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Yes, it is indeed where the deer and the antelope play. We saw a lot of antelope on our long drive on Sunday, some of who kindly posed for us. Most would bound away when we stopped the truck, retreating to a safe distance, and then inch their way back to us as we took pictures, as curious about us as we were about them. We saw pairs and herds and babies and they were all adorable. It was especially nice for me, as the antelope is my constant spirit animal in my shamanic practice.

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Pawnee National Grasslands, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Beauty, the world seemed to say. And as if to prove it (scientifically) wherever he looked at the houses, at the railings, at the antelopes stretching over the palings, beauty sprang instantly. To watch a leaf quivering in the rush of air was an exquisite joy. Up in the sky swallows swooping, swerving, flinging themselves in and out, round and round, yet always with perfect control as if elastics held them; and the flies rising and falling; and the sun spotting now this leaf, now that, in mockery, dazzling it with soft gold in pure good temper; and now again some chime (it might be a motor horn) tinkling divinely on the grass stalks—all of this, calm and reasonable as it was, made out of ordinary things as it was, was the truth now; beauty, that was the truth now. Beauty was everywhere.” — Virginia Woolf

Daily gratitudes:
How antelope rhymes with cantaloupe
That Season 2 of The Paradise arrived just as I finished Season 1
Fishtail skirts
MKL’s hands
Soft air

I loved the way he posed right by the “Watch for Wildlife” sign. There must have been three dozen of them, just strolling along, licking the salt off the road. Apparently, Estes Park is good about road maintenance at the start of a light snow. We had a lovely drive up on Sunday, with the trees tipped by frost. More about our adventures at the Stanley Hotel later. We both like the energy in Estes Park and are considering it as a move option for our mountain house. But boy, does it get windy up there, and neither of us like the wind. I keep wondering how to make peace with the wind, but so far I have found no spiritual or energetic connection to it. Any ideas would of course be much appreciated.

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Outside of Estes Park, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”  —  Edith Sitwell

Daily gratitudes:
Nina and Kelsea decorating our lovely little tree
My unusual Christmas decorations
Shedding tears for Christmases without my parents
Snuggly cats
A lovely work holiday luncheon

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

It seems as if he is saying, “Oh, darling, what is that glorious  perfume you’re wearing?!” These two were so lovey it was adorable, nuzzling, and giving elk kisses. He was about the only male in the herd, so clearly this was his chosen inamorata for the evening. (Sorry it’s a little blurry.)

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Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “That life is simply a collection of little lives, each lived one day at a time. That each day should be spent finding beauty in flowers and poetry and talking to animals. That a day spent with dreaming and sunsets and refreshing breezes cannot be bettered.” — Nicholas Sparks

Daily gratitudes:
The lady styling the SpongeBob Squarepants  spike-heel ankle bootsHugging Mr. Man
When the day isn’t as hot as they say it’s going to be
MKL
That the beach is just days away

As promised, this is one of the many elk that roam the roads and yards of Estes Park. There are herds and herds of them, and at this time of year, they have lovely velvet on their antlers. Come fall, we will see bucks everywhere, and will be looking for the stags with the most points, and listening to them bugle their mating calls, a haunting, startling sound that can echo across open fields. This year, MKL and I will try to make an early morning run to my favorite big meadow in Rocky Mountain National Park, where the elk seem to congregate during mating season. Sort of like nature’s pick-up bar.

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Estes Park, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Connecting with the wilderness allows us to live in the flow of a meaningful, joyful life. Embracing this state of connectedness or oneness with other living beings including animals, as opposed to feeling an “otherness” or “separateness” brings a sense of harmony and enables us to be at peace with oneself and the world.” — Sylvia Dolson

Daily gratitudes:
The little boy trying to walk up the down escalator
Vintage railway cars at Union Station (I have pictures!)
The nice people at King Soopers who let me get my milk that I bought and forgot yesterday
Turquoise
MKL

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