Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Cure For The Rainy Day Blues

   These days I like to concentrate on the here and the now and not to live in the memories of the past. Sometimes though when the weather is bad like it has been for the past month or more. I don't mind if I indulge myself in to a little past history. Living in Colorado has primarily assured us of good weather. The days are generally sunny and blue skies. Very rarely do you get many rainy days strung in a row. That is until this spring, it has been the darkest and wettest and snowiest I have ever seen. Nation wide we are far better off than other places the inclement weather appears to be running amok.

   The longest stretch of good weather in my memory is the late 80's. I am not sure of the year, but it was the year of the fires in Yellowstone. The year 1988 strikes a chord for me. I had recently moved back to Colorado after a string of bad luck in New York State. (Self-Inflicted.) I was more than just a struggling writer then. I was struggling with other issues and had yet gotten the upper hand. "All is well that ends well," so they say. Today I am happy joyous and free of those former addictions and even the rainy day blues can't bring me back down. Anyway, back to the stretch of good weather. I had gotten back into outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, climbing, and extremely long spring, summer adventures. Fortunately, I was working as a waiter in Vail, and did not have to be into work until 5 pm. This gave me a tremendous amount of time to explore the local wilderness. Long bike rides up Vail Pass and over Shrine Pass and down into Redstone and through Minturn back to Vail. It was always a great trek with my partner Christian. We also liked to head up to Benchmark at the Top of East Vail on our bikes, sometimes we would climb down into the Back bowls of Vail with our bikes and ride down into West Vail. There are some extremely challenging terrain into West Vail. The days went on forever. I believe the record was 40 or 45 days of no rain. The afternoon thunder storms never appeared. Arising at 5 am you can get out climbing and summit the Gore Range at 13,000 ft. plus by noon and be back down into town for work by 5. I remember one particular day climbing on Gore Pass and looking out West toward Yellowstone and seeing the large white plumes of smoke rising from the fires. It was incredible to see. Several days later the entire Upper Eagle Valley was socked in with smoke and eventually cleared out. Many days were spent hiking up into Piney Lake and the wilderness there. I believe those hikes and bike trips served to put Christian and I into good enough shape to Climb Mount of the Holy Cross that year.

   The Holy Cross Wilderness is particularly beautiful but extremely rugged. I unfortunately, as a climber was endowed with very large quads. Probably from all the years of skiing that I did. Anyway coming down Holy Cross there are very large scree fields filled with giant boulders. You find yourself hopping from boulder to boulder for thousands of yards. If you have large muscles in your legs like I, you burn up large amounts of energy. The thing about Holy Cross is that on the initial trek in you descend into a very large ravine before you begin the actual climb up Holy Cross itself. All well and good you might think, but after Summiting Holy Cross, you have to boulder down for hours and then trek out and climb back up the ravine to get out of the wilderness area. I distinctively remember saying to Christian after I was totally spent and felt like I was walking on wooden stumps, because my quads had filled with lactic acid, "I think I'll sit here for a few minutes and catch up shortly." Wrong, the problem is when you sit down and relax your legs tend to cramp up. I was siting and writhing in pain, alone in the wilderness and I came to the realization that no one was going to help me to walk out. If I did not pull it together, rub out the cramps and struggle out on my numb stumps, I was going to spend the night in the Holy Cross Wilderness. What a great motivator spending the evening alone in the wilderness is. I did get up and did force myself to finish my walk out.

    I guess sometimes memories are the cure for the rainy day blues. Kathy and I are closing on our new house this Thursday and we can't wait to move in this weekend. A second move in one year. Not uncommon for living in s Ski Resort. Except now, I live in the City, and don't plan on many more moves. Often during orientation at a ski resort, during the smile school the resorts would have you attend, they would often ask, "How many times have you moved in the past several years?" Sometimes the answers would be astounding. People would say, "I have move six times in the last two years." I would often think how odd that would seem to most sedentary American Workers. I don't think the average American is flexible enough in that way. Too Bad that people are so rigid.

   I fear rigidity in my old age and hope that my current move will allow me stability and yet not make me rigid. I have the desire to grow in my writing and hope that a new writing office set up properly will be an impetus for longer structured writing sessions. I could use a little rigidity in that area. Here is to attacking the long lazy dog day afternoon summertime blues with constructive writing. I am growing fond of the City and all the things at my beckon call.

  An Incredible Blue Song.

    "Superman's Song," The Crash Test Dummies

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Good News Day


   The good news is that we have been getting a lot of snow in the mountains. I follow Al's Blog the source for everything A-Basin and they will consider keeping the Basin open after June 15. They have had 41" of snow this month. This has been an incredible late snow year. The other day I had to go to Cederedge, Colorado and the amount of snow on the San Juan Mountains was breath taking. Really beautiful late spring snows up there.
 All kinds of good news coming these days!

   The only other times I have skied later than mid June is when Christian, my climbing partner, and I have climbed and skied St. Mary's Glacier. The climb is relatively short but in August the snow on the glacier is tricky. The sun beating on the snow melts large divots into the glacier called sun cups. If you try skiing it too early in the day it can be treacherous because your skis bridge the cups and the rims of the cups are icy. Think of a container of ice cream that you take a spoon full out of. The hollow part is soft but he upper edges are icy. You need for the noon day sun to soften the edges because if you are on a North Facing slope in the shade it is easy to loose your edges and if you fall the rocks are not friendly.

   Christian skied up to me on a trip up St. Mary's once and came to rest on a steep slope just off of the main glacier. He was casually talking to me, when all of a sudden he was gone. The edges of his skis just let go and I watched as he slid head first down a steep slope toward very large boulders. I am ashamed to admit it right now, but all I could think of was that the keys to the jeep where in his coat pocket and if he was dead, I would have to climb down and get the keys, from his dead mangled body. Fortunately, he was able to turn his torso and take the collision with the rocks on his shoulder. He was battered and bruised, but lived to tell of it. Well actually, he made me promise to never tell his wife. Since it has been over twenty years, I guess I am safe.

   I enjoy the fond memories, I gave up skiing years ago to work with horses and to ranch after I married my wife Kathy. We no longer even do that. I truly just wish to write my memories. I  have never looked back, only in memories, and in the fall, when winter arrives do I still feel the familiar urges. I guess I felt the late spring skiing urge this week being in the San Juan Mountains. They are amazingly beautiful.

   We are closing on our new house next week. It is the first property we have bought that is just for us. I will have a heated shop for myself, and a new writing office. We are extremely excited and happy. Don't know why the lord turned us from Oregon to here? He obviously has his plans. These days I just follow his lead. Perhaps I will finally attack those writing projects I rant about from time to time. The lord knows my heart and mind are very willing right now. Kathy has a nice studio, separate from the house, for her massage therapy and we are setting up a formal dining room for classroom activity so she can teach her healing arts programs. Life is blossoming.

   I hope you enjoy the photo A-Basin from Al's recent blog. The Basin still is a place where there is "Nothing in Moderation." Although they no longer use that slogan, it is politically incorrect these days. It was not in 1978. I just remembered seeing that motto in a poem someone wrote. I guess they had the need to steal it. I would like to write my memoirs of those times before I get too old to remember, sometimes I don't trust those memories. They always seem more embellished than they actually were. Although the memories are probably true, I am the guilty embellisher.  I hope everyone enjoys their Holiday Weekend!

A Song for Life's Survivors
"One Tin Soldier," Coven

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Truth And Love

Truth and Love are the guiding lights to the future.

"Release," Pearl Jam

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Birthday Swami Sri Yukteswar

   Born: May 10, 1855
   Died: March 9, 1936

Happy Birthday Swami! May the Divine Mother Embrace your soul and further your teachings.

Swami Sri Yukteswar, "The Holy Science"

A Song For All Teachers
"Down To The Valley To Pray," Allison Krauss"
Down To The River To Pray - Sorry.
Om Nama Shiviya

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Home is Where Your Heart Sings

   I never thought that moving to the City would make me feel like I have come home. There are a lot of similarities to Grand Junction, Colorado and Albany, New York. The area here sets in a Basin between the mountains. This area is much smaller than Albany but it reminds me of it. Albany has the Heldeberg Mountains and the Adirondacks. Junction has the Grand Mesa, Colorado National Monument, and the Book Cliffs.

 The Book Cliffs are a series of desert mountains and cliffs in Western Colorado and Eastern Utah. They are Cretaceous Sandstone and they cap many of the South-facing buttes and appear similar to a shelf of books. Perhaps the most famous is Mount Garfield at the edge of Palisade, in the Grand Valley known for it peach orchards, and the City of Grand Junction. The cliffs range for nearly two hundred miles, and begin where the Colorado River descends South through Debeque canyon into the Grand Valley to Price Utah. On a very clear day off on the horizon to the south you can see the snowcaps of the San Juans and the Telluride ski area.

   The Grand Mesa is a large mesa in Western Colorado. Having an area of about 500 square miles, it stretches for about 40 miles. It is the largest flat-topped mountain in the entire world. The Mesa ranges about 6000 ft. above the surrounding river valleys, including the Grand Valley to the west at about 11,000 feet, and reaching a maximum elevation of 11,333 feet at Crater Lake. It is a home to  Wild Colorado Mustangs.

     We are currently under contract for a home almost in the shadow of Mount Garfield. It has been so many years since I have lived in a City. At first I was very tentative to the idea and even skeptical, for the majority of my life I have been extremely anti-society. A loner, not a joiner. Don't get me wrong I still prefer the wilderness to gatherings of people. However we are attempting to integrate into life a bit more. The only thing that being a loner gets you is solitude and loneliness. It has it's place, the wilderness in Colorado is clean, crisp, concise an clear. Cities are noisy, congested, polluted, and often dirty. The new us is finding river walks, hiking trails, and adventure almost in the city limits.

   A sleepy University town in it's awakening stages. The similarities to Eugene, Oregon are striking. Only this town is in it's early stages of growth, and soon will blossom into the Big College town it is destined to become. It has the normal growing pains. The need for an extensive trail system looping the town, with designated bike paths. They will have to figure out how to deal with the students, traffic and bikes all together in the downtown core. I hope they work it out. The area has promise and can grow into an exciting place.

   Did I ever think that it would awaken feelings of my hometown? The answer is a resounding No! Don't know how these feelings crept up on me. I know when I was young I spent time around colleges, taking creative writing classes and wearing big thick sweaters in the fall. It made me feel more writerish. Funny how we all have our way of envisioning our success. It is good to be older than younger. House hunting has recently put us in some situations where we have had to drop in on college students and their living arrangements. It reminds me of ski towns and crash pads of ski enthusiasts (a reverent term for ski bums.) While being exciting and fun, living day to day to chase sunsets and snowflakes, doesn't lend to retirement or security in life very well. I guess you trade off everything in life. These days I wear a uniform and work at a large Plumbing and Heating business to afford my dream retirement home. Gone are the days of my many backpacks and sleeping bags in search of adventure. My adventure comes from my pages and seeing where they will take me. I hope that this adventure is a promising as those of my youth. I guess you will just have to stick around and see.

   I'm excited for the new beginning and to think that this respite in life comes out of the concern for our Goldie, Golden, Gracie. Since moving here she has settled in well and has her routine of chasing the local cats who parade through our yard. We have promised to get her a kittie, her very own tiger cat to match her color, when we move into our new home. Since real estate deals fall apart at a whim, I am hoping this one goes through. I  have just the spot for my motor home that will take us to the ocean. I will have a balcony to have morning tea on and watch the sun light up Mount Garfield and to scheme about writing adventures. A much mellower and mild rebel of sorts. I have yet to explore the writing scene in Grand Junction, a bit too busy getting established. Never enough time to do the things you really love.

My Girl Gracie!


 A Song that Evokes Home For Me.
"Coming Up Close," 'Til Tuesday'

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Kentucky Derby Scoop

The scoop from Toloose for the derby is Frosted at a big price. Good Luck Toloose. Bob (Toloose) was a handicapper for the St. Pete Times as a by product of our misspent youth at Saratoga Race Track. Hope your pick wins.

Today's Song
"Chestnut Mare," The Byrds