Picking Up Rocks #2

Picking Up Rocks #2

I came to a conclusion this morning after hearing more news about the world chaos–it is like a play on Broadway which has had a really, really, long run—too long—and no one can do anything about it, because the actors are all dedicated to playing their parts. It also reminds me of an old Twilight Zone or Outer Limits episode where all the characters are stuck playing out their roles over and over again, no matter what. The scenarios will never be resolved or come to an end. We don’t have to worry about an apocalypse or an end to the world, because they like playing their roles too much! There will always be people playing the same roles over and over, including the Peace-niks and the Buddhists and the Christians and the Feminists—every single group of human beings working for change in peace, harmony, love and the environment! The only thing that will change the state of the world is the world herself—Mother Earth. All she has to do is what she’s been doing for a zazillion years—shaking us off her body by quaking, and erupting and icing over, or cooking every living being on earth, into a primordial soup! Our efforts puny next to what she can do and what she will do—it’s just a matter of time—mark my words! In the meantime, those-who-would-be-kings will continue their posturing over who rules what and we lovers of M.E. and peace and love will continue our meditations and prayers and fights for equality and all kinds of rights, because this is what we do. Even when we realize our efforts don’t amount to a hill of beans, we’ll keep doing it, cuz it’s in our DNA or something, or it just makes us feel good. But it won’t matter, cuz the stories are all made up anyway, no less, no more than “Where the Wild Things are” or “Avatar” or any story about war or religion or the environment

Which, by the way, is NOT an excuse to just keep screwing things up! The Universe has given us, or created us to have our own free will to create our life around us, and this is just what we do. We cannot stop, at least while we are alive. Am I being cynical? Perhaps. Or perhaps this is part of my role. I guess we all choose our roles and play them out the best we can, no one better than another, but we keep trying to be better, even though that hill of beans keeps getting smaller and smaller!

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Ahhh, winter in Colorado! Just when I’ve bitched and moaned to my friends and neighbors (one in the same) about the snow and all the shoveling and getting someone to do it for us and we’ve all moaned enough about it, I have two glasses of Zinfandel, walk across the street to my home, and I’m ready to shovel again. There is something about Colorado that is magical. Exhausted as I was, I felt ready to tackle what I was exhausted from, again. The cloudy, flurried night had a clarity about it that I did not see during the day, when my mind was overwhelmed with bodiy aches and pains, thinking I couldn’t lift another shovel full. I inhaled the clear, crisp, cool night air ( a few flakes too!) and joyously shoveled–reveling in the fact that I live in Colorado and “they” don’t!

The thought of having to shovel snow from in front of the deck so that I could shovel snow off the deck was said out loud to loved one, with a laissez-faire attitude I could not have mustered during the day. It was my duty to do this job. It was an honor. It was a sign of strength. It was an “I’m a Colorado mountain woman and I am strong like bull and I can take it!” While others may moan and bitch about having to do this, tonight I was proud and courageous and I loved being in the Colorado mountains. I do not live in Florida where the people (and a good friend of mind) cannot stand it if the temperature gets below 70 degrees. Furthermore, I could not live in that climate, period. The snow is so beautiful here and it is such a blessing, that tonight I am happy to be shoveling it off the already packed to below-the-deck capacity.

Even the sound of the neighbor’s snow-blower, which bothered me during the day because it disturbed the beautiful snowy silence, other than the sound of shovels, that I could concentrate on rather than how much snow was left to shovel and how painful my forearems felt, was just part of the crisp, refreshing night air–in Colorado! I didn’t mind anything. It was all good and I am livng in one of the most beaufiful parts of the state–and “they” don’t!

When it is spring, summer and autumn, the 66’ deck is a place of places–to view the views and soak up the warm sunlight and have grill-outs in the evenings, where winter snows are not even considered. I wouldn’t trade it for all the Sarasota’s in the world (although, the thought did cross my mind a few times the last few days, as it always does during “shovel season”!).

My brother, who lives in “middle nothing” Kansas, calls my other brother Darryl and I and all those who live in Colorado, “Colorado snobs.” Damn right, and proud of it!! I was born in Kansas, but my soul is here and I am proud to recognize it. We have a lot to be proud of, living in Colorado and no matter how much I bitch and moan about aches and pains from snow shoveling, I wouldn’t trade this place for any other place in the world–yet.

However, I am getting older and my body does not respond well to as much physical strain as it used to. So, I and loved one have purchased a snow-blower, at least for the driveway–we’ll still have the deck to shovel, and the roof to rake. The snow-blower hasn’t arrived, yet, and they can’t deliver it because of the snow, but I believe by the time the next big storm comes, we’ll be ready, and very happy to still be living in Colorado!

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Morning Meditation

My morning meditation led to me thinking about my favorite subject—planet earth. How massive she is and the magnificent Universe who enfolds us all. How, here we are, these grouping of molecules, atoms, and cells and whatever, formed into the shapes we think we are in. And how incredible the things we can do are-–how brilliant we are and how we see all that is on this earth, the birds and ora and fauna–how amazing it is that we are aware of it all and we have no clue how it all was created. Well, except from the words of scholars and scientists who have studied all this and devised a story because they really don’t know either. They only have their hypotheses. This is what perhaps early humans did. Just looked around at their surroundings and decided it had to be some giant ethereal being or father who created all the magnificent life forms we are and all the others, by pointing his finger here and there and all over the planet. So they created stories to go with their hypotheses, because they needed to have something concrete to be able to point their fingers at and proclaim, “this is it!” But nobody knows for sure and it drives the more insecure and the scientist’s nuts. If only they would go to a Redwood forest and put their arms around the trunk of one of those giant plants, or stand on the shores of an ocean, or look at mountains, or stars on a dark night and listen to the birds and frogs… They just might be amazed enough to realize there is so much more to us and every living thing on this planet than just taking and using all of the life around us for $. All of this is right here, right now and we are all linked, made of the same minerals, atoms and molecules—no finger pointing needed.

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We all say it, “the sun rises” and “the sun sets…” While in reality, or real as reality can get, it is we who are on this planet rising or setting. We on this cycling planet whirling around at 625 mph while encircling the sun at the same time–supposedly, as many theories would have us believe. As I sit here with “the sun rising” in my window on the door, second by second, I must shade my eyes in order not to be flooded with her blindingly beautiful and warm light. We even have a famous author whose well known book is entitled “The sun Also Rises.” While in fact, the earth is rotating second by second and moving around the sun day by day, year by year. It’s an amazing feat, this delicate balance, this dance between poles and magnetics and gravity.

I remember learning the difference between a motor and an engine–an engine is combustion driven and a motor is at it’s simplest a magnet wrapped with copper wiring driven by electricity. It seems the earth is like that simple motor, but hardly realized by most. Of course, it is pretty difficult to say “the Earth spins and cycles around the sun for one more second or minute, or hour,” so it is easier to dismiss and say the sun rises and sets. It is a magic interplay that I feel very grateful to be witness to and awed by–relating it all to myself and my life, knowing that second by second the positioning of the Sun and the Earth changes as I progress through the day. I rise, spinning as I cycle around the sun, then I set while the moon reflects the sun that is shining in another part of the world…

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a place from where you draw strength, where you feel at home–the place from where you are your most authentic self…

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The call of a distant Whip-poor-will echoed across the field—I had not heard that haunting voice since a camp-out many years ago on the Buffalo River in Arkansas. My friend and I were snuggled in our sleeping bags one night and were able to count the number of calls until we fell asleep. It was beautiful, haunting and lulling. I believe we counted around 200, before we succumbed to the sursurration of the river. The hills of the Cascades beyond this field, sported their tan suede winter attire and the cool moist air held a possibility of much needed rain—bushes and trees waiting patiently for the spring awakening, like bears in hibernation. I was grateful and breathed deeply the cool air, in between Whippoorwill verses. I am richer for partaking of this feast of nature. My canine companion explored the scents and leavings on the ground—knowing in one sniff more than I can even imagine. I was taking in what I could with my own senses and perceiving the world around me in my own way.


I turn the key slowly and quietly, knock a couple of times and say, “Yoo hoo, Barbara” so as not to startle her—she doesn’t know that I am there to caretake her. As far as she knows, I am a friend who is there to visit. Once she asked cheerily, “Well, what are YOU doing here?” and I replied, of course, “I’m here to visit with you”, to which she replied, “Ohhh, that’s nice!” She never calls me by name, because she can’t remember. However, there appears to be a sense of familiarity, no matter how slight, that she feels with me. What matters is helping to make her day as cheerful and comfortable, moment to moment, as I can, to make sure she eats and that she doesn’t get scared. I ask her if she wants to eat, she tells me she’s not hungry, so I just make it and serve it, calling her Madame and Queen— she says, cheerfully, “I could get used to this!”

She has started being awake when I am there. She used to be asleep until late in the morning, but now when I “visit” she is up and doesn’t sleep all afternoon as soon as she has breakfast.  She even got out of her nightgown and robe and put on street clothes, lipstick and a little mascara, to go for a walk outside, even though it took her forty minutes to get it done! I teased her that we weren’t going to the opera, and she laughed and said, “Well, you never know whom you might run into!”

There are several days when I don’t see her, so the next time I am there could very well be different. There is another caregiver there when I am not, so it could be a drastic change, and I will again have to adjust and start over with the stimulation and the relating to her.  We have had some good girlfriend-like conversations and laughter, and I can see a very slight, but noticeable, difference. And I am aware of the possibility of a change in her mood, or her cognizance that might happen from visit to visit.

I cannot imagine being without the ability to be aware of nature, to hear with a knowing, the haunting calls of the Whip-poor-will, in the field, with the backdrop of mountains. So my empathy for someone with memory issues is part of my relating to her. I would love to provide her with some sense of her world, as well as some sense of security. However, with my caregivees who have memory issues, the old adage holds true, “every day is a new day” and it may not matter to her, anyway. Who knows, but I carry on as if it does matter…


I have to distance myself, to a certain extent, from my work, because just like when I go to a movie I take on the characters and the movie, which sticks with me for a few hours. So, it is with the elderly clients I have with physical problems or memory issues. I worry about my own physical or mental status, which in reality is great. I love taking care of these “grandmothers”, but I have to shake the fears out of my mind. I’ve become more aware of getting older, with the sometimes concomitant frailty and swear that I will take care of myself in order to avoid the so-called aging things that can happen. I have become more aware of the number of years that may be left for me. I know it is short for most of them, but I sometimes worry and want to yell “Noooo!” in hopes it will keep “those things” at bay. I work very hard on staying in the moment, each and every moment, because I do know I am not immune to the inevitable transition that every life has to make. So, I just work on my “now’s,” for now, and attempt to bring momentary laughter and love to my “clients.”


I’ve tried to save a tree this last couple of weeks—a Western Red Cedar tree whose only fault is to be leaning less than 10% towards my neighbor’s house, but fear seems to take over our lives so easily, and I’m afraid the tree will be cut down, as much as my neighbor’s fear of it falling. There is nothing wrong with the tree—no disease or root rot—it just leans. You know how many trees lean in this beautiful town of trees? It doesn’t matter. The fear that is already rampant in the world about almost everything else, has taken over even down to the simplest fear—“it leans, it might fall on the house”. The tree has probably been there for at least 50 years, so far, and has self-corrected. Nature always seeks balance, like water its own level, and this tree certainly has given it a good effort. I told him, “I am speaking as a tree person” and he replied with “so am I…” Huh? Not really, man, or you wouldn’t be so quick to want it down! Just as we are related to other animals on this planet, so too are we related to plants, and to the biggest of plants—trees. The book by Rutherford Platt, entitled, “The Great American Forest”, written in 1965 was the most incredible book about trees and forests and all that goes on with the lives of both every day.  My mother, who was a definite tree person, also, lent me this book, which I never gave back because it was so good! In the chapter “River of Sap” a very startling statement gave me a clue to our relationship with trees. “Chemistry, probing the wonder of chlorophyll, stumbled over a fascinating fact that may reveal an evolutionary kinship between trees and human beings. If the single atom of magnesium is detached from the chlorophyll molecule and an atom of iron is put in its place, the same numbers of atoms and their arrangement become a molecule of red blood.” It would be like cutting down a human relative, because they aren’t perfect…


I have help in this very small tussle with the council who decides, after facts are presented, the fate of this tree. A former Tree commissioner and a current one both very much tree people, have been encouraging me and guiding me, as well as doing their own things for the tree. 


I am remembering the time I was actually able to save a life, after years of working in hospitals, trying to save lives ad rarely succeeding. I had finished working a night shift at a hospital in Colorado and was cruising along through the canyon along the Arkansas River, when up ahead I noticed a car going really slow and some women out on the road. So I pulled over onto the side of the road and got out to ask the women what was going on. They pointed to a small dog (Chihuahua mix) up ahead running along the road and said they couldn’t catch it and were afraid it’d get hurt. Something happened and my adrenaline kicked in— I knew exactly what to do. I immediately ran back to my truck, grabbed a towel from the back seat, then ran after the dog who growled, trying to snap at me, so I threw the towel over it (a perfect shot!) and then was able to grab it and hold it. I took it to the car of women and a couple of kids, and handed the scared little dog to them.  They were very grateful, and the dog looked like she was feeling safe. I went back to my truck after saying goodbye and sat for a moment to catch my breath—then I cried. All the way home I was high on the adrenaline, crying intermittently and awed by the experience—the one and only time I felt I had ever truly been able to save a life.


This beautiful, tall, Red Cedar tree across the street, however, can only be saved by the owner. No matter what I say or do I’ve done what I could, but his fear has taken over–and I’m no Dot Fisher-Smith chaining myself to the logging truck in order to save the tree!


I cannot bring back memory to someone with memory issues, nor life back to stiff and worn out human limbs. The limbs of this tree hold nests and food supplies and shelter for our feathered companions, not to mention shade and cooling for the human in the house. I so wish I had more pull, more authority— a towel I could throw over the head of the scared, who would cut down a beautiful tree, or the elderly patients with problems in their memory and with those who are considered at risk for “falling…”

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Smokey sunset

CIMG3560Smokey sunset

After days and nights of smoke it began to dissipate…

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