Hiking + Walking

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Up above the city, spikes on ice, reveling in silent communion, two friends (my pal Phoebe and me) happy to be out of the thick of it and into the pines & blue sky, scent of cedar and snow. There were minutes we listened, not a bird, not a breeze, not a single sound. Then juncos, crows, jays, towhees, and chickadees. Humans and their canine companions. And that view!

 

 

 

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This morning I awoke with a hiking itch to scratch. Luckily the hubster is almost always game for adventure, so we hopped out of bed and dashed out the door, whiz-bang, and fifteen minutes later arrived here. How privileged are we to live in a place filled with such jaw-dropping natural beauty?! The Garden of The Gods was a gift to Colorado Springs in 1909, so that it may remain forever free. Thank you Perkins Family! Not a bad start to the day. Not bad at all…

Happy Saturday!

p.s. I hiked in the park earlier this week and saw a bobcat a mere twenty feet ahead on the trail. Wonderful!!

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2016 was a beast of a year. We moved into our sweet ranch on March 1st and plowed through the upstairs remodel as though our lives depended upon it. Which it did. Our comfortable lives, anyway. We did not want to wash dishes from a giant bowl while kneeling in the nasty basement shower for one moment longer than necessary or cooking on a wobbly ikea table in the laundry room, though we did it for three months. Oy. Like camping, only in a basement. When organizing a kitchen space, it is said that the most efficient layout is a triangle. The hubster laughed, “Ours was a pyramid – sink in the basement bath, burner and toaster oven in the laundry, refrigerator in the dining room!”

And then there was the floor, the complete gut of the kitchen and bathroom, painting every last wall – upstairs and down, painting the doors, too, replacing every light fixture and adding four more, because L I G H T. Installing bookshelves in the living room and drying racks in the basement, because our clothes have never tumbled in a dryer. Digging, planting, assembling, destroying, dumping, and building. Do it. Do it again. Yeah, that was us.  Wide eyed. Diligent. Exhausted.

And then there was that bit of soul searching. You saw it. Maybe it frightened you. Maybe it got you thinking. Who do we allow into our lives? The people we strive to be.  The kind. The joyous. The affectionate. What about bullshit and drama? Little, dear reader. Very little. We have had plenty. Thankfully not from each other. Glory be. We are solid pillars, leaning somewhat toward center. Better to hear a whisper. For lips to graze a cheek. For laughing eyes to dance together. Better, better, better.

So today, this hike an invocation for 2017. Embracing and inviting all that is out in the open, all that is unseen. Fox and coyote and pronghorn. Wee, small birds. Prairie dogs. Rabbits. US admiring the peace, the beauty, the wonder of the world. Standing our ground.

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F O G

Lots of pictures, not many words. Me, as of late. Working on getting to a quiet place, one without so much house work. Ooh la la! We are on the home stretch, most definitely. The hubster had his final electrical inspection on the kitchen this afternoon. And photo documentation of that whole process is one trim piece away. Huzzah!

I am working hard to get phase one of our garden complete. Over the past few weeks, with the help of two of my favorite teenagers, I moved hundreds of pounds of rock, planted five evergreens of various species, four currants (two black, two red), one gooseberry, one rhubarb, one black raspberry, one rabbit brush, one serviceberry, one elderberry (though I wish I had two), one plum tree, one cherry tree, six lavender, one echinacea, three caryopteris, three reed grass, and five peonies! Two hundred bulbs and five iris go in the ground on Friday. Whaaat?

My office is still a hot mess, having to step over piles of “in process” organization, but the many wonderful distractions have been worth it. Like hiking in the fog with my friend Phoebe (brrrrr…). Hiking in the sun with my friend Katherine. Making pie cookies with sweet neighborhood littles and their Mama. Sleepovers with my parents, brother, and dear friend Jeff (In our comfy guest room! And on separate occasions!). Watching fil-ums and dining out with the hubster. Finally getting the kitchen completely organized. It’s a process, rewarding and slow. So very slow.

Happy Wednesday!

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Photos from a doubly grand Saturday. We rode our bikes downtown to pick up a new helmet (pink!) and light (old school headlamp!) for me, so I may ride in both safety and style. It’s my thing. I am love, love, loving being able to bike again. Pittsburgh, unless you live in a very specific part of town, is not an easy or desirable place to ride. Too many narrow streets with crazy-madcap hills, lunatic parked cars and equally maniacal drivers does not make for a positive experience. No siree. So we never replaced our Portland bikes. But now, boy howdy, whoop-ti-do, we are at it again, on wide boulevards, gentle hills, and our own bike lanes, and it is grand, just grand.

We followed our biking adventure with a hot afternoon hike in the Nature Conservancy Aiken Canyon. Long-time supporters, it is always a treat to visit the preserves, feeling our contributions help make it possible. We enjoyed spying the usual floral suspects, even eating some of the red skunk bush berries, which were oily and tart. We also wondered who spied upon us, as there was bobcat, wolf, and fox scat, quite a lot of it on the ground, and bird after bird singing their lively tunes. It was a heady windy day, and I decided, most affirmatively, that heaven is the scent of pine and cedar, whipping along in the air, on my hands, cone thrust under my nostrils with me lustily exclaiming, “That smell!” The best (next to the hubster’s cheek). Definitely.

Now it is storming, sheets of rain rippling in the wind to fill the streets, windows open to better hear the cracks of thunder. Another great day!

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