The Hard Prayer

For this post, I excerpt the prologue of my memoir, Rough Beauty: Forty Seasons of Mountain Living, a Colorado Book Award Finalist, out in paperback on June 4th.  The passage details the cabin fire that claimed all my possessions and most of my writing two months before I turned 40 in the Spring of 2004.  The challenges of high altitude spring have been much on my mind as my corner of the Rockies has expierenced…

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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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My Mind on Winter

August in the mountains and I can feel summer begin to ebb.  At the prairie house, I‘d be staring down the barrel of at least two more months of way-too-hot-for-me weather, while nearly 4000 feet higher this morning’s temperature registered in the upper 40s.  Already the days have cooled from what passes as scorching in late June and July—a burning, high altitude 85 degrees–and there are nights when I pull an extra comforter over the…

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The Wait

Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –              When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush                                                    —Gerard Manley Hopkins Spring is doing its spring thing here in Colorado, which means warm days when I don skirts and show off my winter-white legs followed by snow and temperatures in the 20s.  This morning, I woke to the grey of January and ice covering newly greened grass.  Just a week…

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