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…

Continue reading

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…

Continue reading

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…

Continue reading

Late Bloomer

A reader recently called Rough Beauty—a fairy tale.  She was not being kind.  At first I laughed.  Anyone who knows me knows I am no princess; not once have I been a damsel in distress.  The course of my life has been a dirty mess, traversing the scarred landscape of family and fire, the misery of isolation and working too much for too little.  I could go on, but you get the picture. And yet, I’ve…

Continue reading

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…

Continue reading