My little town is an art town. We have sculptures lining our Main Street, and a program called Alley Art, in which you can have a mural painted on your alley-facing garage door. Murals are also found on the sides of buildings “downtown”, and I’ve had all good intentions of going on a few walkabouts at different times of day to capture images to share here. But we start where we start, don’t we? This is the first piece of art one sees as one heads into town coming South on the highway. It’s next to a bike path – and to WalMart, but we’ll forgive these two cheerful metal cows for that.

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Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “We all have bovine instincts deep within us.” —  Anonymous

Daily gratitudes:
Knowing I can sleep in a little bit tomorrow
A single leaf waving like a little hand
New blog friends (and of course, long-standing ones)
The BBC
The dilly of a thunderstorm we’re having right now (though Mr. Man doesn’t like it one bit)

A change from landscapes today…goat snuggles! Goats can always make me smile, and this Spring, I had the pleasure of attending the Mountain Flower Dairy‘s Goat Baby Shower with Kelsea and her lovely friend Skye. Baby goats, alpacas, small children racing small goats, old trucks, fiddlers, spring flowers, a beautiful day — what more could you ask for?

The roots of my fondness for goats lie in my teenage years. At 16, I went away to Governor’s School in North Carolina – my first time away from home alone. I was gone for six (or eight?) weeks and made some lifelong friends (love you, Lisa and Beth, Mark and Ken), but I was definitely homesick during the early days. So I would take clandestine walks around the surrounding neighborhoods. And on a hill above a sidewalk situated so that it reminded me of my own home, I met a goat. He hung out at the very edge of the ivy at the top of the small hill above the wall. He would appear every day when I walked by, and we would chat. I would tell him that I was homesick and that he was handsome and share my teenage angst. He would usually eat something in response – trash, clothing he had stolen off the line, a bloom from the landscaping. I think he looked forward to seeing me as much as I looked forward to seeing him. I still remember him, and how he kept my homesickness somewhat at bay until I found my little tribe of human friends.

And so. Goats.

Goat Snuggles - 1
Boulder, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “One day I will rule the world with a goat by my side!” — Jhonen Vasquez

Daily gratitudes:
Goat cheese for dinner
A pretty new dress
The Laws of Attraction
The softness of the air today
That Issy is feeling better

My memory. My memories. They are elusive at times, and at other times, random memory flash to front of my mind. On the bus home, I thought of two metal snakelike belts that I had about 30 years ago, one silver, one gold. I can remember the feel of them in my hands. I can remember when I had to stop wearing them because the clasp was bent in an irreparable way. They weren’t particularly special and I’ve owned hundreds of articles of clothing. So why would that just pop into my mind as I gazed at the mountains? It makes me think that everything – everything – we have done, experienced, thought, dreamed, smelled, or felt is stored in our brains, if we could only access it all. As my memory tends to fail me more often than I’d wish – because of concussions, West Nile, Dengue, or overload – I find the thought that it’s all in there, stored in the gray matter, quite a comfort, and a beacon of hope. I keep that dim fear of Alzheimer’s, which my mother had, though she remained blessedly asymptomatic until the end, tucked away in a corner pocket of my consciousness somewhere, but I wonder, if it were ever to strike me, would I have more access to those seemingly insignificant memories, like the feel of a belt in my hand?

If objects have memory (and I suspect they do), imagine the memory of this bannister, of the hands that touched it over the last 250 years.

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Beaufort, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “There are too many books I haven’t read, too many places I haven’t seen, too many memories I haven’t kept long enough.” — Irwin Shaw

Daily gratitudes:
The man who rescued the terrified cat from the side of the speeding eight-lane interstate
Early evening light
Clean sheets
Sending my daughter to do the grocery shopping when I don’t feel good
Outlander

That’s what MKL asked me on the phone this morning. Why? Because he remembers waiting in the car while I explored this abandoned ruin on Little Exuma, which was swarming with mosquitoes. I love abandoned and overgrown places. I’m drawn to them and always have been, so how could I resist this spot? And yes, I did get some decent shots, though not quite what I had hoped for. But I also picked up a little something else. A little something called Dengue Fever. This was back in November 2013, and it took me weeks to get through that bout – weeks of incredible body aches, light sensitivity, nausea, stomach problems, blinding headaches, fevers, chills, and doctors who had to look up the condition on their computers to tell me there was nothing they could do to help. I got the same symptoms last week, and couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, until this morning, when I put the clues and the signs from the universe together to realize I was having another bout.

I am fortunate in many ways. Mosquitoes don’t seem to like me. On the other hand, I seem to be some kind of special prize for them. They save the finest and most powerful of their species just for me. Years ago, I got West Nile Fever; I had recurring bouts for years, every few months. And now I have Dengue, which doesn’t recur as frequently, but strikes with much more of a vengeance when it does. I’m glad I figured out what was wrong. At least I know that it will pass, though I don’t know when. Sometimes it helps if you can give your enemy a face and a name. But I can’t quite say yes to the question, “Was it worth it?”

Dengue Shot

Little Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

Daily gratitudes:
Wordpress’ rainbow header
Love in all its forms
Roses and a note from my daughter
“Wife” in many languages
That I get to see MKL tomorrow

At least I do, having had a mysterious bug for the last few days that has knocked me pretty low. So here’s one for all of us.

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Three Sisters Beach, Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “Coming delights, like tropical beaches, send out their native enchantment over the vast spaces that precede them – a perfumed breeze that lulls and drugs you out of all anxiety as to what may yet await you below the horizon.” — Gustave Flaubert

Daily gratitudes:
Being able to work from home when I’m sick
Cool showers
Plans
Baby bunnies
Summer breezes

MKL and I love road trips. We love seeing new places and having mini-adventures. Even just taking a stray dirt side road to see where it goes can be an adventure for us. Our second date was a daylong road trip, kind of a test to see if I really like road trips as much as I claimed, and if we enjoyed each other’s company enough to be in a car together with no other source of entertainment for hours on end. We discovered a mutual love of opera. We ate at a Mexican restaurant that we both liked in Buena Vista. And he sweetly asked if he could put his hand on my knee. (I said yes.) We’ve had countless other road trips both here and in other states and other countries over the last four years, but that first one holds a dear and special place in both of our hearts. It was a sign of wonderful things to come.

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Lyons, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “I realised, of course, that other people used these roads; but that night, it seemed to me these dark byways of the country existed just for the likes of us, while the big glittering motorways with their huge signs and super cafes were for everyone else.” — Kazuo Ishiguro

Daily gratitudes:
MKL, my car guy
Passing storms
Family
Sparkly boots
The healing powers of Mr. Man
Having Kelsea at the bungalow for a few days

It has been a beautiful weekend for so many reasons, starting with this lovely peony that transformed itself as it bloomed. So much more to come!

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Denver, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “I want to try with someone who loves me enough to try with me. I want to grow old looking at the same face every morning. I want to grow old looking at the same face every night at the dinner table. I want to be one of those old couples you see still holding hands and laughing after fifty years of marriage. That’s what I want. I want to be someone’s forever.” — Rachel Gibson

Daily gratitudes:
Mountains
Road trips
Champagne
Moonrise
Cottonwood Hot Springs
Love
MKL

When you think about it, we all start as seeds, in a way. And we grow, impacted by the circumstances of our lives, as the growth of a seed is determined by the soil in which it is rooted, how it is cared for, and the forces of nature that cause it to thrive. We can see each other’s changes on the outside, but it is a rare blessing when we can peek inside of a living thing and see all the petals that surround its core, its heart. As this image gives you a peek inside a rose, this blog gives you a peek inside of my spirit.

Inner Rose

Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “There was something rather blousy about roses in full bloom, something shallow and raucous, like women with untidy hair.” — Daphne du Maurier (and I am most often a woman with untidy, tousled hair.)

Daily gratitudes:
A lovely day
Winning the battle with the lawn mower (but not with the voles)
Mr. Man feeling a tiny bit more like himself
Clean sheets
Showers digging in the dirt.

 

I had the pleasure of watching the California Zephyr pull into Union Station on my way into work the other morning. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a train trip of any length, and it’s on our to-do list. When I was 14, my parents took E-Bro and me on a train trip up from Durham to DC to Montreal, across Canada to Vancouver, and then down to Seattle and San Francisco. (My father woke me up at 3:00 a.m. so we could get off the train and say we’d been to Moose Jaw.) It was wonderful and I’d love to do a trip like that with MKL. For now, I’ll have to be satisfied with watching the Zephyr come and go.

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Denver, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “She had more curves than a scenic railway.” —  P.G. Wodehouse (one of my favorite authors)

Daily gratitudes:
Migraine medicine
That the lady at the DMV gave me three tries to get a good driver’s license photo (maybe)
Blue skies
How nice everyone at Western Washington University has been to deal with
Having my blog shared by my Southern Soul Sister at So Does That Mean I’m Southern

During our whirlwind college tour, KVK and I had to make a detour to Aberdeen, Washington. If you are KVK, you feel as if you are the female embodiment of Kurt Cobain, and I thought it would be a true treat for her to see the house he was partially raised in and the bridge he slept under. With at least tacit support from the town, Kurt’s fans have created a small park called Kurt Cobain Landing. The town of Aberdeen was grey and industrial, and felt a little depressed, but in its defense, it was a grey and rainy day. That certainly did not diminish KVK’s spirits, and she oozed optimism in the truck as we went over the wrong bridge, down dead end roads, and into cow country until we stumbled upon our destination.

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Even in the wet, it was a lovely little park, with humor:

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tender tributes:

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and a bit of a biographical sketch:

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But the true destination for diehard Kurt supporters is under the bridge.

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Even the bridge itself acknowledges this fact.

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Supporters (I don’t think that’s the right word, but the word “fans” seems far too minimal) have left their own tributes in the form of graffiti under the bridge where Kurt slept.

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Of course, my KVK had to check it out, and I left her to it.

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I left her there, by the muddy banks of the Wishkah, to convene with the many spirits that I could feel even in my brief pass-through. I sat in the car and watched the raindrops on the windows, watched couples come and go, admired the lace curtains on the little old house next to the park, and wondered how residents felt about all the comings and goings of Kurt fans. But the fans all were so very respectful to the space, and I liked that.

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When KVK emerged from her time under the bridge, she was thrilled. One half of one of the couples that I had seen come and go had chatted with her in that space that was special to them both. He had known Kurt back in the Aberdeen days, and had spent time smoking weed with him and dreaming there in the mud by the Wishkah. Even though this was far from the point of our trip, it was certainly one of the highlights for her, and something she’ll remember for her whole life. And that’s the best thing about our mother-daughter trips.

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I think Kurt would have approved.

Daily gratitudes:
A flock of mourning doves
My ginormous peony
Having KVK tonight
Carrying my camera everywhere again
The newly discovered mural on the building in my town

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