Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Dance of Seasons

Winter and spring push and pull at high altitude.
Three days of storms deposit 33" (84cm) of snow.
We need the moisture to safeguard against summer wildfires.

Bob keeps busy plowing, shoveling decks , and raking the roof.
Temperatures rise again, and the new snow melts quickly.

Tourists stop visiting for awhile as the ski areas close for the season.
Town is quiet and deserted.

I walk along the shores of Lake Dillon noticing spring changes.
Ground cover watered by melting snow glows in the sunlight.

Wind clouds gather over the Continental Divide.
In a coffee shop. I watch two young women communicate gracefully in sign language.
A young man with green-dyed curls, a contrasting red beard, and a nose ring works on his computer.
I see it all and smile in appreciation.

Our family will visit this weekend.
Perhaps our son will play for us.

We'll hug and say goodbye.
Bob and I leave for CA soon.
The fox will stay to guard the property.

Goodbye mountains and hello beach!
The dance of seasons is my One Good Thing today.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Springtime in the Rockies

Spring at high altitude is very subtle.
Temperatures rise slowly above freezing only to dip again.
Sunshine suddenly gives way to snow showers.
Daylight lingers longer.

Animals roam through our property.
The foxes are curious, peering in our windows.

Bull moose shed their antlers.
Bears leave their dens after hibernation.
Coyotes howl a mating song.

I'm still downhill and cross country skiing.
The snow conditions change daily.
I wait for the sun to soften the surface before heading out.

I notice bushes changing to rust and gold as buds emerge.
Ice on streams and ponds is melting.

I have a spring smile on my winter face.

Happy spring!

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Connection and Solitude

Bubbles the Bunny is very outgoing

I tend to be a quiet person - not the life of the party.
When I'm in a group, I listen more than speak.
With close friends, however, I can talk, talk, talk.

my lone ski tracks leaving our property

Connection is important for my well-being.
However, I'm most at ease in solitude.

Some days I don't feel like going into the cold.
I'd rather read in front of the fire sipping tea...

selfie while out on touring skis

However, I put on layers and snap into my touring skis.
I start gliding into the forest and in a short while I'm smiling.

new fox tracks on our deck

When I'm alone, I'm very alert.
I see the tracks of animals and determine if they're old or new.

scenery that makes me smile

My skis groan and creak in the cold.
Going downhill, they squeal a high pitched tune.
Sometimes, I laugh out loud at their antics.

We are all so different.
That's what makes life interesting.
Time to connect and time for solitude are my good things today.

Outdoor photos are iPhone X.
Indoor photos are Olympus OMD-EM1.

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Questions and Answers

I was getting 5 year old Sam ready to return home after spending a weekend with us.

"I love you, Grammy!"
"I'm going to come live with you when I finish college."

"Well," I said, "that's a really long time from now."

"Will you be dead?" he asked.

"That's possible," I answered.

"But, I'll miss you! How will I find you?" he wondered.

I patted his head and tapped his chest.
"I'll always be in your memories and in the love inside your heart."

Satisfied, he smiled and hugged me again before leaving.

The innocence of children is my One Good Thing today.

Amanda and Ben with little brother Sam.

Our oldest grandchildren celebrate their 15th birthdays in February.
Ben was born 1 minute before Amanda.
They were the first to call us Grammy and Pop Pop.

It's been a joy to watch them grow and mature.
We're very proud of them.

Being Grandparents is another very Good Thing!

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Friday, January 26, 2018

Get Up and Start Over

Here is what I know:
if I fall, I get up
if I fail, I start over

A few days ago, I spent a fantastic morning skiing.
On my last run before heading home, I flew over my skis and landed on my face.
I hit  the snow and bounced, my goggles and glasses smacking me hard.
I was stunned for a moment but then began assessing the damage.

I felt shaky but could tell my body wasn't broken or torn.
However, I had an immediate headache from the blow.
My prescription glasses were in pieces inside my goggles.

A young man, a Good Samaritan, made his way to me:
"Are you OK - can I help you?"
I was up high, hidden in a copse of trees.
I was surprised he found me there.
He was fuzzy - my eyesight is poor without the glasses.

I told him I was OK but had broken my glasses.
I asked if he'd ski to the bottom of the slope to find Bob.
I described what he was wearing.
"Tell him I'm OK - I'll be down soon."

I put the broken glasses in a pocket and slowly rose on the skis.
Dizzy at first, I started making careful turns to the bottom.
Skiing without my glasses felt wierd.

When I finally saw the bright blue of Bob's coat, I was relieved.
Following him, I made my way to the base of the mountain.

I'm still a child at heart.

I've been skiing since age 27 - for 46 years, I've enjoyed the sport.
My mind and body and spirit have benefited from years of balancing and making turns.
Looking down from the top of a snowy mountain is thrilling.
Linking turns on skis is like floating through an expanse of white.
Even though my body is old, skiing allows me to feel graceful.

I'm still sore, so I'm sidelined a few days.
My neck muscles are tight from the whiplash.
Luckily, I have another pair of glasses.
(I always wear an older pair when skiing.)

Our youngest grandson Sam, age 5, learning to ski - photo by his sister, Amanda

Life is about getting up and starting over.
Resilience is my One Good Thing today.

I'm also very thankful for the Good Samaritan.

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Monday, January 15, 2018

The Purity of White

At last we got some snow.
Of course, we can always use more!
The forest behind our house looks pristine dressed in white.

 On touring skis, sounds are muted as I break trail:
branches click in the wind
skis sing through new powder
poles scratch into the surface
breath huffs and puffs into icy air
heart beats a regular rhythm

fox tracks form a necklace on the trail

Animal tracks etch the snow.
I read the marks and stay watchful.
Squirrel, rabbit, fox, coyote, porcupine, deer, and moose wander in search of food.
My tracks crisscross theirs to add another chapter to the story.

The hues of winter change with light and shadow.

I pass a tiny cabin in a meadow.
I'm alone with my thoughts and the purity of white.

mother and daughter trees

The beauty of winter is my One Good Thing today.

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I appreciate your e-mails of good wishes from my former post.
Your kindness makes me smile.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Keeping the Beat

Eight years ago, early in the morning of January 8, I had a heart attack.
I was well and then suddenly I was in trouble.
Unknown to me, I tore the inner layer of the LAD artery near my heart skiing the previous day.
A blood clot formed at the tear and finally traveled to my heart.
Each year when January 8 rolls around, I give thanks.
I don't take my beating heart for granted.
I celebrate life on January 8.

I was thankful when I woke this morning.
Throughout the day, I was aware of my heart beating strongly.
So much has happened in the past 8 years.
I'm grateful I'm alive to bear witness.

I walked in warm sunshine this afternoon. 
The sky was a blue porcelain bowl overheard.
Gauzy clouds touched the peaks. 
The snow crunched under my trail shoes.

I passed a decaying pumpkin perched on a stump.
There was a light breeze blowing my hair.
A squirrel scolded me.
Neighbors waved.

"Thank you for this life," I whispered.

My beating heart is my Good Thing today - and every day.

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Judge Not...

What does it mean to be non-judgemental?
The brain, left to its own devices, is judgemental. 
We judge good/bad, right/wrong, fair/unfair.  
We have biases and often act on them immediately.

Larimer Square, Denver - Christmas Eve.

For many years, I've practiced delaying opinion.
Careful listening and observation are positive practices.
In the moment, I try to see nuance.
I attempt to get a clear picture of reality with an awareness that lacks bias.
I try to understand others' ideas and behaviors rather than leap to preset judgements.
However, I often fail and fall back on my old ways of thinking/behaving.
It's definitely difficult to suspend judgement.

Bob outside Union Station, Denver

So, as I say goodbye to 2017, I'm determined to renew my efforts.
I'm not perfect, and I hope others won't judge me too harshly.
Likewise, I hope to moderate my rush to judgement.

I'd like my opinions to be formed with a contemplative mind.
In today's ever-changing world, I owe myself the ability to adapt.
Leaping to judgement stymies adaptation.
I don't want to remain mired in old thought processes and behaviors.

Antique sled on our front porch in Breckenridge - old even when I used it as a girl.

In 2018, I hope to 
pause more,
listen carefully,
see clearly,
slow my judgmental mind.

I hope for mindfulness and peace that calm the spirit.
I wish the same for you.

My first day of skiing in December 2017 - Peak 9, Breckenridge Ski Area

Happy New Year from Barb!

A fresh start is my One Good Thing today.

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Saturday, December 16, 2017


After working in her gardens all day, my mother would relax in her sunroom with a “Frisky.”
She combined Fresca (a grapefruit soda) with whiskey poured over ice.
When the children and I visited in the late afternoon,
she made them Friskies, too.
Theirs were just soda and ice.

Lately, I’ve been drinking Friskies in the silvery light of early morning.
I pour mineral water in a glass.
I add a splash of grapefruit juice.
I sit in my big chair by the window and sip.
I smile as I remember my mother.

All these years later, the taste of the Frisky evokes the heat of summer days, the sweet smell of roses, buzzing of bees, bare feet, the innocence of children, and the gift of unhurried conversation.
There is a feeling of contentment.
(We thought we had all the time in the world.)

The children have grown and have children of their own.
My mother died long ago on one of those languid summer days.
I’m older now than she was when she died.
Still, the happiness we all felt in the company of each other remains.

I sit in my chair in a part of the country far away from my mother’s sunroom.
It’s winter. The fireplace flickers and warms the room.
I sip my Frisky and smile.
I give thanks for memories - they are my good things today.

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The photos were taken near my home in Breckenridge and at Dillon Lake.