Finding My Place

For years, I could see the Indian Peaks from the deck of the little cabin.  My life was oriented east-west.  The sun rose at my back and set in front of me.  And the mountains to the west—always the west along the Front Range of Colorado—anchored me in the middle of a compass.  “The mountains are west,” we say to tourists and new-combers trying to figure out where they are. When I moved to Milwaukee…

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Tilting Toward Embrace

On the coldest morning of the season, when the day dawns just above zero and the expected high is only 5 degrees; on the same day when the windchill will plunge to the minus double digits, and I’ll drive home through pockets of swirling snow so thick, the road disappears, River begins to blow out his coat.  It began as a net of fur coating my hand whenever I pulled on his ears and ruffled…

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Lucia & Me

Mind you, sometimes the angels smoke, hiding it with their sleeves, and when the archangel comes, they throw he cigarettes away:  that’s when you get shooting stars. —Vladimir Nabokov I spent late Christmas day and the next morning with Lucia Berlin. Greg made a present of her recently published memoir, Welcome Home, and I picked it up immediately.  As I read the book not once but twice, Lucia’s voice came back to me–earthy and rich, but…

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Living Deeply

These past weeks have been a rush of busy-ness. Fall on the mountain always feels fleeting, with glorious pockets of gold aspens one week and new snow the next. Each year, I’m surprised at the suddenness in the change of season. There’s an urgency in the air as I try to take in one last dinner on the deck, one last long hike in the high country, all the while getting and stacking wood and…

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Chasing Light

This morning, out early to let out the dog who seemed to have urgent need, I encountered a robin in full featherage sitting motionless beneath the bird bath.  The bird didn’t so much as flinch  as River and I walked past.  After I put the dog back in, I kept walking out to the edge of the deck to check on the puffed red body below,  holding the idea of its life in my mind,…

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