs Hot Air Balloon Rally is coming up next month, and I’m already looking forward to it. It means getting up super early, but it’s worth it. Although Kelsea might disagree. We do always enjoy trying to chase the balloons as they land in random places – it’s a fun game of hide and seek.

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Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back and reasons to stay.” — Dalai Lama XIV

Daily gratitudes:
Beauty
Spending time with Kelsea
A lazy morning with MKL
Cool air today
Louis the new chicken pillow
Trusting MKL enought to sing in front of him (after a tot of rum)

Except for one particular spot that I’ll share with you later, cedar trees are just about the only trees that can survive in Monument Valley.  Some are more famous than others, but I liked this one, which is one of the lesser-known cedars.

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Monument Valley, Arizona.

Quote of the day: “Take wrong turns. Talk to strangers. Open unmarked doors. And if you see a group of people in a field, go find out what they are doing. Do things without always knowing how they’ll turn out. You’re curious and smart and bored, and all you see is the choice between working hard and slacking off. There are so many adventures that you miss because you’re waiting to think of a plan. To find them, look for tiny interesting choices. And remember that you are always making up the future as you go.” — Randall Munroe

Daily gratitudes:
Cleaning up
Baths
My little bungalow
Encouraging Kelsea
The smiling deaf man on 16th Street

The 17-mile road that runs through the public areas of Monument Valley allows for numerous stops and lots of little trails that lead to lots of amazing views, like this one of an approaching storm from North Window. To access this view, you walk on a little two-person wide curving trail along the side of a steep mesa. We were fortunate enough to have this lovely spot to ourselves for about five minutes. As we headed back towards the parking area, numerous vehicles arrived and vomited up about 100 french tourists who all immediately headed for where we were. We barely edged by them. I think if they had all actually made it out on the trail, they would have filled it from one end to the other. Maybe they did…we didn’t stick around to see.

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Monument Valley, Arizona.

Quote of the day: “It seems that scientific research reaches deeper and deeper. But it also seems that more and more people, at least scientists, are beginning to realize that the spiritual factor is important. I say ‘spiritual’ without meaning any particular religion or faith, just simple warmhearted compassion, human affection, and gentleness. It is as if such warmhearted people are a bit more humble, a little bit more content.” — Dalai Lama XIV

Daily gratitudes:
A touch of thunder last night
Finishing a good book
Picking the next book
Missing someone you love
That some of the sparkles from my red shoes glitter in the hallways at work (days after I have worn them)

We had a wonderful long birthday weekend for MKL. One night in Glenwood Springs, two nights in Monument Valley, and a night at Lost Canyon Lake Lodge, with lots of driving and laughter. I’ll be sharing images from this amazing place over the next few weeks. Hope you enjoy!

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Monument Valley, Arizona.

Quote of the day: “Creativity arises from our ability to see things from many different angles.” — Keri Smith

Daily gratitudes:
Purple silk
MKL
Flowers from my daughter
Surprise meatloaf
Hugs

In between the mountains lie the valleys. Mother Nature, perhaps egged on by man (we don’t know yet), has thrown a tantrum and is burning our Black Forest, which is about 75 miles west of where this picture was taken. This shot was from last year; at this time last year, we were confronted with the vicious and seemingly relentless Waldo Canyon fire. Now we are facing that horror again. If you are not here, you might think “horror” is a rather strong word. You might feel a certain detached sympathy for what we’re experiencing here in Colorado. But as a now longtime resident, this is horrifying and tragic. It is painful to watch on the news, painful to know it is happening just down the highway. I hurt for the people who have lost their homes, and for those who are waiting to see if theirs will go up in flames. My heart breaks for the animals, wild and domesticated, who have fallen victim to fear and flames. This fire is a monster and it is not even close to giving up. Poor Colorado Springs has had enough in the last two years, and this is just the beginning of fire season. MKL and I had talked many times about looking for a house in Black Forest. After today, I am thinking again about living in the midst of the trees. Please include Colorado in your prayers tonight.

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Park County, Colorado.

Quote of the Day: “Gaze into the fire, into the clouds, and as soon as the inner voices begin to speak..surrender to them.” — Hermann Hesse

Daily gratitudes:
Prayers
Tea
MKL
Firefighters
Coloradoan’s generosity of spirit

Yes, this is the last thing one might expect to see driving through the brown flatness of the San Luis Valley. But here it was. A giant cast iron chicken (well, rooster). And in an interesting coincidence, we had been considering going to South Dakota to see a legendary giant cast iron rooster for Memorial Day, and wound up here for Memorial Day instead. It was fate, I tell you. Fate.

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Hooper, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “There’s something very freeing about losing the anchors that have always defined you. Frightening, sad, but exhilarating in a poignant way, as well. You’re free to float to the moon and evaporate or sink to the bottom of the deepest ocean. But you’re free to explore. Some people confuse that with drifting, I suppose. I like to think of it as growing.” — Deborah Smith

Daily gratitudes:
The “Cheese Louise” food truck that I passed on the road
Sushi with Kelsea
Warm breezes
Air conditioning
Cream lace
Prairie dogs safely crossing the road

P.S. Please include Colorado in your prayers tonight. Our wildfire season, so terrible last year, has started off with a great bang today. We have five fires burning in just one day.

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