Friday, June 27, 2014

Way Up High

My summer home sits way up high at 8,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. It is called "Colorful Colorado" because of the magnificent scenery of mountains, rivers and plains. There's this vintage trailer, a 1951 Royal Spartanette, all hunkered down in a pretty little aspen cove. That Silver Moonbeam keeps the rain out on days when the sky turns onimous with thunderclap. Those kinds of days are more frequent than not and they never last very long. Taking refuge inside the "tin can" is like a gentle hug. The whole interior is warm, blonde maple (or is it pine?) from top to bottom. It smells like worn wood, slightly musty, like an old bookstore, but with a hint of pine sap. After a rain, I push the little screened windows out by the lever as far as they will go and then the magic starts wafting in. It's a slight breeze, not the wind I'm accustomed to in Wyoming, but a soft sigh. Like blowing on a dandelion. It's like that. In comes the scent of Ponderosa Pine, with her red bark, the long needles, cones dripping in sticky piney goo, all that together make my senses more aware, more alive. It's the smell of moisture, how dirt smells after a rain. I smell the wildflowers, they are sweeter now, and the hummingbirds crowd around anything pink. A deep inhale, I think I'm breathing in the aspens and when I see their quivering leaves, I get chills, just a split second's worth, and I know I'm alive. I smell lavender and become calm. I see yellow petals of wild arnica and I am healed. The lupines make me smile while the pale grey and green leaves of the sagebrush, which are everywhere on this land, are bursting with the fragrance of earthy musk, drifting through the window screens, filling up the trailer. It's like an instant smudge stick, a healing and cleansing from nature, unceremoniously. Oh! All this display of color, of essence, all the beauty around us! It's enough to make you howl, like the coyote I pray to see more of. It's enough to make you scream like a bobcat. Like the twin bobcats that climb around our rocks.

Life in the Rockies. Here we are, in this secluded pocket of the world. A rather small patch at that, but, in fact, this is all anybody needs or could want. The trees, the wildflowers, the blooms, the smell of all things nature. It blends nicely with patchouli and bergamot and a splash of wind. My signature scent.













Thursday, June 12, 2014

Field Day

The Summer Day

By Mary Oliver


Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean-

the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don't know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?


Monday, June 9, 2014

Not Just A Cat

Scout was her name. I called her my gypsy cat. Wherever I went, she went. And I was always on the move. I liked nothing better than to throw a backpack of clothes in the back of my little yellow truck and hit the road. Sometimes I'd be gone for a few days. Sometimes for a season. I just let the wind carry me and the weather determined how long. And Scout was beside me on every journey. That seven toed Russian blue was my sidekick, my pal for a very, very long time. When I finally settled down, she settled down, too.

Five years ago I had to say goodbye to her. She took her last breath, in front of the woodstove, her favorite place, one winter evening. I didn't go to work for days. I cried all the time.

I miss that animal. I still think about her a lot. C and I are always reminding each other of the neat things she used to do and the pure joy she brought into our lives. You never get over it. And why should you want to?

I've got Skye now. Ironically, she is so much like Scout it's weird. Every now and then she will do something that only Scout girl would have done. I'm always saying, "Scout used to do that." And Skye LOVES to lay in front of the fireplace!

If you have a cat then you know what it's like to have them as part of your family. And if you don't have children, they are your children.

My dear friend Marie, I call her Bernard, just lost her beloved cat, Angelo Buttertoast Jones. They've been together for many years. I would bet he was her pal, too, like Scout was for me. And I'm pretty sure they shared everything together. She's hurting right now and I just want to let her know that I completely understand what she is going through.

I hope she knows she is not alone and that Angelo, that big beautiful Tabby, will always be in her heart. All of what he is and was, she can have forever.

Marie's blog is called A story nonetheless. You can read about Angelo Buttertoast Jones the Cat here.

Thanks for being here, everybody.




Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Lovely Diversion

We were headed for the Red Wall to spend the night when we got caught in the middle of an unexpected and mighty thunderstorm. Wyoming weather can change in a split second and before you know it, hail the size of quarters can dent your car and pound your windshield. It's so loud it's scary.

We did an abrupt turn around, drove away from the storm and went south. We got the map out and Plan B took us on a different road, a long dirt road that ended up in one of the prettiest places I had ever laid eyes on. The mountains were emerald green, the creek flowed clear and fast, the aspens were as tall as the Empire State Building and the pine trees were healthy and full and smelled so darn good. Our teepee tent looked like it belonged in that forest and C and I felt right at home, immediately.

Beavers make their home in these mountains, too. We had the pleasure of watching one forage around his very own pond, diving underwater for leaved branches then emerging, dripping wet, nibbling and gnawing away and then repeating these moves. We sat there for an hour watching, in awe, this luxurious little beast.

I thought by now I knew where every wild horse ran in the state of Wyoming. Their secret is out. I found you! Mustangs in all their glory. They've got thousands of acres of lushness and views and trees to duck under when they need to. There is plenty of room to buck and run and the widest blue sky hovering over them.

I'm making this herd my own. This new discovery, this land not far from my house, these wild animals that live and breathe and play, this untouched forest, was all a miracle to be found.

Detours. Gotta love 'em.