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Elk are abundant, as are deer – moreso than I recall in my 34 years in Colorado. Last weekend, driving back from work at about 10:30 at night, I came across a car that had just hit a large elk. The occupants were two grandparents (about my age!), their four-year old grandson and their small dog. The grandfather had climbed down the embankment to find the dying elk (not a wise move) and the grandmother, little boy and dog were standing in the dark by the side of the road. Pieces of their car were scattered across the highway and the entire front passenger side was crushed. Others had stopped, but had moved on when they realized there were no injuries. That felt wrong to me, so I stayed with the trio on the side of the road, kicked the debris out of the road using moonlight as a guide so no one else would have an accident, distracted the lady with talk of random things, made the little boy laugh, held the dog while she helped her grandson put on some warm clothes, and tucked them all in my truck until the police came to help. They were from the city, and were scared and shocked. And very, very lucky. As I left them, she said, “You’ll never know what a lifesaver you were tonight.” And I wished them blessings.

The moral of this story is, if you are driving in the mountains, especially at night, keep a weather eye out. Elk are quick and slow at the same time. Go slower than you think you should, keep your lights on bright when you can, and look for their eyes – that gleam is usually what your headlights will catch. Let’s keep you – and these beautiful creatures – safe and sound.

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Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “The concept of conservation is a far truer sign of civilization than that spoilation of a continent which we once confused with progress.” —  Peter Matthiessen

Daily gratitudes:
The 3-year old Bronco fan with his mohawk on the shuttle
The man in the straw boater hat
Lunch with MKL
My wedding boots
Love

The Cat

He sits
close enough to my head
on the Red Couch
to be within reach
and to lick
the salt of my tears
off my hand
with his sandpaper tongue.

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Quote of the Day: “Dignity: The moment you live your dreams, not because of what it will prove or get you, but because that is all you want to do. ” — Shannon L. Alder

Daily gratitudes:
Tomatoes ripening on the vine (not mine this year)
The other house in my neighborhood with a metal winged pig
MKL
Kelsea’s happiness
Horseradish cheddar cheese toast for dinner
The return of Peyton Manning

Cat Loaf

Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Rivers spill mysteries into the ocean, and the ocean washes the answer to the shore.”  —  Tanja Kobasic

Daily gratitudes:
My daughter
Cold remedies
Tea
Red roses
MKL

This is one of the wolves at the Howler’s Inn.  Montana’s wolf hunting season started in September, and by the end of October, 25 grey wolves had been killed. Officials shut down wolf hunting and trapping near parts of Yellowstone two days ago.  These are such beautiful, spiritual, wild animals that I wish we could learn to leave in harmony with them.

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Bozeman, Montana.

Quote of the day: “We searchers are ambitious only for life itself, for everything beautiful it can provide. Most of all we love and want to be loved. We want to live in a relationship that will not impede our wandering, nor prevent our search, nor lock us in prison walls; that will take us for what little we have to give. We do not want to prove ourselves to another or compete for love. For wanderers, dreamers, and lovers, for lonely men and women who dare to ask of life everything good and beautiful. It is for those who are too gentle to live among wolves.”  —  James Kavanaugh

Daily gratitudes:
Beautiful sunrises
Compassion
Fuzzy blankets
Christmas carols
Secret Santas

I love pugs. Kelsea and I love pugs. Though we missed it this year, last year we went to Milwaukee to attend Pugfest, which was magnificent. I learned that I need a lot faster lens to capture these scrumptious little dogs in action, but I did get a few classic shots. Since I had a horrible day today, and was treated to some excellent puppy therapy from a stranger, I wanted to share a puppy (or two) (or three) with you tonight.

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Pugfest, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Quote of the day: “This is an important lesson to remember when you’re having a bad day, a bad month, or a shitty year. Things will change: you won’t feel this way forever. And anyway, sometimes the hardest lessons to learn are the ones your soul needs most. I believe you can’t feel real joy unless you’ve felt heartache. You can’t have a sense of victory unless you know what it means to fail. You can’t know what it’s like to feel holy until you know what it’s like to feel really fucking evil. And you can’t be birthed again until you’ve died.”  —  Kelly Cutrone

Daily gratitudes:
Shanti, the service Corgi
Tears
Determination
Fixing things
Christmas music
Strength
Not confronting the asslady who cut me off this morning
A temporary (?) computer fix

Lucy lived in the Abriendo Inn a few years back.  The inn went into foreclosure and Lucy and her owner vanished into the mists.  But I still have a few pictures of her.

Pueblo, Colorado.

Quote of the Day: “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”   —  Tenzin Gyatso

Daily gratitudes:
A rainbow of roses
Choices and decisions
Seagulls in Colorado
Emerald green shoes (if I have to wear shoes)
Decluttering, little by little

Opposable thumbs
A capricious gift wasted
On clueless humans.

Birds behind a screen
Taunt me with their carefree song.
“Hush” aches in my claws.

In home’s sweet darkness
I race with wild abandon
Alarming sleepers.

They say they own me.
Enslavement is elusive.
Who is the keeper?

I dislike this food
So I return it to you
A gift for bare feet.

Scratch behind my ears.
I share my love sparingly.
Stop at my command.

Sleeping pillowed head,
Path for my little cat feet
To the other side.

Still as a statue
I curl next to your ankles
Waiting for your step.

Your cooking tempts me.
Chicken on the countertop.
My claws climb your leg.

Nestled in your curves
I spoon with you warily
Until you crush me.

I allow the dog
To drool without cessation
Lying in  your bed.

Lest you forget me
I leave my most precious hairs
Upon your best clothes.

but when I do, it’s 1% milk.

Lafayette, Colorado.

(Today’s photo is in honor of Henri le Chat Noir, winner of the Internet Cat Film Festival last week. As if he cares.)

Quote of the day: “To attract something that you want, become as joyful as you think that thing would make you.”  —  Martha Beck

Daily gratitudes:
Salsa lessons with MKL
Frozen edamame on my neck
Clean quilts
New-old earrings
Dragon rolls

Dear Unknown Lady,

I don’t know who you are, but I know you’re an angel.

At the height of rush hour heading towards Denver, just past the Church Ranch exit, there was a beautiful dog in the road.  I don’t know if he was your dog, but I know he was someone’s dog.  He was silvery and fluffy and looked like he had some husky and maybe some shepherd in him.  And he was trapped against the center median, with cars speeding by at 65 mph, no doubt missing him by only a hair or a miracle.

Other cars had stopped.  But you did it.  You pulled your truck over on the shoulder, and got out.  You called to him with happiness and enthusiasm, in just such a way that he wouldn’t panic any more than he already no doubt was.  The cars at the critical point decided that this dog’s life was more important than getting someplace two minutes sooner, and stopped, allowing him to gallop across the road to you. He looked absolutely joyful.  And you clapped and encouraged and praised him and he leapt easily into your truck.

And he lived.  Uninjured.

Maybe he had been in your truck and had jumped out somehow.  Maybe he was left behind by someone.  Maybe he was someone’s darling who got loose, like our Champ did once – he miraculously made it to the other side of the highway that time too, and another angel lady helped him.  (Those husky mixes can really be escape artists.)

Champ as a puppy.

But that doesn’t matter.  What does matter is that you took the time to save a beautiful dog.  One beautiful soul rescuing another.

It made my day.  I thank you.  And your fuzzy buddy thanks you.

This is one fine fellow. And he knows it.  Apologies for my long absence. I promise I will explain.

Portland, Oregon.

Quote of the day: “When you are on path and on purpose, you will meet people who have been waiting for you on your path all along. ”  —  Kevin Hall

Daily gratitudes:
Red-winged blackbirds
Protein
The scent of lilacs
Alpacas
Good sleeping weather
Honesty

 

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