Because she loved sunflowers

Michelle would have been 51 years-old today. Here’s one of the many sunflowers in my yard that remind me of her spirit and generous heart.

July 3, 2021

Thank you for brightening my life with your friendship, Michelle. I’ll keep tilting my face to the sky and endless possibilities.

Monday mishmash

Ever since I ran on the trails Saturday, looking in vain for blooming thistles amongst all the brown and mostly-dead foliage, I keep thinking back to the thistles’ prickly displays in June. So, today I’m posting one from that beautiful day when the open space was ablaze with colors.

June 24, 2021

Yesterday evening, I met outdoors with Sunrise Movement friends whom I hadn’t seen since an action last summer outside (now Senator) Hickenlooper’s house. It was both lovely and bittersweet because another friend who was supposed to also be there had to remain in Minnesota to wait for her friend to get out of jail after being arrested (along with ~69 others) for protesting the Line 3 pipeline.  We had all sorts of emotions around that because the friend who was supposed to join us AND her arrested friend had been jailed in Denver with us in January 2020 (shout-out to M for continuing to be so fierce!)

Rather than go the conventional route and post people pics from our gathering, I’ll share not-great photos of the Great Horned Owl that serenaded us as we sat in the middle of an elementary school field. (I know how that sounds, but it was actually a pretty good setting, right up until the sprinklers came on and sprayed me and my stuff.)

Not sure whether the white patch in the photo above is a mouse dangling from the owl’s beak or just part of the groovy blurring effects.

And so I don’t leave on a carnivorous note, here’s one more random image for Monday Mishmash of the dandelion puffball Zippy brought inside for me today.

Wishing everyone a good week . . .

 

Thankful Thursday: ponds

I spent the afternoon at Sawhill Ponds and Walden Ponds in Boulder. I’d never been before. My goodness, it’s a lovely place to wander. At one point we were on a tiny trail along the shoreline, scrambling over fallen trees and uneven terrain, when we heard several plops.

Oops. There’d been an entire logful of turtles before we startled them away. Laura pointed out we wouldn’t even have noticed any of them if not for the sound. But lucky us, we were alerted to the presence of this lone turtle that remained. Resolute. And completely still. (I didn’t even notice the mirror image until I was cropping the photo.)

Ponds are magical places and I’m happy to have another soul-replenishing destination on my radar.

Reconnection

Yesterday was spent on the couch reading a book because I couldn’t muster energy to do anything else after the latest mass shooting that took place in Boulder. I am heartbroken and outraged that ten people were murdered and grateful my Boulder friends are safe (although deeply traumatized). One of those friends (from the Sunrise Movement) and I had a video call today. We haven’t had an extensive conversation since last June when he hosted a socially-distanced art build. I still remember the rush of emotions I felt that day when he answered my knock at his door. It was so good seeing his kind face again (through the blur of my tears).

Carl, unmasked. June 7, 2020

When his face appeared via video today, I felt similar feelings. We talked and talked and caught up. He shared his ideas for a new direction he’s considering taking. But it wasn’t until WAY into the call that I clarified he’d already taken steps toward that new direction. As he described the place and position he’d applied for, I got really excited for him because it sounded like the perfect fit. Then, just moments after I said as much, he let out a gasp.

“I’ve gotten an email from them.”

“Open it open it open it!”

They want to interview with him next week!

I’m sharing this here because these days so much feels ugly and difficult and cruel. But not this. Reconnecting with my young friend was wonderful. Witnessing him getting very good news was phenomenal. I’ve been smiling all day.

Twofer Tuesday: snow play edition

The snow has started falling again, much to the delight of these four kids.

It’s been fun seeing the many snow caves and tunnels and quinzhees around the neighborhood. When I lived in Anchorage, my good friend Anne S. did a weekend wilderness class during the winter in which they had to build quinzhees and then spend the night in them. She invited me to take the class with her, but I declined. When Anne returned, she regaled me with stories of a woman named Betsy who struggled throughout the weekend, constantly complaining about cold, wet, hunger, discomfort, etc.

I looked at Anne and said, “I would’ve been the Betsy of the quinzhee.”

True then and true now.

Thankful Thursday: Clear Creek edition

This morning I met my pal Laura Perdew  in Golden where we walked the paths next to Clear Creek. It was sunny, but cold and windy. After we adjusted, though, it was absolutely beautiful. We walked and talked. Walked and took in our surroundings. Laura spotted a duck on the water, a species neither of us recognized, and I lamented that I’d forgotten my camera. Later on, we circled back to where we’d started from and there was the duck again. These photos were all taken with my phone. I had on my prescription sunglasses that are polarized and couldn’t really see anything. Basically, I held up my phone and optimistically clicked away.

   

The above image on the left shows two mallards on the ice while the duck we didn’t recognize paddled about. (We later identified that paddler as a hybrid Common/Barrow’s Goldeneye, a perfectly stunning specimen). The Goldeneye is also in that photo on the right which was captured as I blindly clicked away.

These ice photos were taken from where I sat on a boulder in the sunshine, so very happy to be out in the natural world. I swear I could spend hours looking at ice formations.

     

It was a glorious morning and I’m going back there soon with my camera. Clear Creek is balm for my soul.

(Note: Right before waking this morning, I dreamt I was out in public and realized I’d forgotten to wear my mask. As I fumbled to put it on, I realized the throngs of people around me were all mask-less. I called through mine in a panic: “Where are your masks?” I was ignored. Fortunately, I’m pleased to report my real life experience was totally different and probably 95% of the people I saw today wore masks.)

In honor of Wildebeest

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of Wildebeest’s graduation from Fort Lewis College. It was a happy day for all of us (including Wildebeest’s childhood friend, Kyle) and there was much laughter throughout, including the lengthy and bitterly cold search for our car in the crowded parking lot after the ceremony.

Zebu, Wildebeest, Zippy, and creepy lurker friend, Kyle. December 20, 2019

Younger brother warming older brother’s head.

It’s a huge relief Wildebeest completed his degree before the pandemic hit (and it’ll be even better if/when he lands a job during the pandemic).  In the meanwhile, he used the time off to come back home to help care for his grandmother. He’s a good soul.

All hail Wildebeest!

Gratitude and grief

Because I’m an introvert, I’m maybe better equipped for this quarantine than others. But even though I recharge my batteries by being alone, that doesn’t mean I don’t still crave the company of others. And today, I’m missing my friends of the Sunrise Movement.

Phlox. August 6, 2020.

The entire time I fought alongside them, I was mindful of my very privileged position as a young-at-heart welcomed into the ranks of passionate young people fighting for a livable future. I was also completely unprepared for how quickly that situation could shift. I had no idea that in the very near future I wouldn’t see them regularly at hub meetings, trainings, art builds, and actions. While I didn’t take any of it for granted, it never occurred to me there’d come a time in which we wouldn’t trade smiles across a room and share hugs. I’m writing this with tears in my eyes and a hole in my heart. In addition to the obvious, this pandemic and our government’s botched response has destroyed so much. It hasn’t stopped Sunrise Colorado or those friendships, but it’s completely altered the landscape of each. Today I’m grateful for what we had and mourning all we’ve lost.

Wild bouquet

Yesterday I felt optimistic and filled with anticipation of good things to come. Today? Those glorious feelings have already faded and I’m in need of a boost. So I went to my photo archives in search of wildflowers.

August 28, 2019

These are Parry’s Primrose, spotted while hiking to Square Top Lakes with friend and critique partner, Laura Perdew. That was a very good day and these lovely little flowers are a reminder there are more good days in my future.

Some of my favorite things

Earlier this week, I prepared for the coming massive drop in temperature (over 60 degrees in 24 hours) and snowstorm by putting buckets over three of my sedum plants. The sedum had just come into bloom and I couldn’t bear thinking about the bees and butterflies losing that food. While we did lose a huge limb from our red maple, the plants fared better.

September 12, 2020

The sedum survived and my winged friends were out in force today.

(Shout-out to Michelle who would’ve been fifty years old today. She also loved flora and fauna.)

The party’s over

Typically, I attempt to photograph wildflowers so they are recognizable if not identifiable. But as I quickly scanned images from a year ago when I hiked to Square Top Lakes with Laura Perdew, this was the one that caught my eye.

August 28, 2019

What is it? An alpine aster, but I only know this because of the other flowers in the frame. This, though, was my favorite representation. The curled petals remind me of those rolled-up paper noisemakers that unfurl and then roll up again.

It seems the party’s over for this aster. But is this flower past its glory? Not to my eyes.

Thankful Thursday

It’s hard getting out of bed these days. I eventually got myself upright and after my morning ablutions, I reached for my hoop. For twenty minutes, I hoop-danced in front of my living room window. My mood lifted and I felt more energized. As I danced to the music, my eyes kept going to the purple coneflowers in the front garden bed and I told myself I’d photograph them when the dance session ended.

Purple Coneflowers. July 16, 2020.

Today I am grateful for these flowers, for my hoop, for music, and for my climate activist friend who’s currently reading my middle grade novel to make sure I didn’t misrepresent anything. Also? I’m glad I got out of bed.

Making friends

Vinca. April 23, 2019.

Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time – like to have a friend takes time.  ~ Georgie O’Keefe

In these days of social distancing, it’s vital we make friends wherever and whenever possible.

Hello, Vinca Minor. My name is Tracy. I’m pleased to make your acquaintance.

Making friends

Lots of sunshine here today and I was eager to get outside after two days “trapped” indoors by snowstorm and frigid temperatures. Silly me, I assumed my three menfolk and the dog would share my eagerness. Not so. I finally coaxed Emma off the deck and tried to get a game of chase going in the backyard but, after taking a piddle, she ran back to the deck. The guys stayed indoors, refusing to join in the fun. (Except for when they stepped out long enough to lob a snowball or two at me.)

Well, they missed out on some awesome conditions. Warm sunshine + snow just dying to be packed and rolled into balls. However, the snow was verrrry heavy. Oof.

Eventually, I gave up on creating snow friends and started to play a game of Jenga with myself. Here’s an early iteration (actually, two).

My final Jenga tower was above my head and just as I handed my phone to Zebu to take a picture of me standing next to it, it tipped over. The tower was truly glorious and you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Celebrate, honor, and protect

When my friend Laura tipped me off to today’s significance, National Bird Day, I went in search of an appropriate bird photo. Oops. I could look at bird photos for a looong time. So many beauties to choose from. I forced myself to make a decision and settled on this dapper Blue Jay.

Clearwater, Florida. May 3, 2019

Birds are the canaries in the climate change coal-mine. Today and every day, I celebrate their existence. I can’t fathom a world without them. We must make big changes and quickly. #GreenNewDeal

Gratitude x 3 = Celebration

Yesterday at 5:45 pm I realized I hadn’t seen my indoor cat, Marcel, in hours. Zippy, Zebu, and I spent the next several hours in the cold and dark, calling to Marcel who goes silent when afraid. We eventually quit and went to bed to toss and turn, trying in vain to forget how cold it was outside. At 6:30 this morning, Zippy (again) checked the garage we’d left open four inches. This time, Marcel was curled up in the cat bed Zebu had put on top of the recyling bin. SO GRATEFUL.

Five minutes ago, I finished writing the first draft of my new middle-grade novel. It clocks in at 42,793 words and is a whole lot of talking heads and not a whole lot of description, which means it’s kinda skeletal. But I’d hoped to finish by the end of today and, despite my lack of sleep (see Above), I did it! Will I cringe when I read the draft in a couple weeks? Possibly. But there’s no revision without a first draft, baby. Again, I AM SO GRATEFUL.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Tomorrow morning Zippy, Zebu, Wildebeest’s childhood friend (Kyle C), and I are driving to Durango, CO, where Wildebeest lives. His graduation ceremony is on Friday and we’ll be there to witness that incredible milestone. Wildebeest was an avid student until he hit middle school and then had some bad “learning” experiences that completely turned him off school. His was an on-again-off-again college journey and he laments being such an “old graduate,” but I was also 26 when I graduated college (and look how well I turned out!) I’m proud of my tenacious son and GRATEFUL we’ll be there to witness his accomplishment.

Standing tall

Great Egret. May 5, 2019. Clearwater, FL

Last night I met with the young leaders of the Sunrise Movement in Colorado, and heard some tough news. As I listened, I slouched lower and then lower in my chair. At the same time, I noticed the young woman across from me sitting straighter, back erect and strong. It was as if I was a cautionary tale. The lower I went, the higher she sat. No caving in for her. It was a beautiful sight.

I’d like to be more mindful of sitting and standing tall, no matter the situation.

A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind. ~ Morihei Ueshiba

So long, Saturday

This week brought ice, snow, and frigid temperatures. But in classic Colorado style, today was blue skies, sunshine, and a balmy 55 degrees. My sons and a friend joined Emma and me on a walk around the neighborhood this afternoon, and the weather was so delicious I wanted more. When we got home, I put on my running togs and ran around the neighborhood streets.

Final light of the day hits neighbor’s roof as melting snow falls in jeweled strands.

And even though the sun has disappeared behind the hills, I’m still feeling good. Thank you, sunshine and endorphins!