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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

 

 

 

Yes, it may have some storms, but it’s open and free and wild, and I have my love by my side. Always.

IMG_8371County Road 14, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Home sweet home. No place like home. Take me home, country roads. Home is where the heart is. But my heart is here. So I must be home.” — Audrey Niffenegger

Daily gratitudes:
MKL
The boys playing basketball on the patio
Late night talks with my brilliant daughter
A day in the country
That we did not fall into the twilight zone in Grover

 

It looked to me like these two were having a dance-off. It’s funny how many of my pictures from Moab were of trees, considering that trees are the least of the landscape there. My Mother was a tree-hugger. I guess it’s in my blood.

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Arches National Park, Utah.

Quote of the day: “Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.”  — Laini Taylor

Daily gratitudes:
Texts from my daughter
Dozing on the bus so I can get through Job #2
MKL’s eyes
Toddlers playing in the dancing waters
The feeling of souls in Union Station

Because a day can start out really lousy, and wind up with skies like this.

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Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic. It is such a simple and such an extraordinary part of the lives we live.” — Nora Roberts

Daily gratitudes:
The smell of warm asphalt
Glowing rain clouds
Helping others
MKL
The man in the elevator who cheerfully took the earful I gave him when he asked me how my morning was going

Peak-a-boo!

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Outside of Bailey, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.” — Maya Angelou

Daily gratitudes:
The many beautiful words (and spirit) of Maya Angelou
A lovely day
Books that make you think
That my Kelsea has only one more day of school
My turquoise cowboy boots

I caught a walk under the thunder today, which is a little nerve-wracking when you’re in the field, but it does make you go faster.

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Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Everyone must leave something behind when he dies… A child or a book or a painting o a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do… so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away.” — Ray Badbury

Daily gratitudes:
A puppy on a leash carrying the leashof  an older dog
MKL
How snuggly Mr. Man is
Walking
Lima beans

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

Denver Haiku

A shrouded city
Slides a sleek cloud of tongues
Across its dwellers.

Remember this not only because it is beautiful and a beautiful place, but because we are about to be swallowed by spring snow one more time here in Colorado. Sigh.

Jost van Dyke

White Bay, Jost van Dyke, British Virgin Islands.

Quote of the day: “Morning without you is a dwindled dawn.” —  Emily Dickinson

Daily gratitudes:
Kelsea
Finding special presents for special people
Cleaning up
Birdsong
Sunshine
My dearest handyman 🙂

Sometimes it seems like there is a window straight into heaven.

anywhere.

Quote of the day: “It was November–the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines.”  —  L.M. Montgomery

Daily gratitudes:
Unusual emptiness and silence downtown this morning
The calls of strange birds flying south
The beautiful moon this past week
Water
The apparently-reproducing mass of pillows in my bed

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