Fall rising.

September 22, 2014

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autumn on pole mountain

 

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horses on fall pasture

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If nothing else, a slide show for you, sharing progress on the house, fall color, and this beautiful world we live in with you.

Only you know me. There will be more.  I’ll get to writing, to words, to sharing, rambling… and then I’ll be here longer than I planned, when really, you know, what I should be doing is getting back to work…

(please click on individual photos to see them larger if you’d like)

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as if the trees were not enough color

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early fall behind the new cabin

 

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various shades of trees

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On building our home together.

Some days I’m tired.  I think we can’t do it. We’ll never get it closed in by serious snow fly.  We’re in over our head. What were we thinking and when will it be over.  Not another day of getting covered in sawdust and wood chips and beetle shells.

Most days, though I think this.  We’re doing it.  Ourselves.  This incredible, beautiful home on the cheapest budget you can imagine.  Yes, I’m actually very proud of that part.  I’m a cheapskate at heart, it’s true, but it’s more than that.  I’m proud that we harvested the main materials from our own land, used salvaged and surplus when we could, and are doing the work ourselves. The three of us. By us, for us.  The only paid labor was help with the foundation, a worthy start to this project.  Yes, the borrowed equipment and expert advice and occasional helping hand from good friends is always appreciated, a tremendous help, and at times, just what we need.

It’s an odd work site. Sure, there’s a dog, usually a cat, and always a goose hanging around so watch your step and check under your truck before you drive away.  Lots of visitors, which although they bring much distraction, usually bring much encouragement and support and appreciation for what we’re doing too. (And groceries, seriously, which are a blessing as we haven’t taken much time to get to town to stock up!) And I come to realize realize that it is not in spite of these kind and caring visitors and distractions, but because of them at times, that we are inspired, fueled and lightened.

I tell one that this will be the first permanent home Forrest ever had. He’s twenty one.  That’s a lot of years of fluctuation. Twelve moves in his first three years; then he lived at a kids camp, then a guest ranch.  Finally, his own place.  He’ll just have to share it with us. After all, for me, there were ten years before Forrest came into my life that I too had my fair share of stories of being homeless or a vagabond and moving around at least once a year… so I must say, having a solid foundation that we can call ours is a thrill for me too.  Interesting to note that these roots do not tie one down, but give one greater to strength to fly.  But that too is another story.

Will we make it?  Get the roof on, windows in, sealed up by serious snow fly?

Wait and see.  We’re only a month away…

(Hey Al – That beautiful bottle of champagne your brought us is already on ice!)

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construction progress to date

 

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vega fest

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brayden milling

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boys working

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log wizard

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Autumn falls heavy.  Shorter days, cooler air, longer shadows, crisper light. Wool sweaters and warm work gloves and hot coffee at lunch break. For this fleeting season our world turns  so brief but fiercely to contrasting shades of vibrant gold with earthen browns and grays.

I’m ready to move on.  We’ve been camped out since the end of May. Down by the work site in a one room cabin without plumbing or power for a light, and finally I’m ready for running water, an indoor toilet and hot shower, a kitchen sink, an electric light that all you have to do is flick a switch to get results. Sure, I love my candles, oil lamps, outhouse with a view, the sound of rain on the uninsulated tin roof of the Little Cabin, and song of the ever present Rio Grande, but it’s time. Almost. Soon, I start to hope. Maybe I’ll miss standing under the stars and the brilliant swath of the Milky Way to brush my teeth, but I won’t miss having to run out into the rain in the middle of the night to squat in the cold wet grass.

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horses on fall pasture 2

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canella

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tres

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bob and bayjura

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As you walk down the dirt drive to the cabin, the silence of the mountain embraces you, hills rise on all side like a visual symphony glowing in the autumn glory of turning aspen blending with the browning beetle killed trees, rising to the golden grasses of the late season high country above tree line and the sharp contrast before steel grey sky portending another storm.

Suddenly you are there, and you hear it. You have arrived. The Rio Grande. You are swallowed and consumed and it’s not with fear or loathing but clarity and purity and a sense of old wild ways knowing this river has been cutting its path so long before you were there, so long after you leave. And still you are seduced by the song of the river and absorbed by the eternal hum of autumn’s swollen course painted with dirt from higher grounds, blending our world with that of some place I have never been, so many places, down river, eight miles away, a hundred, or down to the Gulf of Mexico.

This is not the angry roar of spring melt out you hear but heavy rich milky waters bringing a melancholy song of primordial longings as the geese fly over head in formation in the early morning, and my meant to be wild one but oh-so-tame Rikki remains firmly planted in my front yard.

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rikki and forrest

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rikki on slabs

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gunnar

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Heavy rains in an early fall storm.  Finally some time to sit and catch up on correspondence and business and never enough time to write before heading back out there in between storms, grateful it’s only rain.  Winter is coming…

Between early mornings and those blessed rain storms, I managed time to reach my personal goal/deadline of finishing a revised copy of my third manuscript.  I am pleased. Now onto the next!

Meanwhile, the guest cabins are full, main camp is bustling, some wonderful folks around enjoying the fall color, to be followed by the camaraderie and excitement of hunting season, followed by the late season calm for the select few tourist game enough to give it a go before our world turns white… And then… Oh, don’t ask. Not now.  One thing at a time.  Today presents plenty.  More than enough.  Better yet, just right!

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grass seed

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cinquefoil

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aspen leaves

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untouched fall color

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As for book business…

I just received the good news that Barnes and Nobles has accepted The Last of the Living Blue.  This is a thrill and honor.  From what I understand, unlike Amazon who accepts all books (and sells the most too), B&N carefully review all books and watch progress of sales and interest before taking you on.  So this is great news for me, and I hope you might help by checking to see if your local B&N might be one of the select stores to carry my books – and if they do not, perhaps with your request, they will!

Much gratitude for the wonderful review of The Last of the Living Blue shared on Amazon and Goodreads by acclaimed author Gwendolyn Plano.

Finally, special thanks to friend and fellow horseman and blogger, Julian of White Horse Pilgrim, for actually coming (over the ocean and through one enlightening journey across this country) to visit us and our wild mountain.  As you can imagine, the world seemed a little smaller, closer and more comfortable when shared with good friends, good horses, and good food together!  Here are some of the photos Julian took of our work and shared. Thank you, my friend!

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julian 1

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julian 3

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julian 8

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julian 2

 

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julian 4

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A farewell to summer days.

August 23, 2014

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morning fog on pole mountain

 

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rikki in rio 2~

A farewell to summer days.

 

Time

of the turtle

we withdraw where

in silent spaces

Darkening days we learn

to breathe

within or is it

 

beneath the surface

Return

to the cocoon

From which we emerged

Soothed by the sound of rain

the promise of browning grass

as the high country pales and fades

 

Washed over

with a wave of returning stillness

consuming

as a cloud enwrapping

the veil of early morning

silhouettes of what will be

 

maybe it is the

winds and waters which

hold me

when what I thought

embracing me

was something more solid

 

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seeds 2

 

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seeds~

 

A poem in progress.

Words evolving as we do with life.

 

Yeah, I know.  I could leave it and settle for “good enough.”

But good enough is not good enough.

If you only live once, live as fully as you can.  Be the best person you can be.  Do the best work you can do, and share the best of yourself.

A good reminder from Mother Teresa:  “People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway. If you do good, people may accuse you of selfish motives. Do good anyway. If you are successful, you may win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. People who really want help may attack you if you help them. Help them anyway. Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt. Give the world your best anyway.”

We can’t expect others to be nice, use manners, play fair… All we can do is be the best person we can be.

Learn to trust.  Sure, you’ll get burned.  Get over it and try again.  Practice makes perfect.   Not trying gets you no where.

Take the blame if need be – Let someone else be the one to pass it on.  Something too heavy for them to carry will only make you stronger.

It’s not just “the new generation.”  It’s the old farts, too.  And plenty of us finding ourselves in the middle ground.

Oh, the disappointment of human beings.  My self included.

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fading flower

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Notes to self.

This morning, I thought I’d share them with you.

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rainbow over outhouse

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I have been meaning to share with you my friend, Teri’s blog: http://myeverydayphotos.wordpress.com/

Teri is a talented professional photographer from Washington State’s beautiful Methow Valley.  What many of you might be most interested in this.  Considering the devastation, sadness, fear and almost a sense of personal violation so many of us here in Colorado experienced over the past years (and presumable in years to come as well) while wildfires rages around us (last year’s Papoose Fire/West Fork Complex Fire is described intimately in The Last of the Living Blue), this year it has been the Methow Valley hit hard.  Teri’s words and powerful images tell the story better than I shall try to.  If you have a moment, please see Teri’s work here.

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a piece of grandfather tree~

 

boys building

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construction progress~

 

A Personal Challenge… and a few random thoughts on a rainy day.

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aster

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This past week brought…

  • Rain every day.
  • Completion of the first floor walls.
  • A bear on our deck.
  • Our goose in the air. (I did not specify gracefully…)

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rikki

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At the same time, two dear friends are diagnosed with cancer; a third with pregnancy.  The first two I truly believe will bravely battle, eloquently conquer and be triumphant while friends and family grow closer in support.  The third, well, the lifetime of an up and down roller-coaster ride of frustration, exhaustion, endurance, sleepless nights and the most intense selflessness, beauty, love, compassion and comprehension one may ever experience that becoming a mother entails (adoptive of course included) … it is just beginning!

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columbine

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Thoughts blur and swirl while looking through streaked glass panes at brown waters swelling down the muddy road.  Clothes hung indoors alongside cast iron pans by the wood cook stove to dry while the dog lies right beside it.  Sticky, heavy boots left just outside the door.  White noise of loud rain pounding on the metal roof does not quite my mind.

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aspen

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I am working on personal improvement.  Seems like I always am.  There’s plenty of room for improvement, and hopefully a long lifetime to keep me busy.  Why would I not want to be the best I can be?  Why would I not want to better myself and my world?  Seriously, who truly believes “good enough” is good enough?  I’ve never strived for mediocrity.  I want a great life.  And no one can make it that way but… me. One can accept the middle ground if that’s their thing. It’s not mine. I encourage you to not sit back and accept it either.

This is not therapy. That’s a topic I tend to stay away from.  Today can be scary enough!  Looking back, figuring out the reasons why… maybe some day…  but today, my hands are full.

We all can blame someone else for our own misery, lack of love, lack of success, (fill in the blank), because surely it’s not MY fault.

Except, sometimes it is.  And that sometimes might just be now.

When we start to accept responsibility for ourselves and our actions and our lives, we can begin to make changes.

Life is all about change.

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So… with this in mind, I present to you one simple step towards self improvement:

The Thirty Day Internet Limit Trial

For the next thirty days, we have committed to the following:

  • One ten minute e-mail/internet check before exercises, cooking and breakfast.
  • One five minute check after cleaning up.
  • One ten minute check at lunch break.
  • One ten minute check after work.
  • A little more time to surf the web, do research, check weather, touch base on social media, whatever… after dinner. (See, we eat so late, this won’t last too long for me, as I’m ready for bed right after we eat!)

Still sounds like a lot, doesn’t it?

I justify this much as we have no phone service, so this is a reasonable compromise which allow us to keep in touch, run our business, do our work, and do all those fun things we’ve learned to love – and can’t seem to live without – on the internet, without it ruling our lives.

See, I swear we got to the point where the computer was always open just in case some important news came in and surfing social media became a brainless break for the boys no better than TV (which Forrest never had, and Bob had to give up when he married me).  It became a crutch, and a waste of time at best.  At worst, something which made us emotionally distraught (well, that might just be me…).

Maybe it’s worse for many. The folks texting during meals, posting what they eat for all to see, and interrupting face-to-face conversations because they are or the matter is so important they just have to respond now.  We’re not that bad, but worse than I’d like to be. Maybe you do worse, and maybe you don’t care.  We do, and we’re doing something about it.

Thought I’d share this with you for two reasons. First, because those of you who might just realize you have a problem, you might just want to do something about it, too. Go ahead. Try it.  Just for thirty days. See if you survive!

I’m also telling you this too to give you fair warning:  you may not get an instant response from  me if  you write.  You probably won’t see much from me on Facebook unless I’m sharing book news or business.  I’ll only be blogging once a week – which is about what I’ve managed to reduce my blogging to now a days anyway. (Instead I make my posts looooooonnnnng.  Go figure.)

So, today begins the trial. We’ll see how it goes.  I’m hoping it may help in two ways – mental peace and more time to do more positive things.  As an added bonus, maybe it will also improve communications, team work, and productivity as my husband and son are joining me.

Want to give it a try?

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grass

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In the meanwhile… life goes on… back on the ranch… back to the mountain.

The rains bring on the change of season, heavy and thick it hangs in the air with clouds lingering on her side like little children clinging for comfort.

Arousing the state of dormancy.

One season begins to bow. Another approaches.  Anticipation as the land tires and leaves fade and summer sounds are washed away in the steady rains. Mushrooms flourish in withering land and light.  And I wonder what the tree squirrel will eat this winter without a pine cone in sight. Such are the things which trouble me.

She begins her long slow deep exhale

And with her, I breathe in unison.

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leaf in puddle

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I need to remember this one, as I have believed it but thought perhaps I was wrong:

Wendell Berry: “I’ve known writers — I think it’s true also of other artists — who thought that you had to put your art before everything. But if you have a marriage and a family and a farm, you’re just going to find that you can’t always put your art first, and moreover that you shouldn’t. There are a number of things more important than your art. It’s wrong to favor it over your family, or over your place, or over your animals.”

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early fall flower

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Ecobiography.

What a wonderful word. Eco-biography.

Think about it.  Hold it in your hand, roll it around in your mouth, savor it.

A story about person and place, and the intimate intertwining of the two.

Author, farmer and activist Kayann Short coined the term.  In her review of The Last of Living Blue on her blog, Kayann honored my work with this term.  Ecobiography.  A phrase I am honored to write about; a new genre I am proud to be a part of.

For more on Kayann, her writings, her farm and the art of the Ecobiography, please be sure to tune in on Friday to Colorado Public Radio (CPR) for Random Acts of Culture.

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It’s about slowing down…  I enjoyed the opportunity to write a guest post for fellow author/blogger C.M. Mayo (for those who saw this, you’ll note I didn’t get it right the first time, but just one more excuse to keep on writing!  I finally got it, and Madam Mayo posted this on her blog last week.  I hope you enjoy.

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lost trail ranch

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That’s all she wrote this week.  Until next time…

And don’t forget to consider giving it a try… Stay away from the darned internet, and see what happens…

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