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Daily gratitudes:
Horses neck high in the tall grass
Nice bank tellers
A new rum
Catfish
Self-control

They stayed for quite a while. They’ll be first in line when I figure out where (and how) to set up the salt lick.

Daily gratitudes:
Thunder
Mornings that were made for snuggling under blankets
Outsmarting the smoke detectors
Long baths
Fending off the blues with practical activities

I emerged from the Retreat today to go to the market and the post office. As small a town as we are, we do have a fine post office. And I discovered that Monday is THE time to go to the market. They only seem to stock fresh produce once a week and today’s the day. I was not subjected to the combative little old ladies who would not hesitate to break your ribs to get their hands on a good head of lettuce in the market in Georgetown, Bahamas, but had I gone later in the day, hand-to-hand combat with Valley moms might have been required.

The clouds today were all astir. From the cotton balls poofing above the Retreat, to the mare’s tales swishing above Linger Longer Lane, to the rolling waves at the edges of the Frontier Scenic Byway, they were a melting pot of weather portents all swirling together. My Mother loved clouds…she would have loved today. By sunset, the clouds had all settled into a gray stew (how unromantic) as if all of today’s activity had exhausted them. Now it is night. Now, they sleep.

Daily gratitudes:
Black squirrels
Meeting a neighbor
New tires for Truck
Experimental cooking
That my lungs are starting to acclimate to 7200 feet

It’s a far cry from sweet Anna’s gorgeous shots at Bear Lake (one of my favorite RMNP hikes) but it is my first indication of Fall in these little acres at the foot of the Wet Mountains. The aspen tree outside the kitchen window is as resistant to Winter as I am. But Fall, now, Fall is another story. My favorite season used to be Summer. Warm, sunny, beautiful thunderstorms, travel. Summer even in Colorado now is too hot and too dry. I’m more comfortable in North Carolina summers — perhaps the born-and-raised-there quality emerges when I’m back home — even with their extreme heat and humidity.

Spring here is temperamental (by the way, who knew that temperamental had an “a” in it? Not me, until just now.). These last few years, Spring has been full of false hope, vanished mountains, broken branches, and back-aching snow shoveling escapades. That said, I now consider it my favorite season. I love watching green emerge from stark brown and white, and the promise of newness that is always fulfilled. Fall comes in a close second. It becomes just crisp enough to leave the bedroom windows open wide and to feel comfortable snuggling under the covers in the morning. Having it be sufficiently cold for me is bliss, although my “sufficiently cold” is MKL’s “absolutely freezing”. And there’s a huge selection of apples at the market, which always remind me of apple picking in Washington State when I was 14.

As for Winter, well, that season might be getting milder. But tell that to the me that slid off the road two years ago, miraculously missing a tree and a lamppost, and then saying to my husband (in a phone call immediately after that incident where Jesus clearly took the wheel) that I was going to buy a boat and never have to put up with this crap again and his only choice was to be on board if he wanted to stay married. I had calmed down by the end of that working shift, and the boat is and will forever remain a pipe dream. Funny how a dream-come-true can be so dependent on circumstances.

So here I am, continuing to unpack and get slightly sunburned in our Indian summer (is that now a politically incorrect term?), accompanied by a full complement of late summer sun during the day and a panoply of stars at night. And one lone aspen leaf, resting on the deck.

Daily gratitudes:
Strength
Jet trails at sunset
A shower after getting really dirty
Lingerie
Discoveries

The sun came up as if someone on the other side of the earth had given it slightly square corners this morning. I wonder what they’re doing with the tail end of the sun over there? What they left for me was lovely, and while I’m far from a morning person, I do love the quiet of the early day and that sense of a fresh start.

Daily gratitudes:
The magic road
A flock of turkeys
A true partner and companion
Truck stop coffee
Giant dumpsters

While I am absolutely a warm soul, contrary to appearances, I am rather shy. In living apart from a lot of civilization (neighbors, traffic, coffee shops), I find myself on a pendulum that swings between relishing my isolation and feeling lonesome. To try to find a balance, I go to our little market once a week and take myself to the city, thirty miles distant, once a week, with all the stoplights and fast food joints and cannabis shops and WalMarts anyone could possibly desire. After a few hours, I’ve had enough of bad drivers and long lines and billboards, and I head for home. As soon as I’m free of the city, I feel like I can breathe again and let down some guard that I didn’t even know I had put up. Truck and I cruise down I-25 or kick up dust on a dirt road going the back way, but either way, there is nothing but sky and space and brush, with the plains to the east and the mountains to the west, and always, the clouds.

Off the highway, it takes a few short minutes to plunge into the valley. When I hit the valley, I’m filled with the sense of being cradled by the earth, encased in its hills that still carry a lingering green and welcomed by the art of the clouds as they shift their positions behind the mountains. Turning into my little town, I’m slowed by the dips in the road and have to keep a weather eye for deer, particularly the doe and her twins who’ve been a constant presence this past summer. Here, we wave at each other when we pass, even though I have no idea who I’m waving at and neither do they. But as I take the few turns deeper into the woods, closer to the mountain, it’s like diving into a nest of comfort and quiet, peace and safety. I guess that’s what home is supposed to be.

Daily gratitudes:
Experimental sparkling water
Mysterious barks
My bed
Little Free Libraries
A lovely conversation with E-Bro

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

 

While we’ve been back for a bit, I still haven’t quite gotten my ducks in the same yard, much less in a row. The Costa Rican crud that I picked up continues to plague me, but as everything does, it will get better. Costa Rica was a wonderful country, with amazingly friendly people, crazy roads, and a simple lifestyle that held a strong appeal for us. We didn’t venture far from our tiny lodging, and that was okay for this trip, but (of course) I am planning a return visit to explore more of this magical place. Every night, we had a sunset like this, our first one.

CR Sunset
Playa San Miguel, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

Quote of the day: “Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.” — Jack Kerouac

Daily gratitudes:
A lovely day
Costa Rican crud medicine
Cuddlesome cats
Tea
My youngest stepson

 

 

 

With 2017 in the works, I’m starting some new things, though I’m not making resolutions, because they usually are pointless. I am setting intentions and acting on exciting changes. It has been a lovely, protracted holiday season, and I will miss it – it’s my favorite time of year. Here’s a sunset towards the end of our strange last year, to usher the old out and the new in. I hope you feel hope and positive change (yes, I did that) for the coming months. And of course, as always love and joy.

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Littleton, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “I’ve always found that the most beautiful people, truly beautiful inside and out, are the ones who are quietly unaware of their effect.” — Jennifer L. Armentrout

Daily gratitudes:
Feeling like a lovely married couple
Dogs in shop windows
My surrogate daughter
That Kelsea returns from Ireland tomorrow (though not to me)
Two workouts today

 

I know I promised Canada, and will deliver on said promise, but today the Front Range was so lovely, I just had to share. I worked late last night, not getting home until 1:00 a.m., and only falling into a fitful sleep between 4:15 and 7:15. Throughout the night, I heard rain, which was a becalming sound. Being a woman who takes short 45-second private tropical vacations because of my internal magma, I continue to have the bedroom window open a few inches, even in the sub-zero nights, so last night, I listened to the comfort of rain falling on the dead leaves of the evil Chinese elm tree, and the long slow soothe of a freight train whistle a few miles up the road. I tried to remember what the whistle signals meant, as my father gave me a document long ago that explained the whistle “morse code” that engineers used. The grey of the morning wore off, MKL arrived, we bought a lovely little Christmas tree, saw some llamas, sheep, goats, and BMWs, braved the weirdness of WalMart, went out for coffee and listened to the bluegrass jam session at the East Simpson Coffee Shop.

I changed the sheets, cleaned the bathroom (not enough), watched an episode of “Sherlock” on PBS. I had a baked potato, having decided (in a rather numb-nut fashion) to stop eating sugar and flour now, just before Christmas celebrations. After all, it’s 10 weeks to Costa Rica.

Now, I am cuddled with Mr. Man, trying to adjust to how my body has  been today, how my spirit has been today, on the 10th anniversary of my Mother’s death. As I have said before, I can instantly place myself  back in each moment of the nine days that I was with her up to her passing – and the terrible days afterwards. I physically hurt, and have shed tears a few times when talking to MKL, who is extra adorable, because he never fails to have a handkerchief handy for me to dry my tears.

While I only occasionally have visitation dreams from people who have passed on, it is clear when they occur. I would love to have my Mother visit me, and it has happened only twice in all these years, except for this year, when she stopped by every night for about four days, as she was poised to assist a friend to the next place. No matter how much I want her to come to me in my dreams, she doesn’t. It’s a hard thing for me to understand, but I know it’s in both of our best interests. Still, it adds a caul to the sadness that I feel for the loss of her, which is there daily, but more potent on anniversaries. I cried through the parent/child dance at the wedding I catered last night. I haven’t done that in many years.

But today was a good day, a beautiful day, and I know that would make her happy, as it made me happy, even with the ache throbbing in my heart to the beat of the bluegrass.

20161211_124006-cropBoulder, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “There is something about losing your mother that is permanent and inexpressable – a wound that will never quite heal.” — Susan Wiggs

Daily gratitude:
The smell of the little Christmas tree lot
Today’s clouds
Siting a bald eagle in flight
Clean sheets
The seasonal reappearance of the Santa Hat

 

 

 

October 2021
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