Kelsea and I are on our annual mother-daughter Labor Day trip. She’s now able to cross another state off her list – Utah. I’ve been here before but never spent a night, so I guess now it can really count.

Our first impressions of Utah:

It’s dark. Really, really dark. Of course, it is night.

Right after the “Welcome to Utah” sign, was a sign for the “Trail Through Time”. If it hadn’t been so dark, we would have taken it. And it made me think of Dr. Who.

Shortly after that sign was a sign that said “Eagles on Highway”. What?! No!

Followed thereafter by towns with such intriguing names as Cisco and Yellowcat. None of which offered any services. And were completely dark.

Utah has very nice, smooth roads. Truck kept zipping up to 85 all by itself.

The shift in energy when we passed from Colorado to Utah was tangible. Not unpleasant, just different. Perhaps I will be able to put it into words after a bit more time here.

We know we were driving through someplace magnificent, but that darn darkness prevented us from seeing what it was. It reminded me of when MKL and I went to Monument Valley – when we arrived at night, we had no inkling of what beauty we were missing.

 

In the course of our seven hour drive from home, we avoided running over a coffeemaker and a pair of gym socks, and did not see any chupacabras. I have been up for almost 40 hours now, and so it’s time for me to go to bed. Photos tomorrow.

 

I love classic cars. We seem to have an abundance of classic car shows in Colorado during the summer, and I haven’t made it to a single one this year! Next year, I’m determined to create a calendar in advance so I can schedule Job #3 around at least a few of them. We found this gem in New Mexico, and MKL was super happy to sit in it. It reminded him of the truck in which his grandfather taught him to drive on the farm in Kansas when he was a small boy. We’re hoping that we’ll be able to find a great classic truck of our very own when we get a little more space around us. Ours is out there somewhere!

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Ojo Caliente, New Mexico.

Quote of the day: “In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit.” — Anne Frank

Daily gratitudes:
The duck umbrella handle peeking from the lady’s purse on the bus
Sherlock Holmes
Sleep
That Janalee got a new job!
Watching internet cat videos with Kelsea

We sat on this porch in a pair of white wooden rocking chairs and listened to the wind in the sea oats and the waves lapping at the sand and said we could have been content there for hours.

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Cape Lookout, North Carolina.

Quote: “My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.”  —  William Shakespeare

Daily gratitudes:
That MKL and I are now formally  and officially engaged!
A day to relax
Patterns of sunshine
Happiness
Downpours

My darling daughter starts her senior year in high school tomorrow. It’s a strange thing. I remember being her age so vividly, and now I am seeing it from my Mother’s perspective. Athough Kelsea is different than I was at 17. It is so hard to comprehend her leaving home in a year. Perhaps for me, since she has not been with me full-time since I left ex-Pat’s house, and since I have always worked so much, and therefore seen less of her than your average mom, it will be a little easier. But the closer we get to the day she leaves, the more that feels like an untruth. I am so grateful that I did not miss these last years with her – yes, that was an option when I was under the spell of deceit in my previous relationship. I would not trade where I am now in my life with her – and with MKL – for anything. Not for all the islands in the world.

As she looks to the West for her future, I see her future through the strands of my own memories. New friends, first loves, that sense of freedom and power that comes from being truly on your own for the first time. Philosophy discussions. Term papers. Dorm food. Calling Mom for instructions on laundry and cooking. Walking to class on cold wet mornings. Learning a new city. Finding your way.

And I see her past. Standing at the sliding glass doors with Tug, bobbing up and down as her Daddy came home. Feeding her in the bar sink at the beach house. Her wearing her little pumpkin suit on her first Halloween. Coaching her on her first word. Playing restaurant. Teaching her to ride a bike. White blonde hair in summer. Finger painting. Blowing bubbles. Bathtimes. Reading all the Harry Potter books together. Mother-Daughter trips. Cuddling in thunderstorms. Jumping waves. Hugging next to horizons of sunflowers and darkly phosphorescent seas.

A long time ago, there was a country song by Suzy Bogguss about a girl going off to college and how her mother felt. Even before I had a child, that song made me cry. When the time comes to pack up my girl and set her free for parts distant, I suspect I’ll be playing that song a lot. (And you may see a few more sentimental posts on this blog.)

I have always said that there is an invisible silken strand that connects a mother’s heart with her child’s – my heart with her heart. She spoke that back to me a few weeks ago, and I was surprised and moved that she had heard me say it, had remembered it, and felt it too. The first time I experienced the strength of the strand was when ex-Pat took her to a family reunion. She was five years old. I had to stay behind to work. I felt so strange the whole time they were gone. She and I missed each other, and the strand stretched all the way from her heart in California to mine in Colorado. Stretched fine and thin, but as strong as ever. Perhaps even stronger for the distance.

I will treasure the days until she leaves, rejoice with her when it’s time for her to go, and cherish the strength of the strand.

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Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.” — Ayn Rand

Daily Gratitudes:
That I was glowing today
AAA
Always carrying a book with me
MKL
Clawfoot bathtubs

Because a day can start out really lousy, and wind up with skies like this.

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Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic. It is such a simple and such an extraordinary part of the lives we live.” — Nora Roberts

Daily gratitudes:
The smell of warm asphalt
Glowing rain clouds
Helping others
MKL
The man in the elevator who cheerfully took the earful I gave him when he asked me how my morning was going

Balloons are known for their color, but sometimes they are just as stunning in shades of black and white. Given the state of affairs in Ferguson – and everywhere, for that matter – I wish the world could be colorblind.

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Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Daily gratitudes:
MKL
Stairs
My mother
Memories of tutus past
San Pellegrino

Elk are abundant, as are deer – moreso than I recall in my 34 years in Colorado. Last weekend, driving back from work at about 10:30 at night, I came across a car that had just hit a large elk. The occupants were two grandparents (about my age!), their four-year old grandson and their small dog. The grandfather had climbed down the embankment to find the dying elk (not a wise move) and the grandmother, little boy and dog were standing in the dark by the side of the road. Pieces of their car were scattered across the highway and the entire front passenger side was crushed. Others had stopped, but had moved on when they realized there were no injuries. That felt wrong to me, so I stayed with the trio on the side of the road, kicked the debris out of the road using moonlight as a guide so no one else would have an accident, distracted the lady with talk of random things, made the little boy laugh, held the dog while she helped her grandson put on some warm clothes, and tucked them all in my truck until the police came to help. They were from the city, and were scared and shocked. And very, very lucky. As I left them, she said, “You’ll never know what a lifesaver you were tonight.” And I wished them blessings.

The moral of this story is, if you are driving in the mountains, especially at night, keep a weather eye out. Elk are quick and slow at the same time. Go slower than you think you should, keep your lights on bright when you can, and look for their eyes – that gleam is usually what your headlights will catch. Let’s keep you – and these beautiful creatures – safe and sound.

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Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “The concept of conservation is a far truer sign of civilization than that spoilation of a continent which we once confused with progress.” —  Peter Matthiessen

Daily gratitudes:
The 3-year old Bronco fan with his mohawk on the shuttle
The man in the straw boater hat
Lunch with MKL
My wedding boots
Love

It has been MKL’s and my third anniversary today (of our first date – that’s how we measure it.) Which was wonderful. We spent yesterday and this morning together, and I was to have take a little road trip with my sister this afternoon. However, the best laid plans…when I went to pick her up, she smelled smoke, and we discovered the house around the corner ablaze, one part of the family just having escaped the duplex, and the other out of town. The first fire truck had just arrived and hadn’t even started putting the flames out yet. My sister is a photojournalist, so she documented it all. Kelsea, with her firefighter ambitions, was ringside and while I was unnecessarily holding her back, she was respectfully watching her future in action. It was sad and traumatic.The power of a house fire is always stunning and shocking. It happens so fast, and is so very mercilous. On such a hot day, six fire trucks from numerous districts showed up to help, and they kept the flames from taking the trees and spreading. Sorrowfully, two dogs were lost to the blaze. Leaving almost four hours late, my sister and I were only about two hours into our jaunt when the sheriff called and said the fire investigator needed the video she had taken, so our trip was aborted, though what we had was lovely and we will try to do it again before they leave town. My prayers and blessings go out the families whose lives were changed so quickly and so desperately this morning. The community is gathering to help, one of the sweetest things about small towns.

So with all the action and drama of the day, which is fortunately over for me, though sadly just barely sinking in for the families of today’s tragedy, I share with you all with an image of tranquility, that reminds us that there is still peace and beauty and (in my eternal opinion) hope in the lovely planet.

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Somewhere in Exuma Sound.

Quote of the day: “Trust your heart if the seas catch fire, live by love though the stars walk backward.”  — e.e. Cummings

Daily gratitudes:
Community
That Mr. Man gave his hiccups to me
My “new” air conditioner
Firefighters
Little red capes

 

 

Giving you a peaceful image to end (or start) your day. It has been a week full of emotions for many of us, and I have been thinking a lot about the origin of our feelings, both good and bad, and the direction in which it seems our world is headed. But I think those words are for another day.

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Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “Body tension will always be present if our good feeing is just ordinary, self-centered happiness. Joy has no tension in it, because joy accepts whatever is as it is.” — Charlotte Joko Beck

Daily gratitudes:
My dental hygienist, Kim
A freezer with eight bags of roasted green chiles
How leaves turn over before it rains
Keeping the migraine at bay today
Knowing that my daughter has strong opinions about the world she lives in – and that she cares

 

My old friend Vernon on Anegada told me that in Bermuda, where he came from, they called these cirrus clouds Mare’s Tails. Although with his Bermudian English, still hanging on after more than 80 years, it took me a while to figure out what he was saying — the way he pronounced it sounded like “Marstels”. I seem to recall him telling me that they were a portent of a change in the weather. These are a beautiful example in the unique and magical blue of a New Mexico sky.

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Ojo Caliente, New Mexico.

Quote of the day: “I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that.”  —  Lauren Bacall

Daily gratitudes:
That my voice sounds like Lauren Bacall when I get a cold
The ambulance drivers singing “Happy Birthday” to some unseen party over their loudspeaker
Hot air balloons in the morning
Pumpkin flowers
Old movies when I’m exhausted

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