March 2024

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Society, as we have constituted it, will have no place for me, has none to offer; but Nature, whose sweet rains fall on unjust and just alike, will have clefts in the rocks where I may hide, and secret valleys in whose silence I may weep undisturbed. She will hang the night with stars so that I may walk abroad in the darkness without stumbling, and send the wind over my footprints so that none may track me to my hurt: she will cleanse me in great waters, and with bitter herbs make me whole.

Oscar Wilde


A couple weeks ago, we got the most snowfall since moving back to Colorado, and the greatest in my personal memory since the Blizzard of ’82. It started sweetly, with the quiet magic of a snow globe, and it kept falling for a good 48 hours.

Up top is how it looked on the first day, which was about 8-10″ and some of the heaviest snow these arms have ever shoveled. Juniper could happily frolic, in her usual blissful ignorance that snow is actually her arch nemesis water, fluffed up and beautiful. By the end, and captured in the final photo, are two feet of slightly less heavy, but uncomfortably above her chest depths in the back garden. Greg (a.k.a. Pops) was her champion and created a series of paths for her to run and play and get business done.

But, gosh, how lovely and magical…

Our nephew Tyler, that’s him up yonder, has a deep knowledge of and fascination with mines and mining, well at least of the hard rock underground variety. An open pit or the environmental calamity of blasting a mountain top off are definitely not his jam. If I recall correctly, it all started with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and their underground lair. Pretty cool, when you think about it – there’s a whole world under there.

So, logic follows that we would some day visit the Western Museum of Mining and Industry here in Colorado Springs together. It’s located a short distance from I-25, with excellent signage, but it still took us eight years to get there! But, hey, we did it. It was a next level experience to wander about in the presence of an expert and to watch Tyler’s face light up. Like when he saw a diorama of the Comstock in California and named it before even looking at the signage. Or his astonishment at having equipment he’d only previously read about or seen rusted and decaying in some out of the way mining town in the high country looking quite regal and fully operational.

If you have any interest in mining, and especially if you know someone who does, I highly recommend a visit. You might even spy a hawk in the parking lot! The museum does an exceptional job of creating experiences that mimic the look and feel of going underground, which offered an excellent connection to my Grandpa George, who was a coal miner in Springfield, Illinois, from the late 1800s until his death (from Black Lung) in 1945. They also have some really cool displays and videos of past and present mining technology. The rocks, like the fluorescents above, were a nice surprise, too. What a meaningful day for us!



Spring is not yet here, but the song of a solitary, pioneering blackbird when I wake, the smell of something warm and floral on the air in fleeting moments, these signs give me hope.

Tracy Rees



Can anything harm us, mother, after the night-lights are lit?”
Nothing, precious,” she said; “they are the eyes a mother leaves behind her to guard her children.

J.M. Barrie


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