February 28, 2015
Though I rarely mention our guest ranch business with my personal business, the two are of course intertwined and both a part of me. So… here’s the latest from the guest ranch side of me:
Updates from the Upper Rio Grande
Woven into winter… dreaming of favorite places… taking you back to where you want to be…
Dear Friends of Lost Trail Ranch,
As the shrill call of the Redwing Blackbird this week heralds their return to the mountain and brings the promise of spring to our otherwise wintry landscape, we turn our attention towards the seasons upcoming. We welcome you to this beautiful new year, trusting it is a great one so far for you, and hope to have the chance to see many of you in the year ahead.
Some exciting news to share with you:
First, we’re getting a brand new web site! Same location (www.lost-trail.com) but a whole new look. After over a dozen years of toying with our home-made web site – based on the assumption that the beauty of the place is enough to capture your attention and your heart – we’re are super excited to be launching a completely new site, designed and implemented by the extraordinarily talented Kara Brittain of B4Studio (www.b4studio.com). The site is in the works, bringing a beautiful redesign and wonderful working interface, featuring personal photos, stories and a clean, clear, easy to read and navigate format. As we progress with the new site, please take a look, tell us what you think! It’s a work of art, and still in the works, so your feedback would be most appreciated.
And… your involvement!
We would love your help in this process. Please read on…
Stories! Would you be willing to share a story? Instead of the usual rave reviews and recommendations or interesting historic tid-bits from the area, what would be more fun and endearing than to read, share and exchange your personal stories of a special time or event or memory created here at Lost Trail Ranch on the website? Perhaps a tale of awakening to the blessing of an early snow or brilliant rainbow, a wild ride on ATV up to the Divide, a wonderful wildlife viewing, a bunch of song and laugher around a campfire, or the one that got away. Please write (e-mail us) and share! We’d love to read your stories… Okay, I’ll be the first… (story to follow)
Pictures! Have any special pictures you might be willing and able to share with us on the site, too? Perhaps of your favorite place, cabin or part of the cabin that means something dear to you, a quiet moment captured lounging in the sun with a good book in a quiet corner of your cozy cabin, laughing around a camp fire or chillin’ on the front deck. Perhaps of your favorite activity, be it an awesome hike, mountain bike ride or ATV adventure, your favorite fishing hole (if you don’t mind sharing your secrets), a fun day spent in Lake City or Creede, an exhilarating exploration up the mountain? We’d love to see and share your images, from family time or a romantic couple get-away or just the beauty of the cabins and surrounding mountains. When you find a few minutes, please look through some of your favorites, and send ‘em this way if you’re willing and able to share the beauty!
More exciting news: This summer will be the first season we are proudly offering Hill Top Cabin as a part of our rental fleet! Hill Top Cabin is the big, beautiful, private and pristine cabin about a quarter mile up the road from the main ranch, on top of the hill (thus the name) overlooking the ranch, the valley and the reservoir (talk about views!). This opportunity is a dream come true for many who have inquired over the years… now it’s a reality! We are pleased to announce weekly rentals offered from Sunday to Sunday (our main cabins are Saturday to Saturday), June through mid October. Please write us for more details, inquiries and/or to make reservations for the upcoming summer season.
Other news and updates of interest:
On a personal note… Bob & Gin have just returned from another season in Argentina, and are back to working on their home by the river, writing a new book, and starting an exciting new chapter of their life together. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world… or rather, the end of the world! Forrest will be wintering (our summer is his winter) at the South Pole. That’s a lot of cold, dark days while we’ll be here enjoying the comfort and beauty of the Colorado high mountain sun! Some say he was raised for such a situation, but no matter the stories we’ve told you, it really never get’s that rough here. All we know is, we’ll miss him – and hope he manages to stay as warm as one can in the eternal darkness where winter temps average -76 degrees F.
Finally, what are YOU doing this summer? Hoping you’ll be able to be here for at least a week to get your mountain fix! Interested in spending a month or more here at Lost Trail Ranch? We’re looking for a couple of good caretakers – your own private cabin in exchange for minimal daily chores, meeting and greeting, and helping out on the weekend with turnover. This is a non paid position; perfect for someone(s) looking to just getaway and enjoy the peace and privacy of the mountain and our guests for an extended period of time. Please drop us an e-mail if this sound interesting…
Hope to see y’all soon!
With warmest regards,
Lost Trail Ranch
address: 18100 USFS Rd 520, Creede, CO 81130
February 23, 2015
Where we were.
Somewhere out there in the wind.
What were we there for?
Only in retrospect do we clearly see.
When at the time we may be lost in dark depths or blinded by brilliant light
Though sometimes there is foresight to cling to like a torch.
I knew before I went.
Along the way, maybe I lost sight. For a little while, at least. It is hard to see when you are in deep. Retrospect and a wild ride and the grounding love of my family and my tribe brought me back to center.
I’ll put this out there. Read it if you want. I’ll share what I can. I won’t expect you to read it all, though hope you’ll enjoy if you do.
What happened to the personal?
We’re too busy to take the time, make the time, a new set of priorities, an epidemic of cluttered time, personal value and social status placed on how busy we can appear.
We’ve got to the point where by if we put it out there, post it, we assume all will know. Maybe I don’t know. And no, I won’t assume. If you want me to know, write me. Personally. Crazy concept, I know. Old fashioned. You’ll find I usually write back. Likewise, if it matters that much to me, if I need you to know, I’ll write you too. Personally.
For I am learning maybe you’ll read this, maybe you won’t; maybe this is for you, and maybe this is just out there, for the general public, an entertainment service. You decide.
What was I there for?
The eternal powerful process.
Assisting, perhaps only observing
A woman through the greatest transformation of her own life.
Mother and child do the work while I hold tight to the burden and honor of bearing witness, and little more.
And then we let go, and leave the new life with that which is seemingly old and wise as ever a woman can be, all knowing and eternal and the most beautiful connection and spirit and energy and light, bonding of the truest love, and time no longer matters or can be told except the here and now of mother and baby in enduring bliss.
As midwife, the passage is not ours. Though we are there beside her, go there, deep, stand vigil, hold tight, strong, nurturing, bearing witness to the transformation of life, of girl to woman, primal and passionate movement, motion;, the tribal ritual; going down deep into the most intense space a woman can go. And then the instant creation of motherhood, vital love, this is what it’s all about. Everything. To be there, with her, if no more than watching over, and giving the gift of trust that she knows I will do all I can to ensure safe passage, see that she returns from that wild space no man may ever know, with a babe at her breast suckling. All so she can let go, and fully experience this enigmatic process.
As midwife, we serve as escort. The greatest of honors. The careful observer, at best empowering and encouraging and ensuring safe passage. If we can, for how much is beyond man and medicine, things they will never fully know, and the more I know the more I realize I don’t, but what can I do because this is not mine, it is her hers, what she wants, and it is natural, and it will happen, or it won’t, and what can we really do but trust.
This was not only intense (and at times, I reflect back and admit: a bit insane), it was intimate. Being there for another woman turned out to be even more intense that doing it myself. Back twenty something years ago when I birthed, my midwife had not been there before, and didn’t know how deep a woman can go. She was afraid. I scared her. It can be a frightening place, the depths that a woman can dive into. I am not afraid.
Diving deep… And not alone. And then, being certain of the unwavering strength and core belief in women; our collective body, mind and soul; and life and the primal, passionate act of birth. Belief in her, and in myself – strong enough to bring them back.
I can’t explain it better yet. If you’ve been there, you know. If you haven’t, go there. Somehow. Try.
How deep can you go?
Birth brings life so close to
death and we are hanging
on by tendons tied to some
as strong and sweet as a first breath.
Life changing. Life creating. The elemental woman’s Right of Passage. Primal, powerful, passionate, ecstatic. Yes, it can be. It is.
The intensity of a bath. The horse trough in the living room, beside the wood stove. Drinking spring water a degree above freezing. Sweating. Here so far from pavement, anything seeming like solid ground. In quiet laughter, we recall sweating in Buenos Aires. The purity of sweat; cleaning from the inside out. Raising the body temperature; cleansing the pores down deep from the soul. If I sweat, I don’t get sick. If I’m getting sick, I need to sweat. This is good medicine. Simple stuff. Old Man Brinker taught me that.
Sit back and sweat in the water by the wood stove…
It all comes back, rolls over me in a steamy embrace of hot water in a horse trough by the wood stove with my husband. I want a glass of wine, taste the sweet tart cool richness on my lips and in my throat, but know this is the last thing I really need. I’m already dizzy. It is the heat. The relaxation. The utter letting go.
Several moons ago. (Tonight I saw a sliver of a new moon tipped up like an empty bowl, waiting to be filled, or just having been emptied.)
Tomorrow will be a better day. Today I’m ready to cry. I don’t want to. I want to be strong and make it through this whole huge undertaking without breaking down and being all girlie like, you know? I can take it, tough it out like the guys and make it without a full day off, and I want to dress warm and play hearty and pretend the snow and wet and cold don’t bother me… but today they do. And I’m tired and I’m scared that we won’t get it done and I sort of just wish it was done and we could take a day off and talk about something besides logs.
As commitments unfold and plans become and the reality of all this work and time and money and fear of how hard it is on Gunnar and fear of my own unknowns and my dear friend’s birthing and how little I still know yet how much I innately trust… these things solidify, and yet I do not become stronger, but more confused. I don’t not want the adventure – and I don’t want to remain here for fear of trying something else. But I worry that I’m just spitting in the wind and will find the same discontentment there, everywhere… when really what I must be working on is the contentment in myself.
I fear I’m going down into a personal darkness and Now is not the time.
A time in between without boundaries. The fear of the un known. Nightmares of Gunnar, losing him, city streets, hearing him bark, knowing he is trying to find us; and waking fear of Rikki, worry for his coldness, loneliness, missing out on that which could have should have might have been but was missed of natural life for a wild being. Fear of my inability to write, or find a proper publisher, or… what is the purpose of writing if not to share my words?
And then. A new beginning.
It starts in the air. Most of the greatest adventures do. Often at night, flying though the endless black,
And then I was there.
And most days I wondered why.
Because I love and want
to give but sometimes give too much and am left with
Cold and harsh and biting,
Stripped naked and whipped, exposed
to the elements, beaten and broken down by
the earth and air and water that feeds me.
Too hot or too cold, and Gunnar’s broken foot
becomes my own shackles so I cannot
Is that the land I am meant to be attached to?
Or the people.
People. That is what matters most.
Intense. Yes. This is where we were.
I’m not ready to share the stories, not here, not now.
They are personal and private, though part of it should be shared. I want you to know. I want you to be there with me. You too may never be the same.
In the meanwhile, I am here, home, my wild white mountain and state of solitude and serenity. My husband and dog and goose on the deck and horses and crowing rooster in the morning and blinding white afternoons.
Don’t be afraid to go deep.
You must go where you have not been, and that place must be farther than you thought you could go. It may not be a pretty place. It may be harsh and raw and real. There is where you’ll find what you are seeking – that inner part of your self. The elusive secrets to the self, the soul, life. Only when you are truly lost, giving up and opening to guidance to get you out alive, only then will you understand direction.
If we don’t go deep we remain but on the still surface. Dive into the mud. You will find your way out. And in the meanwhile, you will learn to swim. Open your eyes and drink it in. You will not be alone – that is the biggest surprise. And sometimes, what you will find in those depths are the richest of waters. The waters of life.
Drink in the intensity.
And then, my friend, where will you go?
Not where you were yesterday.
But I may still be there. Or you will be. And no matter how deep we go, me or you, let’s promise each other this. We won’t leave each other too far behind. I’ll look for you, find you, and bring you back. Carry you, drag you, or walk by your side. Don’t forget that.
And if you truly believe that, you can go deep.
Because you know I’ll be there with you.
Or at the least, waiting for you with a big fat grin when you make it back.
February 2, 2015
You ask me… How was Argentina?
I answer… Intense.
One word. That’s all you want to hear. You don’t want to hear my stories. At least, I never think you do.
My stories are not comfortable. I’m out there. I try to touch down from time to time, but landing isn’t always easy. It’s neither pretty nor graceful. More often than not, I crash. But then I’m grounded. Flat out. I’m here. I’m home.
Anyway, I’m quiet. Not much of a story teller. I’m a writer. Maybe you’ll read my words; maybe you won’t. I will still write.
“TELL ME WHAT YOU PLAN TO DO WITH YOUR ONE WILD AND PRECIOUS LIFE” Mary Oliver
I don’t know what else to say. I think it takes distancing – reflection from a safe place – introspection – to fully grasp what you just went through. Get back in your comfort zone and see how far out of it you really were.
Good, you say. Glad you’re home. Seems the thing to say.
Enough of that. Let’s move on. You pull out your phone and show me a picture of another dead elk. Looks like the one you killed last year, but you tell me this one is different. You tell me the story. I try to listen. I try to care. I think about the dead elk. I think about how proud you are of one more death. I’m just back from delivering life.
Maybe these aren’t my people.
But this is my land. My frozen river. My white mountain. And my roots have tangled me tightly to life. Life here, there, where the wind blows wild.
I am not today what I was yesterday. I don’t want to be.
Don’t we all evolve? Some days it feels as the mountain erodes: slow and steady with every drop of rain, cutting, shaping, smoothing.
I am sculpted with every falling tear.
Wet and warm and crystalline. The clear blood of woman’s passionate life and the silent river from which stories are born.
And somehow it feels a little backwards. Maybe upside down.
Back to a community where I do not belong. I’ve learned to accept I’ll never be accepted. I can accept that.
Some days it feels lonely, but I’m not really alone. I have my own people, my own place. My tribe. Some closer. Some farther. My heart and soul spread wide. At least, I take comfort in trying to believe that.
And yet the trees embrace me. Cold silent silhouettes, standing like bones but still oozing energy of the untamed, pure and raw and unrefined.
In and among their ancient souls and wild ways and fallen needles, I find my place. I remember why I am here. I am home.
Stay tuned, subscribe or check back in soon. I will tell you about where I was.