LIfe at High Altitude in Colorado

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.

-Edward Abbey, naturalist and author (1927-1989)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Strangers and Turkeys

Mary recently sent me this poem by Margaret Tsuada:

On the street we two pass
I do not know you.
I did not see
if you are --

If we should pass again
within the hour,
I would not know it.
Yet --
I am committed to
love you.

You are part of my city,
my universe, my being.
If you were not here
to pass me by,
a piece would be missing
from my jigsaw-puzzle day.

I saw a coyote while biking through
a posh city neighborhood.
It was slinking along the side of a mansion.
I didn't stop to worry it - just kept pedaling after my husband.

Later, on the paved trail next to the Platte River,
three wild turkeys strutted.
They stopped at a tree with low branches and JUMPED
at least a foot or more off the ground
to snag red tassels hanging from the limbs. 
A turkey jumping looks very comical indeed.
They weren't too concerned when I stopped for a couple quick photos.

I've been thinking of the jigsaw puzzle of my days since reading that poem.
Mostly, I don't meet wily coyotes or wild turkeys,
just ordinary people -
strangers passing
but perhaps leaving
an unknown but unique
contribution to my day.

Do you like to people-watch?
Do you make up stories about what you see?
I wonder what stories people create about me!

I fly to Arizona on Tuesday.
I'll definitely be people-watching!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Taking Time for Small Pleasures - Our World

Recently, I took a few weeks to rediscover the stillness within myself.
The computer and the TV remained silent. 
I noticed the simple charms of everyday life.
The mundane transformed into the extraordinary.

I realized the curve of my lips - 
up or down -
determines the nature of my day.

I clipped this quote several years ago:

"The best reason to take your time is that this time is the only time you'll ever have. You must take it, or it will be taken from you. It is telling that the phrase "taking your time" is synonymous with slowing down. If we want to live life fully, we do best to slow down. I don't suggest that we turn back the clock, trying to retrieve a bygone era when life was slower. We couldn't, even if we wanted to. But I don't believe we should want to. We should revel in our electronically supercharged, unbounded world. But, to make the most out of this new world, to avoid feeling overbooked, overstretched, and about to snap, to make modern life become better than life has ever been, a person must learn how to do what matters first. Otherwise, you will bulldoze over life's best moments. You won't notice the little charms that adorn each day, nor will you ever transform the mundane into the extraordinary."    excerpted from Crazybusy by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D.

It snowed 15" (38 cm) in Breckenridge overnight.
I'm leaving the mountains for an adventure very soon.
I'll warm my body and spirit in the desert of Arizona with my friend, Mary.
I'll take time to enjoy small pleasures.

Meanwhile, maybe you'd share one of your small pleasures with me.
What's been happening lately in your world that has made you smile?

Our World

(PS I've updated the book review page.)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spring Break

spring break
playing with grandchildren
takes priority

no time for the computer
when I can be outdoors

see you in a little while

(comments closed)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Looking Back - Why Blog?

I started blogging in November of 2008.
At first, I kept the blog private, visible only to family and a select group of friends. 
My posts were like stones thrown into a deep well:
they sank from view with barely a ripple.

first photo I ever posted - footstep on the trail - from Nov 2008

I began reading other blogs.
I found a few I really enjoyed.
However, it took me awhile to get up the nerve to comment.
Finally, I decided to throw caution to the wind.
I opened my own posts to the public.

Waldo, my Tree Nymph, winter 2009

Today, I feel I "know" people from all over the world.
I count them as friends.
I communicate with them both on their blogs and by E-mail.
Some, I've met face to face.
Others, I wish I could meet.
I miss those who decide to stop blogging.

Angelica, the garden angel, and Lucinda B. Rabbit, summer 2010

Blogging is like having lots of pen pals but has instant gratification.
It's hard to explain the blogger connection to people who don't blog.
I think of my family and my "real" friends daily,
I also send positive thoughts to those I know only through the internet.

traveling with my husband, Cape Kiwanda, OR, spring 2011

I know it seems odd, the connections we bloggers make.
You hear horror stories about social media:
how the internet becomes a tool for the unscrupulous. 
I review comments before publishing.
However, I get very little spam.
I made a rule early-on not to publish comments containing links.
That seems to work for me.

family ski day, winter 2012

I have a quirky group of blog pals.
They encompass different ages, include both sexes, have varying interests, and live divergent lifestyles. I usually decide to follow a blog if I enjoy the writing, admire the  photography, or just get a feeling that I "like" the person and/or could learn from her/him. I never follow publicly - I do so only by adding the url's of blogs I want to read to my dashboard. I don't use the followers gadget on my own blog, and this sometimes confuses people who would like to follow me. I suggest they do so by using the "add" feature on their dashboard and pasting in my url.

in the desert with girlfriends, spring 2013

I wonder about other bloggers.
How do you choose which blogs to follow?
What are your favorite topics for your own blog?
Is your blog controversial, opinionated, or confrontational?
Do you ever wonder if it's weird to share your thoughts and ideas
with people you don't really know?
What makes you keep blogging?
(Unfortunately, I know many who have quit.)

from my house to yours - wishing you well
sunset, Tenmile Range, winter 2014

I hope you keep posting!
If you're reading this, you may already be one of my blog friends.
You're important to me.

These photos show some moments in my blogging life from 2008 to present
featuring my favorite (non-controversial) blog topics:
nature, family, friendship, travel, photography, and my environment
(all post-edited in Snapseed, Waterlogue, and Titlefx)

Thank you for visiting and commenting!

Friday, March 14, 2014

I Was Wondering - Random Five

Five Random Thoughts:

1. Do foods have aestheticians and publicists? If so, I want the person who did the makeover on kale and quinoa to work on my image. I'd fire whoever is dropping the ball on corn and wheat.

2. Morning shadows make me look skinny. I always attempt to photograph myself in the best light. (This is what my publicist has advised.)

3. Lucinda B. Rabbit is alive and well. She is busy teaching her philosophy of, "It's good to be bad" and "A little naughty is nice" to our sweet, impressionable grandson, Sam (18 months). Please, no autographs - she asks you to contact her publicist for any personal requests. I'm sorry - this is Lucinda speaking - not me!

4. Light makes a big difference to my well-being. There is a lemony quality to the light as the sun is warming the tops of the trees. It makes me pucker my lips into a smile.

5. I love books and reading. I updated my Book Review page yesterday. I was surprised to learn I've already read 16 books in 2014. (Actually, 17 - I finished one last night that I haven't yet reviewed.) I mostly read in the evening after dinner. Do you have a special time of day when you like to curl up with a book? I definitely choose reading over TV. 

Thank you to my friend, Nancy, who hosts

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Tease of Spring at High Altitude

in March at high altitude
spring and winter play
a tug of war

top of Chair 6, Peak 8, Breckenridge

sunshine, blue sky, and temperatures 10 degrees above freezing
beckoned us onto ski slopes

Bob looking toward town (9,600') from top of T-Bar (12,200')

when sun shines on mountain peaks
warmth trickles into our bodies

Barb, top of T-bar, Peak 8

we pretend that spring is just around the corner

remember when I hike up Horseshoe Bowl in the summer?
the wildflowers are always magnificent
here's the steep winter view of ski trails and town

massive mountains
undulating into the distance
warmth of sun on our faces
clouds casting shadows into valleys

ridge leading to Whale's Tail, off Imperial Chair, 12,840'

for a little while it seems that spring has arrived early

until we wake to a new day of wind and snow
Waldo's smile greets a chilly dawn

winter remains the victor
in this high altitude tug of war
(353" 896 cm) of snow so far this season)

The month of March signals spring break crowds descending on Breckenridge. Surely, the whole state of Texas is here! We've had a record snow season enticing visitors from around the world. Somehow, yesterday, we managed to avoid lift lines. It helps to ski up high and know the terrain. We have a great time playing in the snow, whether it decides to be winter or spring. I'm confident that warmer weather will arrive - eventually...
In the meantime, ski season is far from over!

iPhone photos edited in Snapseed
first photo edited in Waterlogue

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tracks Tell a Story

new snow is a blank page
a fresh story to write

breaking trail through the forest
animal tracks tell a tale

the cow moose and her grown calf still travel together
they meander through the trees, peeling bark from the aspens
the snow is too deep to forage for ground cover

rabbit hops from the burrow
furtively searching for food
that is in short supply

fox stays a straight course
hunting through the night
before returning to the den

my skis make their marks
climbing beside red-barked pines

a pristine page before me
I glide through white

heading toward home
(I must climb down to the deck - snow is above the rails)

some of you have asked to see before and after photos
when I use the Waterlogue app
here are two photos that I used previously in this post:

open water - Lehman Creek

winter wonderland

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Renewal in Solitude

I crave solitude.
Alone in the forest or by water,
I feel renewed.

my ski trail through the forest

On my old touring skis, I was having difficulty getting up after falling.
I'm not supposed to strain and struggle because of my heart.
Remember - I did tear my artery by floundering in deep snow.
I recently bought new touring skis that I can get into and out of easily.
I've been venturing into the forest alone once again.
It's wonderful having the freedom to explore by myself.

can you hear the quiet?

I understand that I can have it both ways.
I have a husband who is my life partner/best friend.
I have an extended, loving family.
I have close relationships with dependable friends.

But, I also enjoy precious interludes of solitude.
Are you satisfied with your own company?
Do you enjoy being alone?

Tenmile Range in winter

(iPhone 5 photos edited with Waterlogue - my new favorite app.)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Some Randomness on a Friday

Tomatoes make a colorful still life tableau in winter.
Perhaps I'll try letting a few on the vine after frost next fall.
These are brightening some outdoor urns at Denver Botanic Garden.

Sam thinks this lady needs a snowsuit
(this photo from Breckenridge)

I'm in Denver for a few days - it's gusty and cold.
Yesterday, when there was a little new snow on the ground,
I saw 2 different men biking with no coats.
One was wearing a thin cotton shirt.
Bundled in my layers, I shivered for them.
(And wondered where their common sense had gone.)

It just keeps snowing in Breckenridge.
The swing is nearly buried.
I dream of sitting there, lazily moving to and fro,
wildflowers blooming around me.
Luckily, I have a vivd imagination.

Last night my Grandson performed in The Stone Soup Opera.
Watching him, I thought of my son when he was 6 -
focused, earnest, eager -
these traits are continuing in a new little boy.
I smile with love and  pride.

I like angles.
Interesting shapes and patterns and colors draw my attention.
I'm reading a book just now filled with nuance (A Tale for the Time Being).
Using words and photos to reflect more than the literal is pleasing to me.

Thanks to my friend, Nancy, for hosting

(all photos iPhone 5, edited in Snapseed and TitleFx)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Endless Winter at High Altitude

each day we wake to new snow

quiet gifts
sounds muted
crunch of skis
swish of wind 
creak of branches

dense sanctuary of white
powdery paradise

kick and glide, kick and glide
body, breath, beating heart

perfect synchronicity

it's peaceful in the backcountry
breaking trail with new touring skis
following fox tracks through the forest
keeping an eye out for moose
exhilarating in the moment

special birthdays this month:

Barb S in blue coat and me - ready to ski the steep and deep

our dear friend Barb S celebrated her 77th

Ben skiing Peak 6, Breckenridge

our twin grandchildren Ben and Amanda are now 11

thank you for your special prayers, positive thoughts, and good wishes
a health emergency in our extended family has resolved

we're enjoying a winter wonderland in Breckenridge, CO

Monday, January 27, 2014

Nuance in Ice

if you were to describe ice
what would you say?

a family emergency refocuses my energy onto grandchildren
I'll be silent for awhile and off the computer
stay well

(comments closed)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ski Day at Vail - Skywatch

Yesterday, we left Breckenridge early in the morning and traveled to Vail,
about 45 minutes from our home. It was sunny with very little wind - a lovely respite from the frigid, gusty weather we've been experiencing. Highs climbed just above freezing. 

Gore Creek taken from the covered bridge in Vail Village

The snow on Vail Mountain was hard-packed and bone jarring first thing in the morning. There has been no new snow since before the long MLK holiday weekend, so trails and bowls were tracked and bumped. 

top of Sun Up Bowl

The vastness of Vail Mountain and the spectacular scenery made up for less than perfect ski conditions. No lift lines - just us and the natural beauty!

Top of China Bowl

By mid afternoon, the lowering sun cast the mountain ranges in purple light. 
I managed to fall 3 times, hooking an outer edge and slamming hard onto my right side (head, shoulder, ribs, hip). I haven't fallen so many times in years and told my husband that I expected this would be my quota not only for this year but maybe next, too. 
Thank goodness for helmets!

A yummy late lunch at Sweet Basil helped me forget my bruised body and ego.
(I also rubbed liberally with Arnica when I got home!)

Imperial Peak - middle of photo, Tenmile Range

As we drove home, the sun began setting over the Tenmile Range.
It was a perfect ending to the day.