Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Muley

The terrible wind blew itself away, so this morning, I took to the river to wander. I wanted to see what this prairie had to show me.

My friend and I grabbed some coffee and homemade banana bread and flew out the door. The state park we like to go to is just a short drive, but when we got there it seemed so far away. From everything.

There's a bench over looking the Platte River. We sat for a minute, drank our coffee from tin cups and watched the river which appeared to be moving in slow motion. We noticed that the banana bread matched the color of the landscape. The big grey sky wasn't the normal turquoise blue but the horizon went on and on, to meet one more.

"I really want to see a deer. I need to see a deer," I explained to K. It looked empty of wildlife, but we strolled the riverbank quietly and slowly in hopes of seeing something. You can't be impatient on the prairie.

We stepped on tall grasses that were flattened by heavy snow and everything around us was the color of harvest wheat and raw umber. Crunchy stems and leaves and pods stood wearily waiting for the next storm to take them down. No more fragrance in the flowers, no sweetness in the sage. Cattails were bursting out, their seeds looking like silky cotton fluff.

The night before I'd been reading my Pocket Guide To Spirit Animals. It's no surprise that the Owl plays a major role in my life. I've become accustom to what they stand for and how they've come to stay. Owl is always here. Lately though, I've been thinking about deer. I've been asking for the the stillness deer can show me. Deer are highly sensitive, and I am the same. Just like in the owl spirit world, deer are intuitive creatures. If you hang around me long enough, you will hear me boast "I am psychic."

A connection with this animal claims you have the ability to handle challenges with grace. Grace is something I don't have. Yet. I ask for gentleness the deer can offer.

Today, this prairie, this land some describe as lonely, spoke to me. Today, I felt free from my reslessness. I found the stillness I was looking for. A Mule deer and I exchanged smiles, then he gracefully moved on.



Sunday, October 20, 2013

Of Moons And Mountains And A Bear

I get excited and practically giddy when I go to Red Feather.

We park up on top, among the copper boulders that surround the Silver Moonbeam. The first thing I do when I get out of the Subaru is stand still, look everything over, scan the land, and breathe it all in.

It had snowed recently and the bunny tracks are everywhere. Some other critters' feet prints have made laps around the trailer, but I can't tell what kind. The aspen trees are standing still and bare and I don't hear a sound. Giddiness is replaced with peace.

That is why I go here. That is what I like.

It's also what I need, this wild refuge that makes me think differently. The serene and gentleness of the pines standing guard, those hoodoo rocks that seem like strong arms protecting me from the world I'm annoyed with. My ravens that always, always show up and give me a wink as they fly on by. They can read my mind.

I wonder if my owl will tell me a secret tonight.

C and I have the warmest sleeping bags! He makes sure of that. We've got a supply of handmade wool hats and beanie caps that my mom makes, base layers and smart wools and fingerless gloves and headlamps. With a stack of books and hot tea, we're settled in for a cozy night, in a vintage trailer, high in the mountains.

I wonder if Peaches is hibernating yet? The sign is still up, to be alert of the bear that's been sighted in our area. He's a big bear! It's still early, not yet winter. He's probably still looking to put on few more pounds, to thicken up his black fur coat. I didn't leave him any honey this time. And peach season is over. I hope he's fat and happy and making a den for himself. And maybe, just maybe, Peaches is a girl. I can't wait to find out next summer.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

What It Was Like

My street after the blizzard. Power lines and trees down.
The eerie sound of branches creaking & cracking all around us.
View outside my door.
That was then. This is now.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Walking Gently On The Frost

"You expected to be sad in the fall.

Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light.

But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.”

― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I Was Kicked Out Of The Park

This morning I woke up in a tent. It was cold so I built a fire and made coffee. Enjoying my cup and the quiet and the scenery, a park ranger pulled up in his jeep, got out and reluctantly told me I had to leave the campground as soon as possible because they were going to close the park.

You know, due to the shut down.

So, I finished my joe and packed up unhurriedly. I stopped to savor the canyon, the sound of the creek, the leaves on the trees, and the red dirt under my boots.

The Bighorn Canyon is stunning and full of wildlife, I wasn't ready to go yet. It was a strange feeling, having to leave the area so abruptly. It was depressing.

But, then I started thinking about my leisurely drive through the Big Horn Mountains the day before. Taking in all the changes of autumn, the fresh snow on the mountains, the lavender willows and red thickets and stopping to observe the basque sheep herders and their huge flock on the move. I started thinking about the female big horn sheep I saw on my way to the campground and the skull I found by the creek.

At least I had those thoughts to hold on to. No one could take that away.