Letting loose.

April 14, 2014


rose hips





flag seeds


A time of contradictions.  Harsh and raw. Revealing, emerging, exposing. An open wound.  Healing from the year before.

She has lost her hiding places.  And suddenly, she dances.

I wrote this describing spring.  But somehow it feels personal.  Maybe it is.  Interconnected as one becomes, our selves and our land. Changing with the seasons.


spring aspen up lost


spring snow 2


One day she melts, then next she is covered again as a furious spring storm blows in, lets lose its load and leaves, only to return an hour later.

Up here, we expect it.  Heavy, wet spring snow and the choice to remain indoors comes as a relief, maybe, just for one day, part of a day, and already I’m itching to get back out there.

I see now the innocence, perhaps ignorance, of my intentions.  The intimate view of my first book, exposing an open wound. What was I thinking in sharing this?  Two more of a similar vein completed, and now I find myself bled out.  I’m starting a novel now.  Nothing about me.  I’m making the damn thing up.


gunnar and forrest


bob after face plant




forrest going into snow


Trying to keep my head above water when some days I think it would be easier to just let go.  In my dreams I can breathe beneath the surface. 

Yesterday the mountain lets loose in a wild rage of passion and fury and brown waters, melting snow, exposed earth like pale flesh, and the first fertile signs of sprouting green.

The great big wash that is the great big melting of the mountain began gushing down pasture between the top layer of slushy pink snow and a bottom still of ice, a fine line from cutting deep trenches through our fragile sub alpine soils and stealing it down river.

Sun burn and sore muscles as you can’t call it quits when the air finally feels so good and the long days are hard to leave when the sun still shines.

Morning muses as the mountain thaws and soft pink spreads from the top down as the sun light emerges in the mornings. Geese on the reservoir flats, though there is little open ground.  The air is alive with birds and their songs as I feed the horses in the morning, and hear though never see those owls in the evening as I go out with the dog under brilliant stars and growing moon.

We press spring and push back her snows with Bob’s Cat and there we have mud and we’re not sure it is better or worse but it is spring and the change is always exciting.  Preparing to break ground.  Forgive me, Earth, for cutting into you as we do our best to live with you, lightly beside you. May we not take but give to each other in no other way than letting each other be.

Out on pasture with a couple of curry combs, one in each hand.  I’m going for quantity, not quality here.  Get off some of the dang mud.  Their winter coats are just beginning to shed.  Out in the wind, it becomes an inevitable pig-pen dust storm around each broad back blowing into my squinting eyes.






lb and crew


What’s coming.

April 7, 2014


leaves in thaw


A request for readers and reviewers!  Of special interest to writers and avid readers of non-fiction.  This request is on behalf of my publisher and friend, Sammie Justesen.   Wouldn’t you know?  She’s also a writer…

A select group of pre-readers willing and able to share reviews is a great help for the writer and the publisher, as well as for other readers considering this book in the future.  Ever notice how much time you take to read reviews and how much it helps you?  Your help on this one would be most appreciated by others.

I was honored to have the opportunity to read a pre-published copy, and this is what I had to say about it:

“Sammie may have set out to write about dialogue – and that she does – yet her conversation with the reader goes far beyond.  Dialogue Mastery for Writers is about writing, for writers, written by an author, editor and publisher.

I was hesitant to read another ‘how to’ book on writing.  This is not that.  Nor is it strictly about dialogue.   As a memoir and nature writer, I was attracted to Dialogue Mastery for inspiration in developing further depth in my work through the use of dialogue.  What I left with after reading Sammie’s book is a brain swimming with ideas she has generously shared based on her years of experience in all aspects of ‘the industry.’  She shows us, not just tells us, with style, humor and an easy, comfortable voice.   Her examples bring the points to life.  Sammie indeed practices what she preaches, and shares with us as reader and writer a fun to read and handy compilation based on experience and insight.”

This is a great opportunity for those of you who’d like a chance to read this book on writing, and begin a conversation with fellow writer , former agent, editor and experienced publisher, Sammie Justesen.

If you are interested, would like some more information, or just want to introduce yourself to this great woman, please write her an e-mail at: sammie@norlightspress.com .  Thanks in advance for helping out!


last years flag


A dozen winters we have watched fade from the mountain as spring slowly creeps up the thawing land.  I can’t say it really feels like it’s here yet, but if you know what you’re looking for, you see it coming.

It’s coming.


emerging aspen


Not a day goes by without the magnificence touching me.  Some days, it is overwhelming.  Stops you in your tracks and your breath is held, eyes wide, and you want to cry for the sheer splendor of it all.  Other times, softly, lightly, a little bit magical and mysterious, as this morning when the I’m out there feeding the horses in the single digits after a dusting of fresh snow came last night and clouds are still clearing , and each branch of the aspen and surface of tired snow covering the ground is twinkling as if with a thousand stars around me as the sun inches over Finger Mesa and spreads long stripes of grey shadows nearly a quarter mile long across pure white from the tall trees that stand alone across river.

Not a day goes by without appreciation.  And now, astonishment.

Interesting indeed the things we are seeing.

The swollen buds on a group of Aspen at the bottom of Elk Trail have burst open, pushing out the first of that fluff that looks like snow in June.  Only it’s April. And there is still real snow on the ground.

On an open patch of dirt a little further up the trail, the first cluster of flag poke up through the exposed damp ground covered only now with last years rot.

We snowshoe to Snowmobile Point.  That’s a lot of dead trees, I say to Bob as we stand there, leaning on our ski poles and staring.  Crazy, he replies.  There is nothing else to say.

You forget what a live one looks like and start to assume they all might be.  For if you look close enough, even the green ones don’t look so good. I would guess that this mild winter has been good for the beetles.  It will be fascinating what happens next.  Something.  Nothing stays the same.

Maybe it will look like Patagonia here some day. We agree that won’t be too bad.  We like Patagonia.


blue spruce 2


Time with my horses is still limited. For a few days there was a little mud that gave me a lot of hope for working with them soon.  That’s been since covered back up with snow.

At least I’m out there, day in, day out, every day, with them, for them.  A part for me, a part of them.  I don’t resort to automated horse handling, feed and water that the horse think just appears and I’m just some human somewhere in the distance that comes to get them when I need them.  We’re in this, on the mountain, together.  Waiting for the spring.  Waiting for shedding coats and brushing and afternoons out there together on dry ground.

What do you do with them when you have to go somewhere?  A friend asks.  I don’t, I reply.    I haven’t left the mountain in five months and that’s okay by me.  And them.  Only now we’re both ready for more.  Not leaving.  Just more up here.

They run up when I appear and kick up their heels and seem to tell me they’re angry at another snow storm and I don’t blame them. They are getting stir crazy.  They need more now than snow and steady feeding.  They want dry ground upon which to run and work to focus their energies and tire their minds, and sunshine and green grass on which to relax in the morning before hand.

Maybe it’s the longer days.  They know spring is slowly approaching.  And by the time it finally comes, will I be too busy building then to be with them?


willow leaves from last year



April 3, 2014




cinquefoil 2


cinquefoil 3


Spring winds like ocean waves roar

so far we are from the open sea

releasing brown waters of wild creeks

bringing Sedona sands in sepia skies

And leaving pink snow behind


lost trail creek


A silent red tail over the treetops camouflaged in fat flakes of falling snow.

Had I not been looking, I would not know he was there. Back upon our mountain.  I am waiting to hear his screech, the haunting cry that carries far against still frozen cliffs held back from the sun.

Snow drips from the red roof like rain.

Increasing exposure of naked earth.  Transformation from a white and grey world to one that is shades of brown.  Then all is covered again.

We are here while the bear hibernates still and elk remain in lower ground.


spring ground


Stirred up in spring winds depositing pieces from some faraway land long exposed to the elements.

And the questions of what will be, will happen and what will tomorrow bring

Are answered with maybe, possibly, who knows, and we’ll see…

And what I hear in the wind is this:

What do I have to lose?

And all I can think to reply

Is a winter’s coat.


gunnar at snowmachine point


Birthday week winds down. All my boys, well most of them, celebrated in seven days.  Gunnar, Bob, Crow, Tresjur and finally Forrest.  Time to get back to work.

We had it all planned. Finally, fencing.  My favorite spring chore, would you believe?  Not a popular preference as seen from most fences around these parts found in various stages of disrepair.  But I love it.  How could I not?  Out there with my boys, the mountain, sun and soft spring dirt.

Only it’s not dry. It’s still frozen.  Barely warm enough to hold a fence stretcher and pliers.  And another storm blows in. So this week I don’t think we’ll be working on fences just yet.




Working class.  Leisure being a choice we earn, not a life we are given.  Do we define ourselves according to our work, what we do, our “job” and how many hours we work?  These are things I’m reconsidering from a set of rules I once was taught.  I don’t know the answers, though see they are starting to change.

This is no poor-me syndrome. Don’t you see how lucky we are? You and me both, my friend. We have so much.  Maybe too much.

Life is at first a gift, and then it is ours. We work for it.  And thus we can create it to be whatever we dream.

A dear friend among the leisure class writes of his life based on “ease, health, happiness, and comfort.”

Now health and happiness hold great value, but ease and comfort?  Why?

Our bounty is earned, our rewards respected, and the possibilities are endless.  We are not bound by idle time and the need to be pleased and the fear of losing comfort.

A woman once shared a story of the brass ring she missed.  I wonder – was there only one?

In my ability to quickly stir up rage within me (for better and for worse) I’d  say scrap the tears, turn around and forge a new ring.

Don’t you see these opportunities presented with every challenge?

In theory.  For I am certain I did not and do not always when I live through them, but it sure sounds good to say.


spring snow


The last word(s):

Much gratitude to these website than mentioned The Color of the Wild this week.  I so appreciate the support and encouragement!  Thank you:

Indies Unlimited

Bestseller Bound


And… I’m very excited about this… I’ll be at the Tattered Cover in Denver in June as part of their Rocky Mountain Land Series.  If you’re from or in the Denver area, please do stop in and join us.  Time, date and location to be announced shortly.

Finally, I wanted to share this link with you.  I posted it on Facebook but don’t believe I’ve put it here, and it’s worth sharing.  It’s important.  This should be required reading for anyone who cares about Colorado and our mountains:

2013 Report on the Health of Colorado’s Forests


aspen in spring snow



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