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I am pleased to be contributing a letter to a book! One of my favorite bloggers, miss c at http://thekitchensgarden.com/ is starting her second book, a collection of letters that we would want our children to read after we are gone – or something along those lines. Miss c is an amazing woman who works hard to operate a small self-sustaining farm in the wilds of Illinois, along with being an author, a fabulous photographer, and an all-around lovely human being. I’m excited about this opportunity, and have been giving it a lot of thought. I wrote a letter to my daughter recently following the suicide of her friend, which I think might be appropriate, although it’s something I would share with her before I move onto the next place. So, should it be something about her grandparents? A favorite memory? Something about what I have learned about love, or about being a mother in the course of my life? I’m just not sure. Any ideas from you, my dear readers, would be welcome.

If I could have possibly climbed to this spot in Arches without falling to my certain death, I would have. It looks like a perfect spot for contemplation. And excellent balance.

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Arches National Monument, Moab, Utah.

Quote of the day:“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” — Rachel Carson

Daily gratitudes:
A drive with MKL on a beautiful day
Thoughts of the future
Classic cars
Sherlock Holmes
Cloudless days

It hasn’t been that long since we were in Moab, but it feels like it. Fall is coming and going with startling rapidity in Colorado. Work at the jobs has been so busy that MKL and I haven’t had a chance to go into the mountains since the trees started turning, but we both feel the change of seasons in our hands, and I feel it in my old breaks in my feet – like that old Far Side cartoon, my body now predicts the weather. I have had thought after thought about blog topics, but no time to put them on “paper”. So I console myself (and you) with reminiscences of days past, when it was warm and I was on the road.

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Moab, Utah.

Quote of the day: “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” — Leo Tolstoy

Daily gratitudes:
Turquoise
Babies snoozing in strollers
Weather cool enough for morning snuggles
Finally getting my iPod to sync up to my computer
Seeing behind the scenes from the LightRail train

I know I will be wishing this more and more as the cold comes and my hands start to hurt. I guess I’m getting a jump on winter by starting to wish now.

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Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the Day: “Romance takes place in the middle distance. Romance is looking in at yourself through a window clouded with dew. Romance means leaving things out: where life grunts and shuffles, romance only sighs.” — Margaret Atwood

Daily gratitudes:
Little old men in dapper bow ties
Dogs that look just like Tug
Seeing sunrises
Sleep
The first breath of fall

As you can probably tell from my lack of posts, I’ve been working what feels like 24/7, but I wanted to let you know I’m still here. And if I weren’t under a brain cloud, I would be able to remember the name of this arch. What I can tell you is that it’s 1500 feet from the top of the arch to the bottom of the canyon, and there were people posing on top of the arch. I think they were crazier than I feel right now. Hugs to all.

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Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

Quote of the day: “We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.” — Mother Teresa

Daily gratitudes:
Toddlers in footed pajamas
Sharing lunch
Sparkling coconut water
The end of a project being in sight
Pretty sunsets

It looked to me like these two were having a dance-off. It’s funny how many of my pictures from Moab were of trees, considering that trees are the least of the landscape there. My Mother was a tree-hugger. I guess it’s in my blood.

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Arches National Park, Utah.

Quote of the day: “Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.”  — Laini Taylor

Daily gratitudes:
Texts from my daughter
Dozing on the bus so I can get through Job #2
MKL’s eyes
Toddlers playing in the dancing waters
The feeling of souls in Union Station

Being with MKL (who is a car guy extraordinaire) has enhanced my passion for the road. I’ve always loved road trips. I’ve always loved ANY trip. But under his tender influence, I’ve come to appreciate the curves, the straightaways, the texture of the road, and the personality and performance of my truck more than I ever have before. Our second date was a drive. He picked me up and suggested we drive up to Leadville, which is about two and a half hours away. I knew he was testing whether I was genuine about my love of driving and going places, and if we did well in a car together for an extended period of time, and I did not disappoint. Our five-hour round trip turned into an eight-hour round trip. We discovered a shared love of opera, and he put his hand on my knee after asking permission. It is still one of our favorite shared memories.

So on trips like Kelsea’s and mine this past weekend, I get on a stretch of road and think how he would feel about it. He would love to drive the road in this image, and I am looking forward to sharing it with him.

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Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

Quote of the day: “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”  — Robert Louis Stevenson

Daily gratitudes:
Seeing MKL after an absence (or really any time)
Morning walks
Books
Peanuts
Crickets

Kelsea and I have returned to the real world of school and work. We had a fantastic time on our sojourn in Utah, and I drove 1000 miles in the last four days. Every mile was full of sights, talk, laughter, and love. Utah is beautiful and we would definitely go back, but perhaps in the spring or fall. I got a mild case of heatstroke on our one major hike attempt  — and I realized how much I need to pump up my cardiovascular system. One of the things I liked the most about Utah, aside from its beauty, was the honesty of its signage. When a sign says “Heat Kills”, it means it. And when a sign says 30 miles per hour (on a curve), it’s not kidding. I’m looking forward to sharing the beauty of this wonderful place with you through pictures.

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Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

Quote of the day: “Some say a sunset can be too beautiful for words.I’d agree with that.There are a lot of things too beautiful for words for me.To me, it was the earth’s way of saving the best for last.” — Shey Stahl

Daily gratitudes:
Kelsea
The marvels of nature
Music
Adventures
Taking side roads

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

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