June 2013

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For my Grandparents, Mom, Martha, and Hef, who ask what flowers are blooming.

Two sunflowers in the south yard, with more than twenty on the way, all of them volunteers from last year, which makes me happy beyond words.  The little white spot on the red one is a spider, zooming past my lens.

California Poppy – with bee running circles around the pollen. I’ve got a tiny circus in my yard.

Fuschia blossoms, freshly fallen




I planted one pansy in the raised bed last summer or maybe the year before. Now I have scores of volunteers, thanks to the little bronze jewel of a seed. Happiness spreads.

“My Love” Dahlia

Day Lily


Carnation – sweet and spicy. I should make a boutonniere, so I can smell them all day.

Sea Thrift – about the size of the tip of the hubster’s thumb.


Hidcote Lavender

Jasmine – our back porch is heady with the scent!

Me at three, rosebuds blooming on my dress.


The last post on Colorado, with a mural in downtown Pagosa Springs a fine nod to our lovely horseback ride.

Desert Allium

Now we are at Chimney Rock National Monument, considered the Northeastern most outlier site to Chaco Canyon and likely placed for ceremonies to observe the moon. If you’d like to learn more about this fascinating and reverential collection of structures, I highly recommend the documentary The Mystery of Chaco Canyon, narrated by Robert Redford. There was also a great article in New Mexico Magazine recently, though it only describes outlier sites within the state.

If I remain very still, she will not see me.

The site is on a high ridge overlooking the Ute Reservation.

This is the view south to Chaco Canyon, some fifty miles away. A high school student used mirrors to prove that it was possible to communicate between the sites, though they likely used fire.

Indian Paintbrush – I always get slightly melancholy when I see it, as it was the favorite flower of my Grandpa Herbie. He was killed in a motorcycle accident when my Dad was six years old, so we both missed out on truly knowing him.

Nearly all of the buildings have been reconstructed using the original stones. It was an amazing feat, especially when considering they worked on a high ridge, with scarcely enough room for a wheelbarrow to move the stone up the mountain, had they existed at the time.

Desert Mallow

This section is in original condition, having been in place for over a thousand years.

It is between these two spires that the moon rises during a Major Lunar Standstill, which occurs every 18.6 years, and, by all accounts, would be quite amazing to witness in person. I was in awe on a regular spring day!



The view down the valley to Pagosa Springs from Wolf Creek Pass, an awe-worthy welcome if ever there was. Shortly after our departure, the pass was closed by fire, so who knows what this looks like now. My great hope is that the fire remained at my back, eating up the scores of trees ravaged by insatiable beetles, and did not travel to the more populated areas below.

Rocky Mountain Columbine, Colorado’s State Flower and my favorite as a kid.

A sulfur spring in Pagosa Springs. It bubbled, groaned, belched, and steamed.

Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Pagosa Springs

Sometimes, I get a notion, a soft whisper of a bug in my ear, “Do this, soon, do not dally. You will not regret it.” In this case, way back in January, “Ride a horse.” I hadn’t done so in at least twenty-five years, one short ride on a dusty dirt road (who knows where or when) under a canopy of trees. The horse was dark brown and belonged to a woman, her hair a match to the horse in a long braid. I remember feeling tall and powerful and in exactly the right place, exhilarated by the response of my timid tongue click, moving from a slow saunter to a rapid trot.

This time, we rode with Third Generation Outfitters (and highly recommend that you do, too, if ever you have the chance), and that’s Jaclyn, our guide extraordinaire. She’s been around horses her whole life and exhibits that fine quality of knowing and truly loving these gorgeous giants. She’s dressing Lonny, a formerly wild Mustang that I just knew would be “mine” for the afternoon.

The hubster and Pistol were fast friends.

Chin straps look a might silly, but they keep hats from flying and horses bolting, a very good thing.

We rode for two hours, in and around the area just below Wolf Creek pass, at the foreground of the topmost photo. It was a perfect day, the wind down to a whisper and the sun bright and warm on our backs. We rode in meadows and on a rocky path that was once the highway, imagining a Model T bumping perilously along. We climbed near the summit and descended through woods thick with grass and wild flowers in full bloom: columbines, serviceberries, strawberries, Oregon grape, wild iris, a smattering of dandelions, and scores more whose names I do not know. There were deer, too, and birds, the hum and buzz of life itself.

All the while, the horses were gentle, sweet, and sure footed, farting and peeing and stealing a leaf or bite of grass when they could. I spent much of my time in admiration, marveling that this creature, with me astride his back, seemed hardly to notice. He gave not a single response to my gentle brushing of his silken neck, my fingers threading through the thick of his mane, or my myriad questions and praise of his fine virtues. A professional, and shy as he was beautiful and strong, I suppose.

Many thanks to Alan and Martha, with us but not pictured. It was a marvelous day!


 And speaking of horses, this is my sweet Mom, taking her first ride as a wee thing.



There is a river flowing now, very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are torn apart and will suffer greatly.

Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above water.

And I say, see who is there with you and celebrate…

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

Hopi Elder




Colorado is my youth. It is parched skin and hair electric with static. It is running wild and barefoot, riotous with laughter. It is the white light of snow fall and lightning. It is the bounce of hail and the soul-clattering of thunder. It its picnics along crystal clear rivers. It is spicy green chile and a full cookie jar. It is flaxen foothills and slithering snakes. It is music and made with love birthday cakes. It is hiking on Ptarmigan. It is starlit drives and the Sex Lights. It is the exhilarating scream of the Wildcat and the Twister. It is mountains dotted with columbine and indian paintbrush. It is swimming lessons, summer skin, and air heady with the scent of chlorine. It is the sweet boy who committed suicide in seventh grade. It is brick houses and mountain towns. It is thin air. It is blue sky and slowly spooling sunsets. It is my first crush, my first love, and the hubster, again and again, everywhere. It is the past, effervescent and alive in me, always.

Happy Birthday, Maren!


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