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It is still remarkably green here in Colorado, due to our unusually wet spring and early summer. Most years by now, the vista is brown and dry. But as of last week, the wildflowers werestill showing their fancy, making a lovely foreground for one of the sandstone Pawnee Buttes.

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Pawnee National Grasslands, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Men do change, and change comes like a little wind that ruffles the curtains at dawn, and it comes like the stealthy perfume of wildflowers hidden in the grass.” — John Steinbeck

Daily gratitudes:
Getting fancy
A lovely date with my MKL
A generous pour of Glenmorangie
Snuggling
Loving attention to my wounds

During our whirlwind college tour, KVK and I had to make a detour to Aberdeen, Washington. If you are KVK, you feel as if you are the female embodiment of Kurt Cobain, and I thought it would be a true treat for her to see the house he was partially raised in and the bridge he slept under. With at least tacit support from the town, Kurt’s fans have created a small park called Kurt Cobain Landing. The town of Aberdeen was grey and industrial, and felt a little depressed, but in its defense, it was a grey and rainy day. That certainly did not diminish KVK’s spirits, and she oozed optimism in the truck as we went over the wrong bridge, down dead end roads, and into cow country until we stumbled upon our destination.

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Even in the wet, it was a lovely little park, with humor:

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tender tributes:

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and a bit of a biographical sketch:

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But the true destination for diehard Kurt supporters is under the bridge.

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Even the bridge itself acknowledges this fact.

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Supporters (I don’t think that’s the right word, but the word “fans” seems far too minimal) have left their own tributes in the form of graffiti under the bridge where Kurt slept.

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Of course, my KVK had to check it out, and I left her to it.

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I left her there, by the muddy banks of the Wishkah, to convene with the many spirits that I could feel even in my brief pass-through. I sat in the car and watched the raindrops on the windows, watched couples come and go, admired the lace curtains on the little old house next to the park, and wondered how residents felt about all the comings and goings of Kurt fans. But the fans all were so very respectful to the space, and I liked that.

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When KVK emerged from her time under the bridge, she was thrilled. One half of one of the couples that I had seen come and go had chatted with her in that space that was special to them both. He had known Kurt back in the Aberdeen days, and had spent time smoking weed with him and dreaming there in the mud by the Wishkah. Even though this was far from the point of our trip, it was certainly one of the highlights for her, and something she’ll remember for her whole life. And that’s the best thing about our mother-daughter trips.

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I think Kurt would have approved.

Daily gratitudes:
A flock of mourning doves
My ginormous peony
Having KVK tonight
Carrying my camera everywhere again
The newly discovered mural on the building in my town

The 17-mile road that runs through the public areas of Monument Valley allows for numerous stops and lots of little trails that lead to lots of amazing views, like this one of an approaching storm from North Window. To access this view, you walk on a little two-person wide curving trail along the side of a steep mesa. We were fortunate enough to have this lovely spot to ourselves for about five minutes. As we headed back towards the parking area, numerous vehicles arrived and vomited up about 100 french tourists who all immediately headed for where we were. We barely edged by them. I think if they had all actually made it out on the trail, they would have filled it from one end to the other. Maybe they did…we didn’t stick around to see.

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Monument Valley, Arizona.

Quote of the day: “It seems that scientific research reaches deeper and deeper. But it also seems that more and more people, at least scientists, are beginning to realize that the spiritual factor is important. I say ‘spiritual’ without meaning any particular religion or faith, just simple warmhearted compassion, human affection, and gentleness. It is as if such warmhearted people are a bit more humble, a little bit more content.” — Dalai Lama XIV

Daily gratitudes:
A touch of thunder last night
Finishing a good book
Picking the next book
Missing someone you love
That some of the sparkles from my red shoes glitter in the hallways at work (days after I have worn them)

When you are a photographer, it changes how you look at the world. You can look at something straight on, seeing it for what it is. Then you look beyond it, seeing it within the context of its background. And then, you look at it with a certain intimacy, seeing the details and inner character. And if you’re lucky, you can capture something beautiful in all three views. I know there are more ways of looking at a scene or a thing, but these are the first things that come to mind.

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Anegada, British Virgin Islands.

Quote of the day: “Fear is a great crippler of creativity and great invention.” —  Peter Horlamilaycon

Daily gratitudes:
A hint of spring returning
MKL
Watching the scenery on the bus this morning
Fresh furrows in the Three Leaf Farm field
Hope for marriage equality

Last weekend, I took Kelsea and Uber-Cool Will to a rock concert.

Yes, I really did.

Uber-Cool Will’s parents had taken them to the Moody Blues at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in the beginning of the summer, but I’m not sure you can call that a rock concert.  I was surprised that the Moody Blues were still alive, much less still playing.  They had a good time, but it wasn’t exactly rocking, and they were more impressed with how much secondhand funny smoke they thought they were inhaling.

In other words, this was Kelsea’s first rock concert. She didn’t really want me to go, because who wants to go to your first rock concert with your Mom?  But there was no way I was letting two 14-year old loose in Denver’s Pepsi Center all by themselves.  And so it was take me, or don’t go at all – her choice.  She chose to take me.

I have never been a huge fan of concerts. The combination of extreme noise, too many people, expensive tickets, and bands that are often disappointing when they haven’t been mixed and spliced and torqued within an inch of their life have never added up to a fabulous experience for me.  I could probably count the number of rock concerts I’ve been to on one hand. And having come off of a blissed-out weekend of otherworldliness at Cottonwood Hot Springs, I was even less in the mood.

But Kelsea was super excited and couldn’t wait, so there was no way I was letting my lackluster enthusiasm color her world.  I dressed in my cool clothes, and the three of us were off.  Our goal?

The Foo Fighters.

I turned Kelsea onto the Foo Fighters during the Excellent Adventure Roadtrip.  It took her  a while to warm up to them, but now she loves them, especially because she adores the late Kurt Cobain, and Dave Grohl used to be Nirvana’s drummer, so being in the same space with Dave was as close as she could come to being in a room with Kurt. I just liked a few of their songs.

We were totally in the nosebleed seats, but it was all I could afford. While the Pepsi Center claimed to be sold out, there were definitely some empty seats when things were getting started. Perhaps that’s because we started promptly at 7:00 pm with an unanounced warm-up band: Mariachi el Bronx.

We found a mariachi band, in full sombrero regalia, to be an odd choice for an opening act for a quintessential rock concert.  But a bit of research shows that Mariachi el Bronx, hailing from Los Angeles, is actually a punk band disguised as a mariachi band. Sometimes they play punk (as “The Bronx”) and sometimes they mix mariachi and punk – they consider both to be part of the soundtrack of Southern California.  We got pure foot-dancing mariachi and some bafflement, but I truly enjoyed them.

The second warm-up act (do they usually have two? I have no idea) was Cage the Elephant. If you too are unfamiliar with this band, their style is considered “slacker funk-punk”.

Who knew? All I can say is, there was an enormous amount of screaming and hair shaking, combined with some flailing.  Honestly, it was the first experience in a long time that I could say truly made me feel old. Totally not my thing. I found myself dreading the rest of the evening, wondering how I was going to be able to sit through another two hours of noise, and trying to find my zen.

Kelsea and Uber-Cool Will had, in the meantime, moved to the empty row ahead of me, so as not to be completely associated with an adult, and to feel more like they were on their own. Fine by me. I could still poke either one of them whenever I felt like it.

And then the Foo Fighters took the stage.  As I said, I liked a couple of their songs, but Cage the Elephant had really dampened my enthusiasm.  I am happy to say though, that it didn’t take long for my attitude to turn around.  They put on a phenomenal show. Dave has a gorgeous voice, the drummer, Taylor Hawkins, is one of the best I’ve ever heard, and they were fully as powerful and amazing live as in the studio.

They played for 2 hours and 40 minutes, incorporating only a small break for introductions, and a small break (complete with backstage cam and bottles of champagne) prior to their encores, which included several solo acoustic numbers by Dave.  And by the way, Dave is handsome as the devil and I am totally in love with him in an iconic sort of way.

So I had a blast, and wished I had paid for floor tickets, and am ready to abandon my life and follow the Foo Fighters.  And Kelsea is ready to come with me.

She rocked it. She stood up during Cage the Elephant and started dancing, and never sat down. Not once in 3 and a 1/2 hours.  I am proud to see that I have taught her how to scream “wooooooo” from our many years at rodeos, and she wooooed with the finest.  In fact, her voice was practically gone by the time we left.  (Mine was gone the next day.)

She admired the instruments. She thought the musicians were hot. She sang along with more of the songs than I ever thought she knew.  She smiled. She glowed. She was in her element. The Foo Fighters are justifiably proud of their identity as a true rock band, and Kelsea is justifiably proud of her own identity as a rock connoisseur.  A true rocker.

It was some of the best money I’ve ever spent. I’m so glad I got to witness this joyful side of her, and that I could treat her to this experience.  And I had a pretty darn good time too.

December 2020
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