Trust and the undeniable unpredictable

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I see it now, the limitless purpose of the moving, invisible finish line.

I clasp with weathered hands, squeeze, and hold firm to the Uncomfortable. Digging my feet into the earth, I relax my lips and draw in a deep, nourishing breath, giving in to the knowledge that the full opus of who I am may never be completed. Every, single moment is a surrender to the undeniable unpredictable. Sustained, crystal clarity is but an enigmatic shadow, like the glorious pink and purple sunsets I crave, fabulous yet fleeting until the next rising sun.

“Endings and beginnings are merely paired facets of an imagined stone curtain, behind which a plethora of opportunities await.”
~Ged Thompson, Liverpool Poet

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328 year old Southern Live Oak

My daughter often asks me why good things have to end. Why playdates can’t last 3 days and why fantastical stories are only 175 pages long. She is too young to know the value of the darkness, though we tell stories in the dark, though we can only bask in the brilliant moon in the dark, though stars can only illuminate the way in the dark. Pain seeps through our soft crevices when we have to say goodbye to the things we love, to the things that make us happy, to the things that scintillate our earthly skin. But it’s never “goodbye”, only “until next time.”

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”
~Frank Herbert

We are all extraordinary and the lives we paint are meant to bring shivers up any spine for the power and energy we emit. This is the shine of our radiant, authentic souls that only borrow our human body for the experiences we create. Only by diving through fire, dancing with ecstasy, and climbing through pain can true enlightenment–ever so brief– be touched. Then we must do it all over again–begin…again and again. I can accept this. I can accept this because this is the only promise I am owed. The promise that my life is meant to circle every color of the rainbow, every shade of light emitted through the living prism–birth, growth, death and rebirth. I am evolution for stagnation is a soul’s death beyond measure. The only thing required of me, the only challenge I must face with every pregnant, beautiful breath, is to trust, trust the undeniable unpredictable, love it even. Trust…trust that no matter what stops, what fails, what rises, or falls, that it will all soon begin again. There is no end, no finishing line, just one beautiful, sparkling spiral.

“A Woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself ”

~ Maya Angelou

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Happy New Year and much love to you all….

xoxo

October

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It’s finally happening–the painstaking gaze from without to within. The simple pour that this thirsty soul has been begging for; the welcome tingle of blood flowing back to numbed skin.

It feels good to shed again.
Lifted by the spirits that surround me,
swept by the leaves that fell before me,
and re-awakened by the universe that carries me–
I am here.

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October, October, god how I love October. She shook my bones and hollowed out the core. She gave to me by taking from me the materials that I sometime confuse as necessary. A new car damaged, an expensive camera lost, a windshield cracked, a vision obscured by nonsense. I have finally let them go and now I can see my own hands again.

And then there is this–this dark, beautiful package that arrived early in October.

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She is Cici and she is bountiful energy and unharnessed joy. She has given me gifts called “reminders” that things are never as heavy as they seem.

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I’ve loved the autumn that Colorado has given us this year. October fades behind her colors, leaving only the scent of her natural shift. Renewed and re-spirited, a creative flow presses through with eagerness and might against the walls that have held her captive–a slow awakening on the edges of winter’s hibernating call.

Goodbye October, and thank you.

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Happy Halloween and much love to you all…
xoxo

September

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September is gone and I gratefully welcome the shift into Autumn. October is such a beautiful month, rippled with saturations of orange, red, yellow and brown. These are the colors I adore, the colors of earth, wood, and leaf, the colors that support the last days of brilliant cycles that serve to only begin new ones. Nature never goes quietly, does it? Not to those who pay attention…

Life in the day to day has been stressful. Adjusting to new schedules, splitting myself between to two schools, and giving myself wholly to the Volunteer mom credo, which is “offer time, give time, spend time, repeat”, has left few moments to write or create as I once did when the children were younger. And the longer I am out there offering support, the more I see how much it’s desperately needed. Our community, our families, and our schools most certainly need it. The longer I am out there, the more I yearn for that village which relies upon each of its members to see a bigger picture. We are not the lone drivers of our lives, we do need each other more than ever and I see that now. We are not one family, we are one family in a collective and I am grateful to those I’ve met who see it the same way. I would not survive this school year were it not for those who see this same way.

My husband and I learned something in late August, something that has me thinking differently about the assumed futures we (sub)consciously impose upon ourselves and our children. My little Bee has been tested to have a learning disability. And while I can be grateful that she has just as many, if not more, powerful strengths than weaknesses, I can only blame human nature for wanting to mete out those blackened seeds with my imaginary Mom powers. Life is difficult enough without the bruises we carry and the heartbreaks that wait, and I wish with all my earthly might I could save her from all the pain that has yet to unfold. My heart breaks, dammit, it breaks.

There is little room for pity, no time for sadness, and the future for this child remains clear, bright and undiscovered as it always has been. Meanwhile I will work hard for her as I always have to help her find her path, her hope, and her destiny as it simply waits for us to catch up. And she will tell me stories of the dragon and the fox, the fairies and the woods, and I will know that somehow these creatures and her brilliant imagination will help her find her way, I just know it will.

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I am happy to see you go September. Take with you the restless heart and the fearful mind. Take with you the bitter bites of sadness and perimenopause! Leave the joy received from giving, from sharing, from friendships and family, and let it feed the warming embers that begin October. I am ready. We are all ready…

much love to you
xoxo

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Walk don’t run.

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July was a solid month of summer joy. With alternating rows of high heat, rain, cool evenings and persisting humidity, July defined our days and served us spontaneity and unpredictability on a platter. Instagram has been my main mode of connection, and if we are friends on Instagram I apologize for the repeats, but I can’t help lingering on the square boxes of delicious color, space and moment, mine and yours.

As August steps in, I see a boy soon turning 12 and starting middle school. I nearly lost my breath in dreaded despair last night as I realized (again) that he is slipping from my fingers with each passing day. He is texting me regularly now (though 3 feet from me) with his newly acquired iPod and the mixture of feeling has me thinking I’m bipolar. I suffer quietly among the frays of his passing childhood and shriek for the future he heads towards. I pray please walk, don’t run towards that future my son….I manage only by the dance that rips me from these moments and casts me among the weightless planes of utter joy. Only when I stop do I remember the earthly committments I am still bound to. Only when I stop do I remember where I am or what time it is.

As school begins in a matter of weeks, so does a fresh year of volunteer responsibilities. It is how I stay close to my children you see….And somewhere before that madness begins is a short trip to NYC with the kids, a week alone with the Mister to wander and drive remote Adirondack roads, and a visit with one of my most cherished friends and her family in the hills of New Hampshire. I will squeeze in reading, hiking, writing and exploring. I will steal moments by way of image capturing and posting (provided we have signal). I will seek the memory makers by thriving in the senses and reflecting in the silence. I will do all I can to savor this time by walking, not running, to the very next thing.

I hope you join me in that walk…

Much love…

xoxo

Mtramp

Collecting

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I am watching my life in stories. Some words have been written on paper, but lately collected pictures have become the narrator. I string the details together like a popcorn garland, then line them end to end along the walls I call my world. Details like…

Like the day we hiked like madmen only to be stalled and softened by a nest of baby nuthatches in the hollow of a pine tree.
Like the day we saw a small murder of crows perched on naked, gray branches to keep watch over the city.
Like the afternoon she made me a dandelion taco as the rays broke through the shroud of a clouded sunset.
Like the day we walked Goss Grove, found Christopher Walken’s green head on a snail’s body and the yellow and purple house of wildflowers I want to live in when I’m 60.
Like the day we saw the man in the mountain exhale into the sky.

I complain of time moving quickly but each precious moment leaves a palm print, just like the ones we leave on glass. We spend our days thinking of what we need, what we want, and what we hope to have, burning time away like melted wax when the truth is, we receive all the time. We miss them—the palm prints—we look right through them, because what we want always seems to be on the other side of the glass.

Meanwhile, I rock my collected stories in cradles like newborn babes, wondering what they will be when they grow up, waiting for that perfect time to cut the strings. Maybe all along, just like my children, they are ready far quicker than I am ready to let go. One day, despite myself, they will become something all on their own.

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much love to you

xoxox

Here and there

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All this is here and there in a month. The Great Escape Mustang sanctuary, the Eagle Plume museum and store, the Broadmoor hotel, the glories of Spring…. I am reminded often of why I named the blog as I did. Wandering never really stops and my thirst for exploring remains unquenchable.

In a couple days, we step out of school sneakers and into flip flops, water shoes, and summer break. Soccer practices and tournaments, piano recitals, school field trips and volunteering will now be replaced with summer camps, weekend excursions and barbeques. I welcome it. I welcome the laziness of pools, the saunter of hot days, tubing on the creek and badminton on our dandelion lawn. I am also wholly and heartily welcoming 43 on Saturday. I learned long ago that happiness can only be present when realized. I have all that I will ever need.

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Below are the 3 baby robins we have been watching grow over the last few weeks. They each flew from their nest one morning last week and have yet to return. We were able to witness their first flight into the world and thus experienced the true meaning of “empty nest syndrome”. Flutters was the biggest, strongest and the first to fly, then Malcolm came next. Hiccup, the last, took his time, and though still unsteady and a little unsure of himself, made it across the lawn. We miss them, but this is the magic of birth and the approaching close of Spring.

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I just finished taking Pitch Perfect, an online class on how to pitch articles and ideas to magazines and more. It’s a wonderfully thorough class for any writer interested in taking their work beyond the blog pages or their laptops. As much as I liked the idea of monetizing writing or shaking my words onto widespread, paper pages across lands and oceans, I don’t know if I am one of those writers–at least not at this point in my life. Perhaps maybe never. For now, the blog is enough, and coming here to share words is joy and a category all its own. Thank you for that. Thank you for reading or even just stopping by.

much love to you
xoxo

wide awake and wild

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I took one small step closer, cautious, curious and completely aware that all he had to do was take one powerful leap in my direction to spear me with those handsome antlers of his. His watchful, deep black eyes were on me. Though his munching jaws would seem to say that he could care less about my presence, we both knew better.
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This was the first of three encounters I had with wild animals this past weekend. The second was with the Gray Jay. We were over 9500ft. high having snowshoed nearly 2 hours into the southern heart of the Rocky Mountains. There was no wind, just the blinding whiteness that comes with fresh snowfall. The sound of our feet in deep snow and my breathe from climbing in it provided the haunting rhythm to keep placing one foot in front of the other. It was not an easy climb to Emerald Lake, but when we reached it, I understood wholly the meaning of the phrase “deafening silence”. Surrounded by jagged spears of rock resembling a crown, I would have fallen to my knees in reverence had I not already felt dwarfed in the mountain’s majesty.

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(If it helps to understand scale in this novice photo, please look at the tiny black dot at the base of the mountains on the right. That dot is a person.)

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After a few awe-inspiring minutes of quiet, I was startled by a low swoosh that came from behind and flew directly above my head. She landed on a branch 15 feet from me, looked at me while cocking her fluffy head, imploring me to see her, to be mindful of her. She wanted my attention and she found it. She posed left, then right, then looked at me again to make sure I was still watching. I worked quickly to get my camera out again, but she waited patiently, long enough for me to rattle off at least 10 shots before she flew back in the direction she came from. She, like the Elk, felt tame in ways that didn’t seem plausible. An unspoken language passed between us, one that I had forgotten, one that I might have understood again if I could have stayed there in that space with her just a little longer.

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The last encounter was with two foxes. My husband spotted them first on our return to Rocky Mountain National Park the next morning. They were fast and they were less willing to take chances with a human like the other two. I jumped out of the car with the camera and ran to the edge of the meadow that they had run into. I followed them with my lens, first one, then two, too far to get good details thanks to the autofocus on my camera. There was no time to switch to manual, no time to play with light and catch the glint in their mysterious eyes. They were gray and they were very smart, dancing along and pacing the meadow, watching me to see what I would do next. They never left or ran away too far. As I walked back to the car, they got closer, comfortable with knowing that I was leaving their domain, their protected space that I was invading, that we all invaded long ago.

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These wild animals are medicine to me, a balm to the coldness that comes with our reality and domestication. Once I dip in and wander among the messages these creatures provide, I find myself in the folds of something bigger. I awaken knowing that we are not so different. We are both dependent on the environment that surrounds us, both dependent on the the earth that provides for us, both hungering for a language that connects us all, both free and not free, bound by instinct, duty and limitations, both extremely fragile and weak at the helms of the unknown.

On a crystal clear yet windy morning, on our last snowshoe trail in the tall pines and bare-boned trees, I found a mark on an aspen, a mark left by someone that did not know it would be meant for me. I stopped to pull off my gloves and dug for the cameraphone in my snowpants pocket. A wind gust rushed in lifting the snow off their feet to sparkle and swirl in the air behind, just in time for me to take the shot. And I did take it, all of it. I am not sure when I will be back there again, but I will remember. I will remember how it felt to be wide awake and wild with the spirit of the earth.

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much love to you fellow earthwalkers…
xoxo