Colorado

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from finger mesa

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aspen with snow and sunrise

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bayjura

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You wake to the smell of the familiar lover you find yourself next to in the blinding sun of early morning spreading across the pillows like spilled milk and you wonder how on earth you got your self in this position again.

Place in parts.  The individual intimate parts of the land you know.  Some say “like the back of my hand” but I liken it more to knowing the back of your lover’s hand. Or back of his neck, the soft spot under his arm, the muscles, the moles, the curls of hair and prick of untrimmed toe nails.  Knowing the land as you know the lover, a shared intimacy that comes with time and touch and silence and lying down together waiting for something or nothing to happen.  And is it these private insights that change your relationship from lust to love.  From sightseeing, to being at home.  From being an observer, to being a part, blending, belonging.

At first it is the big picture that pleases the eye, draws you in as the sultry dancer seduces with waving silks and swaying hips, and you stand there mesmerized but too afraid to touch.  Time passes. You begin to see closer.  Flaws, imperfections, rolls and wrinkles. Beauty when the veils are dropped and the land remains raw and real and exposed as the leafless trees of early spring and attraction is not as bright but must be felt perhaps more than seen.  This has happened here.  I wonder if it will happen there.

Another beautiful day in paradise. Another beautiful place.  From one to another.  Here, there, No, it is not all the same.

Paradise lost and found.  There if you’re looking but if you look too hard, say, for something specific, the big picture or the sudden change or the answer to all your problems, you may only find disappointment. Who knows what you’ll find?

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beetle kill along lost trail creek

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beetle kill reflections

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lost lakes

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A river of tears

cutting

through a crying land

I had forgotten the tremendous loss of life that spreads around me here, a skeleton’s cold embrace, and am told to see only the green but half my world is turning brown. And sadness, loss, despair are no less part of life.  The part we too often feel or are told “it is best” to brush under the carpet.  Until we begin to see the carpet bulge. The hillsides turning brown.  Dare we lift and look in earnest or do we prefer to wear those blinders and see only what we want to, what we are told to see?

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pole may 2

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pussy willow

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reservoir

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Every day this week rain, hail, snow and sun.  A year in a day. Every day.  Here is Colorado.  Where we’ve had snow every month but July, and even then have dodged snow banks or crossed drifts lingering from the season before while horseback in the high country. The world above tree line where air is as thin as skimmed milk and the sun as intense as wild fire.

Colorado.

Where our pasture is shared with an equal number of working horses and wild elk and they graze comfortably together.

Where moose droppings are left outside the outhouse.

Where warmth is rare.  Mid day for maybe a month and still those nights will bring a chill.

This morning the smell of damp earth. Familiar earth.  Earth on which I have birthed and buried, laughed and cried.  Land on which I’ve built a home, raised a child, fallen in love, and seen seasons come and go and familiar faces do the same and where I’ve felt unwelcome in my own home for far too long and stories swell like stormy waters I never meant to navigate and I am still just looking for a place to belong.

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rio grande and pyramid

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aspen buds

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canela

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Seeing signs.  I suppose we see what we want to see.  Sometimes we look for confirmations.  At least I do.  I take a pen and little notebook in my jacket pocket every day when I hike or ride.  You never know when inspiration strikes, and I’ve found it’s quite likely when out clearing my mind.  I’m hiking along the trail across river where the snow banks still remain hidden from the sun.  I’ve gone far enough for today.  I’m supposed to meet the boys back at the bridge for a mate.  I’m already late.  You know how it is once you get going. Sometimes you go too far. At least, that’s known to happen to me. So, I’m maybe a third of the way back, back tracking.  Inspiration strikes.  I reach for my pen and find only a new hole in my old pocket.  Damn it, that pen could be anywhere.  Think about it.  It could be back up the trail, or anywhere between here and home.  I take maybe a half dozen steps and there, no more than ten feet from where I noticed it missing, is my pen in the middle of the trail, waiting for me to write the words I did not want to forget.

Another sign.  I tell myself what I have so many times before.  Leap and the net appears.  Only this time it is scary. I guess it usually is, but more often than not we can only see the situation directly before us and forget about the challenges we tackled six months ago, the last time we leaped.  Anyway, this time it involves my career.  Writing, representation, selling myself, or not, and I hate this part and had been hoping it was taken care of at least for now, only I sort of knew that wasn’t really the case because I was going against my personal beliefs by working with someone I didn’t like working with because I was pretty sure he didn’t like working with me.  My ego is too fragile for that.

Stay safe and don’t risk change and remain exactly where you are even though you know where you are is not where you belong.  Or… leap.

Well, what do you think I did?  I wrote my agent and told him it was time to change.  So once again I tell myself, leap and the net will appear.  Only instead, on this afternoon’s hike, I’m thinking about this, a little bit scared and a lot bummed out, and a feather appears in the middle of the trail where I happen to be walking.  And not just any feather, but a hawk feather.  And I’m guessing “my” hawk who came back to visit us so late in the season last year after the ground had been covered with white and the other such birds had long since left.

This was the sign I needed.

Leap, and maybe the answer will be even better than falling into a net.  Maybe, just maybe, you’ll spread your wings and learn to fly.

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snow on cedar post

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snowy willows in morning

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open water snow on bridge

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our cabin in morning snow

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morning snow

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elkslip spring flower

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5 thoughts on “Colorado

  1. Well, here I am in tears again, joyful ones that came along with the instant chill bumps when the feather appeared. I feel uplifted just reading about it and am reminded of the feather that was at my feet on our hike last year…it is in a vase on my desk that I see everyday. Now, when I see it I will be reminded that we all can spread our wings and fly, if we only give ourselves a chance and have enough faith.

  2. I think I will write you a personal letter regarding this post. Ashley and I always returned to CO in May and left in November, just before Sky’s birthday. Our ranch, in CO, was no higher than 7,000 ft and your’s is at 10,000. It always took me a month to readjust in both hemispheres. I miss Crystal Island Ranch, and all it’s animals, and equally miss Ranquilco. CO is your home, you may choose to change. As you say, love the one you are with…and you do. Transitions…I love you, Gin. Ginny, the Patagonia Pearl.

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