“It’s a good day to die”, I say to my seatmate. Not my usual opening line but one I feel strongly about today. Tomorrow may be a different story, as normally, I am not a big fan of dying. A sense of peace and clarity...
Friendship. Kindness. Love. Connection. These are the things that get us through. Moments of contact with another human being; the willingness to stop for a moment and be with each other without agenda; snuggling on a couch; walking holding hands; a random phone from a busy concert just to check in. These make my world go round in the best way. The chaotic spin shifts to normal rotation. My head stays glued to my neck versus flying off into space. My soul is fed versus slinking away to die.
Monday I went to Boulder to see Linda my dear friend from Florida whom I have known since 1990. Linda has been there thick and thin through many stages of life. And, even more importantly she loves my dogs as her own and made frequent trips to Colorado to house and dog sit when we traveled, sometimes not even seeing me. This is the first trip she had to stay elsewhere. We met in Boulder to do our usual routine of consignment store shopping, strolling and talking. I was particularly grumpy, sure at this point that a wicked case of PMS, that robs me of the ability to see or experience anything good, has become my new monthly visitor. Angsty, coming out of my skin and seriously not wanting to be around people and after a hellacious headache socked in at 10am, I began finding excuses not to make the trip to Boulder. Not only was it Linda’s last day, but I had suggested the dinner with my other Abundance circle sisters. Denise was driving from Denver and Shaya was making the vittles. Committed not to back out on my friends, I drove on. My funk took a while to lift but somewhere in the Whole Foods gourmet aisle after tasting a wafer cracker with mint jalapeño pesto, the clouds lifted. Yes, my blood sugar has been whacked - but this small sampling couldn’t have completely fixed this issue. Was it magic? Was it Boulder which is as they say “between reality and the mountains”? Suddenly, I could be with my friends. Still considered a “flight risk”, I buddied up until we arrived safely at Shaya’s where we spread out the food, sampled delicacies and I sprawled on the couch in my favorite position.
Good morning blank page that is staring me down threatening to stay blank and thwart my efforts. Good morning crazy mind that rambles away down the path of dissatisfaction and concern. Good morning cool basement that is an oasis from continuing heat in the Denver area. Good morning happy dogs who sprawl out on the floor after a somewhat satisfying w-a-l-k down the Highline Canal trail (still marveling at this trail system in suburbia! It’s amazing).
The interesting thing about writing my blog has been that I don’t know where I am going. It’s like wandering in a car. Sometimes I head down peaceful country roads. Other times, I buzz down a highway at 90 miles an hour in a convertible eating bugs. Still others, I honk and swear as I am stuck in gridlock in sweltering city heat. I never quite know where I will go, how it will end up or how it will all come back together (or if it will). I have been willing to trust and to keep my fingers clicking away. 91,000+ words later, I have developed a small amount of faith that I will keep writing about this journey – for a while anyway. The new plan of one morning of blogging and the next dedicated to my re-write hasn’t quite launched as planned. Yesterday, I took the day off from all writing and celebrated the 4th with David by going to IKEA to plan our kitchen. I am so happy that he enjoys the design process as I do not. It is daunting and I don’t have strong opinions about the kitchen not being the gourmet chef and all. Does it have a coffee pot? Then we are good.
There is a lot to roll with these days. Panic fills the air as the smoke rises. 911 operators in neighboring counties throughout the state are inundated with midnight calls about the smell of smoke; fire departments are closing rank to protect their own backyards; rumors are flying; tourists are canceling their summer visits to our great state and the governor is attempting to calm the anxiety. Colorado is on fire and not in a good way.
Yes, it is re-traumatizing to those of us who have lost homes and loved ones. Yes, we wince at the latest headlines and cry at yet another tale of woe. Yes, we wonder if it could happen again to us in our rental homes or trailers. Yes, we gather together and look knowingly into each others eyes. Yes, we wish there was more we could do for all those who suffer as we struggle to keep our own heads above water. Yes, we lose sleep and question just what is happening out there in this crazy world. It is rampant. It is impacting thousands of people everywhere. It seems almost everyone knows someone who has lost a home or is evacuated. And, there seems to be no end in site. The weather continues to not cooperate, the soil is drying up, the grass withering. Storms roll through and flash their lightning strikes starting even more fires and leaving no measurable moisture.
A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song. Lou Holtz
I woke up worrying. Or did I start worrying once I woke up. In those early moments before getting out of bed and way before coffee, it’s hard to tell. What I can tell is how my 60 minutes of worrying between eye flutter and first sip of caffeine made me feel. Like poop.
To escape the blistering heat at our lovely trailer, we stayed the last two nights at the Highland Haven in downtown Evergreen. A lovely respite from reality, the Highland Haven is a high-end B&B built around an 1884 homestead. A small river runs along the property, towering spruce provide ample shade, the gardens are tended but not over manicured. Our room is lovely and dark and one might have thought I could have slept in - but oh no, I need to get up early enough to begin my worrying. Well-worn grooves of worry were my focus. Challenging relationships, the heat, fires burning across Colorado our future, where to do the laundry... It wasn’t until I walked back to my room with coffee in hand that it occurred to me that I might choose something else and start the day over. Some of us are slow learners.
Fires are raging all over Colorado and the West. Smoke clouds fill the sky. With record breaking heat and winds blowing like stink, more and more people across Colorado are being evacuated from various fires and the High Park fire, still growing, is far from contained. Mother Nature is not cooperating one bit.
It might be easy to get discouraged about the state of the State, or the state of the world. It might be easy to slip into the darkness and the funk. Well, yes, I have to say, it is.
California was a lovely break from reality. I realize reality lives there too, but for me over the three days, reality was suspended. Someone cooked for me, I slept in a real bed, showered standing up, flushed the toilet at whim, hung my clothes in a spacious closet - and the best moments were wandering in and out of shops in the California breeze. The weather was perfect; the respite refreshing; the trip worth the trip.Since arriving “home” the past few days have been a bit bumpy - and yes, I have had a relapse and am adding quotation marks again. Yesterday began well. I attended a 6:30am 12-step meeting. The crowd was small and we all had a chance to share. I acknowledged my fragile state of mind coupled with my desire to not be as ‘thrown’ by things as much as I have been. I have to admit, I have been gathering some compelling evidence for things not going exactly my way. Besides the obvious, not much has seemed to “flow”. Last week I drowned my Mac; the troubles continue on the trailer (leaking water pipes, leaking sewage, mouse infestation); then I left my new precious journal on the airplane. And much much more but right now it feels like blah blah blah to write it - and to say it.
Life can change in an instant.We know this.And, yet when it happens and we lose someone we love, we know it deeply.Lately, I have watched many people lose their loved ones.I hear their words, read their tales and feel their tears mixed with my own. When we lose a loved one, we never wish we had said I love you less.We always wish we had said more, listened more, and loved bigger.This Father’s day, let’s acknowledge the dad’s we know – whether they are ours or simply those we observe.Today, go find a dad to love.They are everywhere.Grab one if you have to.Tell him what he needs to hear.Appreciate the heck out of him.And, of course, love your own if you are willing.
Some of us are lucky and have the best fathers in the world.Others may not consider themselves so lucky.How about for this Father’s day, we celebrate the perfect – as well as the imperfect fathers.Let’s celebrate those that strive to do better as well as those who believe they can never measure up.And, let’s cheer the spirit of what it means to be a father.At it’s core, and whether or not it is “done well”, fatherhood is a miraculous mission.
Ahhhh.That first cup of coffee.There is nothing like it.Actually, the perfection is in the first sip of the first cup.Yum.I could not, would not, live life without coffee. Today we head south – to southern Colorado, that is.We pack up Flame for her maiden voyage with us – she was born in 1967 so has been on many trips with many people over the years.We only know some about the trips with her previous owners.They shared photos of Flame in front of mesas and great vistas around the desert.Their love apparent through the multitude of shots. I would love to know of all her jaunts around the country.What sights has she seen?Who have been her passengers?What were they like?What were their hopes and dreams as they took to the open road?
Yet instead of packing up, I am sitting here.David knows that I need to write before anything, so he will begin packing and I will join him after.After how long, I don’t usually know.Typically, I sit for about an hour.Settling back in bed, hair in a pony tail, pillows propped up behind me, coffee cup to my side, I position my laptop opening the lid with anticipation of what’s to come, never quite knowing what I will say or who I will be.I have tales to tell and they seem to keep coming.I am going with it.
Like herding cats. That’s what it feels like as I attempt to sort my thoughts today. I was given a writing assignment which I gladly said yes to! Then as I sit down at the keyboard, the anticipation builds... What will I say? What will be the words that I knowwill come as they reliably have for the past 58 blog entries. And what happens? Nothing. Nada. Niente. Nilch. And, more of that.
Then I can’t even switch gears and write my blog cause my head has suddenly become filled with crap. I have to say, I awoke with some crap in my head. Thank God, I talked with another “home-loser”, the lovely Sharon, and she and I laughed at the ‘murphy’s law’ that seems to be following us around. Just as she was calling me, she opened the microwave in her rental and the glass plate randomly broke. My tale? I picked up my new dress from my trusted tailor to discover that absolutely none of what we talked about had been done. A relatively simple project, or so it seemed, he was to move the ties around so the dress fit better. What I ended up with was not that at all – and get this – one of the ties had been removed from the waist area and literally was re-attached to the bottom of the skirt hem, hanging down. Seriously. Ummmmm. I can’t even begin to understand this logic. In telling my beloved neighbor, she laughed harder than I have ever heard her laugh before which in turn made me laugh instead of continuing down the grumpy path where I was headed all morning. Then, Sharon proclaimed, “it’s a tail”. She must be right. My leopard print dress required a tail. No other explanation needed. Hear that, Murphy?
As another wildfire rages out of control near Fort Collins, my heart breaks for those who lost homes and particularly those who lost loved ones. At 36,930 acres and zero percent containment, this fire is a nasty one. An ‘act of God’ sparked this blaze in the form of a random lightning bolt. Extreme dryness coupled with high winds is the perfect breeding ground for fire. I didn’t sleep well, thoughts of these poor folks filling my mind, knowing some of what they are experiencing, only imagining more. Tossing and turning throughout the night, I thought of what I want to say to them and those who love them. I wish I could shield them from the inevitable roller coaster ride that results from life chewing us up and spitting us out. Here is what I want to say: