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You are sitting there, quietly, when suddenly, you know. Death is at your shoulder. Again. All of his other visits swirl through your memory. Why is he a he? I have always thought of death as a male, and birth as female. The female part, I understand. But the male part is a mystery. He has yet to make a claim, but he is there, waiting. Animal or human, death is the same. In the long run, the hurt is the same. The loss is the same. A sensitive soul like me, or a pragmatic soul, like my ex, still feels the ache. The new/old soul like our daughter feels it all the more, because she is far away, and may not get a chance to say goodbye.

Champ’s age is debatable, but that he was adopted as Kelsea’s dog is indisputable. That he is preparing to depart is also without question. I sat for hours on the floor of the vet’s office with him laying between and against my legs, snoring gently and chasing things in his dreams. I know he will be free of the burden of his body over the Bridge, and that he will be waiting there for us. I have shared similar sentiments with three friends who have lost fur family in the last few weeks. It’s no comfort. There is no comfort. I so wish there was.

The feeling of grief before a death is, some might say, premature. But I know it to be very real , and inescapable. Once Death is in the room, there is nothing I can do but sit beside him, in uncomfortable silence, and wait.

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Boulder, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Dogs are always good and full of selfless love. They are undiluted vessels of joy who never, ever deserve anything bad that happens to them.” — Steven Rowley

Daily gratitudes:
A good vet
Clouds
Getting along with your ex
Video calls
The mixed blessing of feelings

 

The only thing better than baby goats snuggling each other is me snuggling baby goats. We have photographic documentation of that somewhere, courtesy of MKL.

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Berthoud, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” — George Orwell

Daily gratitudes:
Distant thunder
Clean dishes
Snuggly Mr. Man
My Peak Challenge
My new weight bench

 

But not as happy as me doing Goat Yoga on a beautiful Sunday morning.

Happy Goat
Berthoud, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “I want to go about like the light-footed goats.” — Johanna Spyri

Daily gratitudes:
The long-haired german shepherd playing in the dancing waters at Union Station
Sore muscles
Smoked oysters
That the view from my bedroom makes me feel like I’m deep in a forest
Baby’s breath on the bookcase

This fellow was definitely the most regal and superb of the herd. And many thanks to reader Emily Jane for confirming that they are as I had expected – curious and (mostly) friendly. I’ve only ever encountered them as rodeo bulls, and in that role, they are rank! I love them anyway.

The Golden BrahmaGuanacaste Province, Costa Rica.

Quote of the day: “Give a bull grass, sweet water and a willing heifer and he is happy. But a man is never content. If no gadflies of worry exist he will invent them.” — Alison Fell

Daily Gratitudes:
The mountains
Trees blooming
Walking through the empty fountain in the plaza
The howls of coyotes at night
The first green of spring

 

 

 

This couple was as interested in us as we were in them. They approached cautiously and got as close to us as they could, considering we were separated by a fence. Which was probably for the best.

A Floppy Eared Spy
Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

Quote of the Day: ““To my mind, the only possible pet is a cow. Cows love you. They will listen to your problems and never ask a thing in return. They will be your friends forever.” — Bill Bryson

Daily Gratitudes:
Snow-capped mountains on sunny days
Advice from my beloved MKL – if only I’d take it
Sore muscles
Postcards in protest
Seeing pictures of Seattle and knowing Kelsea is somewhere beyond the hills

 

 

The roads in Guanacaste are seemingly all red dirt, with steep hills…the kind of hills that, when you get to the top, you have no idea what’s going to be on the downhill. Sort of like what I’d imagine a roller coaster is like, never having been on one. They are lovely and dusty, endless and adventuresome. My favorite kind of road. The sea would creep into view from time to time, just to let us know it was close by, and the landscape alternated between sugar cane crops, savannah grasslands, and grazing fields edged by large hills. We had to take it fairly slow because of the hills and limited visibility. We never knew if we were going to encounter people, dogs, iguanas, stopped vehicles, small rivers, or roadblocks like this lovely shadow-splattered lady. She wasn’t the slightest bit startled by us, and just took her time strolling across the road, after giving us a level stare.

A Dainty Roadblock

Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica.

Quote of the day: “A painting is more than the sum of its parts,’ he would tell me, and then go on to explain how the cow by itself is just a cow, and the meadow by itself is just grass and flowers, and the sun peeking through the trees is just a beam of light, but put them all together and you’ve got magic.” —  Wendelin Van Draanen

Daily gratitudes:
Feeling better (but trying not to start running at 1000%)
A talk with Kelsea and Rachel
Sleeping with the windows open
Tea
Having the ability to travel

 

Well, not exactly, but the blues are singing a song of me today, and kitties always seem to help, whether it is images on a screen, or the real thing sitting on my heart. Mr. Man does have a tendency to lay on whatever part of me isn’t feeling up to snuff. He’s a wise healing kitty. It was a lovely Thanksgiving, and I hope you all enjoyed it or at least kept family disputes to a minimum. I know it can be a tense time, especially this year.

For me now, we enter into a strange chrysalis-like phase that often lasts from after Thanksgiving until after the anniversary of my Mother’s passing. It will be ten years this year, and seems like yesterday sometimes. Two friends have lost a parent in the last week, and my heart goes out to them. It alters the character of the holidays when a loss is associated with days that the rest of the world associates with a certain celebration.

So for now, kitties.

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Littleton, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” — Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Daily gratitudes:
A lovely day
A lovely yesterday with MKL
A Downton Abbey marathon
A long talk with Kelsea
The East Simpson Coffee Shop

A warm memory of an autumn Saturday. We have drifted into snow and cold and wind, and I am happy to remember a peaceful day.

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Hygiene, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “It is in the turmoil of chaos that we discover what, if anything, we are.” — Orson Scott Card

Daily gratitudes:
Blue skies
Clean dishes
Prayers of friends
Cozy couches
Good walks

 

Because it’s always important to know where your yaks are.

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Denver, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “The creatures that inhabit this earth–be they human beings or animals–are here to contribute, each in its own particular way, to the beauty and prosperity of the world.” — Dalai Lama XIV

Daily gratitudes:
Shipping finished work
MKL
Near beer
A soft gray day

Why? Because some days just call for alpacas. Nothing else will do.

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Denver, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “The Llama is a woolly sort of fleecy hairy goat, with an indolent expression and an undulating throat; like an unsuccessful literary man.” — Hilaire Beloc

Daily gratitudes:
Joy’s graduation
Talks with Nina
That Kelsea’s team did well today
Art Buchwald’s baked potato
Storm clouds

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