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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

 

 

 

Even though Winter (ick) is technically a month-ish away, we are expecting it to make an appearance next week. I don’t count the minor snowfall two weeks ago, because I refused to leave the house until it was gone, therefore to me, it didn’t happen. We have been blessed with a long Autumn this year, and MKL and I were saying today that we hope Winter will be merciful and Spring kind to us. (This past Spring was a cruel taskmistress, as my blizzard-struck fallen miracle of an evil tree demonstrated.) We still have a few late-falling leaves on trees, a few streaks of color in dips between mountains, and the morning cold of our wrought iron benches is not vicious enough to weasel its way through one’s clothes to one’s skin. Yet. But soon, we will be asking each other, “Why do we live here?” I am a landlocked mermaid, who never meant to stay here in the mountains, but sometimes not making choices throughout one’s life is a choice in itself. And it led me to MKL, for which I am grateful. As I am grateful we can keep each other warm throughout the cold snaps.

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Quote of the day: “We fit together like puzzle pieces when we snuggled together.” — Andrea Smith

Daily gratitudes:
A new dress
Surprises
Postcards
Floofy dogs in sunny windows
Blankets

 

 

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

 

This is the barn so often included in postcards from Steamboat Springs. I saw it on my first solo trip there, and then couldn’t find it again. I even asked local folk about it, and they all pled ignorance (weird). This last summer I found it again, and Kelsea had the pleasure of exploring its innards, though even she thought there were spots that the floor might collapse beneath her feet in the hayloft. The barn is very old, and the community is building up around it, condos to the left and right, front, and back, which is sad from my point of view. But I’m glad the barn still stands.

The Steamboat Barn
Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Traveling makes you realize what an immeasurably nice place much of America could be if only people possessed the same instinct for preservation as they do in Europe.” — Bill Bryson

Daily gratitudes:
Mr. Man
My sister’s birthday
People like Pam who are devoted to historic preservation
The BBC
Mindfulness

A couple of weeks ago, the smoke from the Washington State fires was blanketing the Colorado skies, causing MKL to cough, but giving us lovely sunsets. I watched the sun move down through the sky for almost an hour from the Aquarius Trailhead. I think the fires are still burning, and my prayers go with those battling them, as well as with firefighters in California. My daughter has a one-way ticket to Washington next Saturday, and firefighting is a path she is choosing, which is a bit of a challenge for a mother, but she has angels watching over her – and a very pragmatic attitude about where her chosen paths can lead.

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Louisville, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.” — Barack Obama

Daily gratitudes:
Never forgetting
Birds on a wire
My doorbell
MKL
Books you can’t wait to get back to reading

I can’t say I’m not glad to see the back of January. It seems to have been a tough month for many. Let’s hope February is kinder. Being a Spring and Summer person, winter is tough (don’t ask me why I live in Colorado), and in February, there are signs of Spring. Not snowdrops or crocuses – it’s a bit too early for that – but I grasp at the smallest things: the fact that they have the flyer for proposed bus route changes coming in May on my morning commute; that movie trailers say “coming this summer”; that it stays light just a little bit later every day. We had a lovely fluffy snow last night – not hard to shovel, and just some curious magical quality to it, so that it clung to the tree branches like albino caterpillars, and made the fields seem buried in puffed silk. It was a snow I didn’t mind, and for me, that’s saying something.

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Boulder, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Fortunately, I’m good at ignoring a lot of what my brain does.” — Richard Kadrey

Daily gratitudes:
An interesting Super Bowl
A snuggly Mr. Man
Missing Michael – I would be sadder if I didn’t miss him
The big fat pig enjoying the snow in her field
The cry of a crow

The beginning and the end of a lovely, cool, woodland hike yesterday. This tunnel is still used by trains crossing the Continental Divide today. As we arrived, the engine of a long coal train was just emerging. I drove my parents up here a long, long time ago, when you could still get closer to the mouth of the tunnel. Like MKL, my father loved trains.

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Quote of the day: “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” — G.K. Chesterton

Daily gratitudes:
Wildflowers
The cool of the mountains
Happiness
Small souvenirs
Truck

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

She’s a she, not a he, and hence, no antlers. But I don’t care. It’s been a lifelong goal of mine to see a moose. To the extent that, as a child, my imaginary friend was a moose (named Bruce, no less). So on our return from Steamboat Springs, I was super excited when Kelsea and I entered the Moose County of Colorado, complete with Moose X-ing signs. It was dangerously pouring rain, when Kelsea swore she spied TWO of them out her window, in a copse of trees. We steered down a side road nearby hoping that I could catch a glimpse, but they, in their elusive mooseness, had vanished. I was glad she had seen them, but I was sorry for myself. She tried in vain to cheer me up by saying that really she was only 98% sure that they had actually been there, and not just a moose hallucination, as we have had previously. I was just bemoaning the fact that here I am, an animal shaman, for heaven’s sake, and I can’t even summon a moose, when there she was. I veered off the road so sharply that I almost hit a random pole and am surprised that she didn’t run away. But she didn’t. She calmly drank rainwater from a puddle, lifted her head and observed things in general, and casually trip-trapped into some aspens, thinking perhaps that they were an excellent disguise. I was so happy that I cried. Honestly, I wept with joy. I’m glad I got to share the experience with Kelsea.

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(To give credit where credit is due, Kelsea took this shot. I was busy trying not to kill us.)

Highway 14, near Gould, Colorado.

Quote of the day: ““Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it. ” — Henry David Thoreau

Daily gratitudes:
Flippy skirts
Seeing MKL after a few days absence which make the heart grow fonder
When work is a workout
Lisa’s chocolate chip cookies
Foggy mornings

I’ve been quiet, haven’t I? Sorry. Just pondering life. And working a lot. And trying to make Mr. Man feel at home. But I’m back now, and ready to share some images from the last roadtrip.

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Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Quote of the Day: “It was amazing how you could get so far from where you’d planned, and yet find it was exactly were you needed to be.” — Sarah Dessen

Daily gratitudes:
A cooler day
Walking home from the bus
Thunder and lightning
Gardens
Simplicity
Mr. Man coming to greet me when I get home (so happy to have a cat again)

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