Thursday, May 23, 2013

Renewal In A Burnt Forest

The morning was shrouded in fog. Mist hung on the singed aspen trees and the white barked limbs were laden in charcoal. The scent of smoke was still lingering, after all this time, soaked into the trunks of the trees and into replenishing the soil. Our shoes sunk into wet red clay as we assessed the damage of the fire here in Wyoming last summer. Our beautiful mountain had caught fire due to a spark from the exhaust of an ATV. Thousands of acres of ponderosa pines, aspens and prairie grasses and sage were ravaged by the flames along with a few cabins.

How happy we were to see fresh deer tracks, bear scat, woodpeckers hammering away on the aspen trees still left standing. Teeny tiny sprigs of lime green petals and delicate pastel flowers looking for all the world like cheerful stars on the ground. Flying low, a turkey vulture circled above our heads and out of a rock pile, mister fuzzy marmot showed his face, fleetingly. A yellow-green hummingbird bid us farewell, hovering and whirring in place, as we hiked on down the red dirt road.



Saturday, May 18, 2013

Age Is Just A Number


Recognize her? I'll give you a hint. She loves horses. And owls. And cats. And quiet.

She's curious and contemplative and laughs a lot. She's easy going and skittish. (Can you be both?)

You could say she has a gypsy soul.

She dresses like a hippie, with strands of turquoise seed beads, made by a friend, hanging around her neck.

Her home is on the prairie. Her longing is for the aspens.

Her family is spread far and wide, but she holds them close to her heart.

That little girl, wearing a dress with Daisies, handmade by her mother, is not five years old anymore.

She looks happy in that picture.

She still is.


It's my birthday today. No, I'm not telling you how old I am. (It's not polite to ask a lady her age!) You know that. Silly birds.


Friday, May 17, 2013

92 With Eyes Of Blue

What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.

~ Henry David Thoreau




Friday, May 10, 2013

Surely It's Spring

For two and a half months now, I've been faithfully visiting my Great Horned owl nest. Mama is always in plain view. Sometimes I'd see just her head. Sometimes, just a glimpse of her "horned tufts." On occasion, she'd be perched on a limb, preening, opening up her wings, showing off her camel colored feathers. One morning, I circled the spruce for renegade feathers, only to find a pure white downy owlet lying dead on the ground. His eyes were closed but they were enormous. He was approximately one week old. Did mama let go of him, to make room for the others? Did he fall through the branches of the nest? I was so distraught by the sight of this lifeless baby owl, I came home and did some research on why and how these kinds of things happen. I took pictures of the babe in the woods, but you would be heartbroken if I showed you, so I won't.

I went to that tree the next evening, and the owlet was still lying there underneath it. Undisturbed. I thought it was kind of strange that not a raven nor hawk had flown away with it, or some other beast prowling around the forest, wouldn't find it to be a meal.

My dark haired beauty friend K and I visited the nest the next morning and decided to give that little white owl a proper burial if he was still there. He was and we did.

And now, two months later, when we visit the nest, look who's poking their heads out? They are so ding dang adorable I can hardly stand it! Honestly, I cry a little every time I see them. Whispering out loud, I am so lucky to have this opportunity. Pretty soon they will learn to flap their wings and glide in silent flight.


I had the weekend off and I needed to get away. We hadn't been to the Siver Bullet since Thanksgiving, so it was the perfect destination, where mountain air collide with aspens. On the drive down, signs of spring were everywhere. Faint patches of snow in the prairie fields, hawks on every fence post, baby antelope hidden among the sage, and birds, birds, and more birds. I'm bombarded with bird song, and I love it!

Snow was piled up around the vintage 'canned ham', but was pretty much melted in the non shady areas. With abundant snowfall in Colorado this year, my trees look healthy and the land will have fresh, new growth. First thing's first. I made my rounds to see if I'd had any visitor's over the winter. Well, look at that! Moose tracks in all forms! This is when I do a dance...

The chipmunk, the one who practically climbs up on your lap for almonds, was there to greet us as well. Ravens flew above us and northern flickers, high in a pine, called out their song. It went something like this: wicka-wicka-wicka with rhythmic drumming.


Early the next morning, C lifted the sleeping bag covering my face, and whispered, you were a real chukker last night. Now, I know you may think that sounds endearing, like perhaps a cute nickname he's coined for me overnight. The truth is, in the middle of the night, I puked my guts out. Must have been that day-glow orange soup I got into. A lesson to be learned. Anyway, I felt perfectly fine that morning, and I was eagerly waiting for my steaming cup of Sumatra to kick in. We always enjoy our coffee high up on the hoodoos, spanning the view of Roosevelt National Forest and the high peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park. It is spectacular, to say the least. Crawling around up there, we discover some Indian bathtubs. I'm sure the Utes hung out here to bathe. Aren't they strange and inviting?

The quietness of the land consumed the rest of our day, as we lazed around reading and writing, letting the feeling of untroubledness fill my heart and mind.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Snow Bunting

Doesn't that sound like a game of some sort, that you'd play in the snow?

Well, it's not. It's a bird. A beautiful bird of the the great cold north. It's sometimes called a snowflake. I could use a bird like that, right about now. To cheer me up. To tweet tweedle dee dee a song to make me smile. Look at what happened last night? Yeah, it's pretty. And it won't last long. But, I have PLANS this weekend and snow wasn't one of the things I had in mind!

Wait a second. The sun! It's coming out! Oh, glory, the sunshine! I gotta do a dance! See ya...