A long story

the rio grande at ute creek


Still fat and bright flooding the kitchen sink is the waning moon
as I run water to fill the percolator in the otherwise dark kitchen.

You can hear the rooster up early and footfall of the horses by the back door
stepping on the dry packed snow like crunching bags of chips.
They’ll wait there for me as if their presence might urge me to hurry up
and feed them sooner and I suppose in a way it does.


aspen leaf in snow


Another empty promise.

The cloud cover cleared and if I look up and away from where the moon is nearly blinding
I can see stars brilliant in their assumed mystery penetrating through what may be infinity.

Another hope of storm comes and goes and leaves us with nothing.


rio grande reservoir


The coffee pot now heating over the pale blue flame of the propane burner
as I feel my way across the room to the wood stove
no frills model
nothing fancy
just a big iron box to fill with wood and heat this cabin we built of logs and love.
I bend and stack and light and wait as I have so many mornings before
this ritual primal and grounding and simple yet sings with such wild mystery

like stars in the dark sky.


looking back at lost trail ranch


What matters? What matters most to me? I tell myself to stop being so selfish. How hard not to think of “me.”

What matters most? Look at the big picture. Step outside. Not just the door. The comfort zone.

Do I dare stand alone naked on the mountain top and let the wind whip my flesh?

And wonder if my eyes are really open or am I dreaming, only to wake and find myself back where I was yesterday. Nothing changed. Like most of the lives I see.

So hard to see, to know, to understand. Something about compassion. Seeing beyond this view that could be a fairy tale of sorts except I never read one with characters living like us before.


gunnar over lost lakes


I guess it started with my dog. At least that was the first sign I clearly saw. When I heard maybe it would be best to leave him behind. Best for whom? Of course the first thought through a mother’s mind. And then… what’s wrong with having him a part of the picture you painted? And therein lies the problem because the picture is not quite as it was painted. OK, so it’s going to be rather different. But the dog will still be a part of it.

Lets go back to talking about my dog. Gunnar. He is not easy. That’s a good way to put it. And yet, consider this: who ever said “easy” was “good” probably never learned a whole lot. About dog training, horse training, relationships, cooking, dancing and love…

On one hand, he is independent, confident and mighty strong of will. My mother while visiting us recently watched him and laughed at me. She said something about “what goes around, comes around.” Was this what I was like as a child?

On the other hand he lives life full. With gusto. Nothing half way. He loves with abandon, plays with such zeal, and when he gets a whiff of a coyote, becomes the epitome of Big and Bad.

He has an agenda all his own which has drawn me to resort to tricks, treats and leashes where I used to just trust my dog would be right here, and he was. Those were the other dogs. Not Gunnar. He who does not see the point in sticking to the trail when he’s already been that way. He may have a point there. Though perhaps I am more like my horses and find comfort staying on familiar trails. And then again, maybe I am not.

On this journey we’re preparing for, he has a role. I’m not sure what, besides complicating things for everyone on one hand. And on the other, I’m there keeping my promise and caring for him as I know no one else can. They might think they could, but I swear I wouldn’t do that to a friend.

Perhaps he is with us to be grounding. To slow us down, because I’m not good at sitting still, but know I need to learn. And really, he can do that too.

Slow me down. Side track. What’s the rush? Stop to walk the dog. Run with him or wrestle, because no dog I’ve ever known is willing to take you on like this guy will happily do. And he does make me happy. Lets me be happy. I wish I was wiser and allowed myself to be so silly when Forrest was still a child. I was Mama Bear and Papa Bear all by myself, all rolled into one, during what could have been the playful years. It was all I knew. Balance and letting go from time to time were things I could not do. I think he forgives me and knows I tried.

Ah, one of those born wiser than the generation before. I’ve met a few like that. I was forewarned when he was still within me. My pregnancy was spent working in a wood shop with a bunch of guys that were so clueless about women, all of them single and for good reasons. And then here is this skinny hippy chick with the growing belly. Quite the odd man out. They were good to me in their own way. Which was the way lots of guys are good in the “stand back and give her some space” kind of way. “Just don’t make her mad…” You know the sort.

Well, one of them, Justin, was waiting for the aliens to take him away to a better place, and in the meanwhile, he lived in a communal earthship just outside of Santa Fe along with a few others, waiting. He smoked his beedies and smelled of clove and did yoga and drank pureed grass. He painted, and he’s the one who told me Forrest was way beyond me, and I did then and still do believe him, though of course at that point Forrest was still months away from seeing daylight, tucked safe and warm in that beast of a belly growing behind my overalls.

And he, this one born wiser than me, writes me this morning with the greatest wisdom I could want to hear. “…intentions are good, but health may definitely affect the direction of everything … So maybe your job will be a little different, but still… it seems amazing for all involved.”  Really, who needs to hear more?  He is right, you know. If you’re brave enough to give it a try. I think I am.

You’re probably wondering what the job will be, our plans are, where we’re going and what we’re doing. Trust me, I’m wondering too, but I know a little more than you, so I suppose I should share some of that.

It started on a feeling. Those can be the things that get you in trouble, I know. But they can also be the things that change everything.  I am ready for change.

For two months I had this ad on my desk beside my computer. A job in Patagonia. But nothing about it was right for me, for us. Sounded great for a  young, weathy, carefree thing. I am none of the above. Finally I write, saying I am not the right person, but for some reason, I couldn’t get this off my mind. And there the connection blooms quick like if you plugged in a light and the power just spread… She was looking for a writer… to write her memoirs. Sound like anyone you might know? That would be me! And what a story she has for me to put into words!

You know what I love to say: Leap and the net appears!

So we agree, make plans to be there for four months, hubby and dog and me, room and board for my writing. It’s all falling into place perfectly. Oh my, a remote, off grid, beautiful place with horses. Sound like any other place you know? Right. Here. Weird, eh?

Sounds too good to be true and maybe it is or was but it’s not going to be like that. Maybe, just maybe, it is going to be even better. Better for us. Maybe not you, because maybe you’re still looking for a pretty place and that’s enough for you. But I’m looking for more. Something deeper, richer, more meaningful than a pretty view or a pretty face.  I’ve got all that here!  And I am finding it all.  There.  Topping the list:  point and purpose. Then there is a brilliant person to learn from, live with, help out. An adventure unlike anything I have ever done. And a darned good story to boot.

I’ll explain it all more clearly in time. I know this is already far too much for one sitting. But I have to share this with you first, and then I’ll let you be. This from a letter I sent to a friend:

For two weeks, I’ve had this odd feeling in my stomach. I could not tell if it was strictly physical, or if it was emotional/spiritual taking a physical manifestation. Since it was just a nagging feeling, not pain, I kept assuming the latter, but could not “get” the message. Seems like things were/are going so well.

It got so strong. Again, not painful, just would not go away to the point that I was constantly aware of it, could not ignore it, and it seemed to affect my breathing as if I needed to breath stronger and deeper, which up here at almost 10,000 feet elevation is going to be a challenge no matter.

Well, last night I got a letter telling me we’ll be living on the outskirts of town and travelling around and acting in a position of caretaker/caregiver I did not feel either capable of, nor what I signed up for.  And we won’t be out at the ranch. And I’m thinking, wait, we’re really quiet folks used to very remote, I’ve not lived near town in twenty years, and I have Gunnar, I just don’t know, this is a big change from what we originally planned. And what about the writing? Writing this book – is that still the focus? I thought that was my calling and the greatest gift I could give.

Bob and I talked it over while we lay in bed at night and decided.  We would do it no matter. There are many reasons, but one of the most basic is something to do with trust and love. That got us into this situation. We have to continue based on that.

Besides, if we were to remain, we would be bored. Yes, bored. Even here. Think of it this way: we’ve been here, done that. Same old/same old. We’re too comfortable now, and we’re too young still to be ok with comfortable. You might think it’s neat, but we’ve done this. Yesterday. Many yesterdays.  We built it, dug it, cut it down, birthed it, trained it and /or dreamed it. Sure, we’re proud of it. But we need not be so attached to it that we can not see beyond, and find a little more depth and meaning. It’s that point and purpose thing. That matters. What’s the point and purpose of holding onto the shallow surface? Dive in!

Anyway, that’s what we decided. And this morning when I woke, there was another letter explaining the situation further. It was beautiful. And the crazy thing is, through all of her explaining all of her problems, she is the most brilliant, bright being. As she said, “I might be losing my eyesight, but not my vision.”

The journey may be taking on a slightly different path than we expected. But maybe, just maybe, it is a greater one.

Oh, and that feeling in my gut?

It’s gone.


last summers growth


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