Thursday, February 18, 2021

Would you rather be a dump truck or a vulture?


Kelton is at an age where he gives me choices. A whole lot of choices. I "get" to pick between two different options and opting out of my given choices is not an option. Some of my recent options: 

"Mama, would you rather eat dead, rotten, deer carcass or a bean burrito?" 
"Would you rather eat trash I just saw by the side of the road, or a donut?" 
"Would you rather live in Flagstaff or the Everglades National Forest where the pythons live?" 
"Would you rather be a Burmese python or an animal that can be bitten by a king cobra?" 
"Would you rather be a brown bear or a black jaguar?" 
"Would you rather be a polar bear or a brown bear?"
"Would you rather eat shrimp which would kill you or fish eggs?" 
"Would you rather be a skunk or a raven?"
"Would you rather be in a boat that has a leak on the ocean or hiking up here on your mountain?" 
"Would you rather do Math all day and not know any of the answers or snuggle on the couch with Aberdeen?" 

"Would you rather be an eagle or a vulture?" 
"Would you rather be a Robin or a vulture?"
{And in his effort this afternoon to get me to say I'd rather be a vulture...}
"Would you rather be a vulture or a glass window?"
"Would you rather be the bumper on a car or a vulture?"
"Would you rather be a tree that is dying or a vulture?"
"Would you rather be the wind which blows away forever or a vulture?"
"Would you rather be a dump truck or a vulture? 

"Would you rather eat a camera or a walking stick?"
"Would you rather live in Antarctica or in a lighthouse?"
"Would you rather drive this car (4-Runner) or a semi with a flat tire about to drive off the road?" 
"Would you rather have pancakes made out of crushed egg shells or salad made out of tree branches?" 
"Would you rather ride on a black cloud over the Peaks, or in a nice warm airplane which would be struck by lightning?" 
"Would you rather clean the house or eat horse poop?" 

Clearly some of my options are preferable. Some really lack luster. What I find particularly hilarious is how exhausting it is to answer them all. Like, I really put thought into the possibilities. Maybe that's where I'm going wrong. :-) 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Tolerable, but I can choke it down

Last night: 


12:00 Wind blows over trash can outside. I dash out in underwear and a t-shirt to pick it all up before it blows to the neighbor's house. It's raining/snowing and I freeze to death in the process.  


1:00 Winston barfs. Again. And again. And again. Deer bones. 


2:00 Lochlan wakes up and laughs out loud (very out loud) and keeps laughing out loud... for hours. Goes to the bathroom. Takes a shower. Goes outside with almost no clothes on. Raids the fridge. Slams our bedroom door So. Many. Times. Plays audio books very loudly. Plays with his Curious George Jack-in-the-box 2,000 times, laughing hysterically every time it pops open. Raids the fridge again. Slams the toy box.  


3:00 I go to the bathroom and fall off the last step on the ladder. Ouch. Mostly unhurt, but still... Ouch. And "Hello adrenaline". 


4:15 Bumpy (Skye) barfs. Again. And again. Deer bones.


4:38 I go down to get Jack-in-the-box from LJ. Step in a pile of vomit I had previously failed to clean up. 

Instant tears. Sigh.  




Some days (nights) are rougher than others. That was actually two nights ago... I dreaded facing the day ahead but the day was remarkably abundant and I went to bed last night with a full heart.

Lochlan continues to astound us with his efforts to communicate using words! Real words! He reads over our shoulder, saying his letters and then when we say the word, he tries to repeat after us. I have said for 6 years that if he learns to talk all my dreams will have come true. Hearing his voice, using words, is magical and miraculous. I scarcely dare to hope... I've longed for this so long. I frequently cry tears of joy these days as he fights so hard to be heard and understood. It's beautiful. 

I've been taking Kelton on solo hikes to new locations and having him navigate and lead us up the hills, following various deer trails to the top. Then, he shows me what direction he thinks the car is located in, and leads the way back. He hasn't been wrong yet! His sense of direction is really becoming more well developed and he's (slowly) gaining confidence, which is half the battle. 

He told me tonight that his bowl of soup was "tolerable, but I can choke it down". Praise indeed! :-) He is becoming decidedly more opinionated, but still lacks wisdom that comes with maturity, so (unfortunately, for him) he still requires a fair amount of parental guidance. 

As we were driving, I caught Kelton staring at me. He said, "Mama, I cannot wait until your hair is silver. It will be so beautiful." I laughed out loud and told him that his opinion gives me great confidence in aging and that I'm very glad to have his opinion. :-) He continued, "Mama, I think we get wrinkles when we smile, so you should be glad that you have more wrinkles when you're old, because it means you have smiled a lot." Okay, so in some ways he might have more wisdom and maturity than most adults. 

If I want a good photo of Declan William, I usually have to take it without his knowledge. This morning, during teatime, he was ardently listening to Dad talk about Science (Meteors, Ice Age, etc.) and I was captivated by his face. :-) So, I stole the opportunity to capture it on camera. 

Madigan is a good man. He struggles sometimes with the boy who wants to be a man, and with the man who is held back by the boy within. Today, he struggled with his attitude, getting frustrated by things that weren't going the way he planned for them to go. He was less-than-gentle in responding to his brothers and I pulled him aside to remind him that kindness and gentleness really is valuable. About an hour later, he wandered into the house looking quite morose. I waited for him to initiate conversation, which he did: "Mom, I'm so frustrated with myself. I know that I set the example for my brothers and that even when I don't want him to, Kelton does what I do. I let my frustration take over today and I really don't want to do that. I want to teach Kelton to be kind and to work hard. It's just so hard." Like I said... he's a (really, really) good man. 

We find so much strength and inspiration in the wilderness that is our playground. Watching the boys (and cousin Kaysee) find joy and delight in our adventures brings me endless happiness. :-) It's definitely a shared abundance! 

And now... we're wonderfully tired. So, goodnight dear everyone. 

Walk in Beauty


"In beauty may I walk
All day long may I walk
Through the returning seasons may I walk
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk
With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk
With dew about my feet may I walk
With beauty may I walk
With beauty before me, may I walk
With beauty behind me, may I walk
With beauty above me, may I walk
With beauty below me, may I walk
With beauty all around me, may I walk
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively may I walk
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, my I walk
It is finished in beauty
It is finished in beauty."

My beloved friend sent me this Navajo prayer, and in so many ways, I feel myself resonate with it, as I bask in the beauty around me. The hills are alive with the sound of (His) music and my heart sings to it's melody. 

Wednesday, February 03, 2021



Loneliness. It seems that the year 2020 (and very probably 2021 from all present indications) was the year of loneliness for so many people all over the world. For some, it was a time when families gathered closer together, but even in that we were all forced to be mostly insular. I think the majority of humankind is not designed to be isolated. Sure, there are the extreme introverts who "thrive" in such a scenario, but do they really? 

It is alarmingly simple for each of us to become narrow, even in our personal ideals. I see, in my children, this incredible breadth to their ideas, hopes, dreams and even to the energy to pursue those. When it comes to ideals, there is no end to the possibilities on that one. And they encourage each other every day; the person that they wake up to be each morning is a vastly changed (and usually deeply grown) person by the end of that same day. And all because they have been in relationship with/to their brothers, parents, grandparents, extended family, friends who are like family, and even people who are not like family (but whom we love) like the baristas at our favorite coffee shop. 

Being around other people can help to foster ideas, broaden perspectives, give us encouragement when we are down, and help us to (re)focus on what is good/positive. It can also help to give us strength when we fail, challenge us when we are weak, and even admonish us when we need it. Sometimes, it will give us joy, but even in the times when relating to another person breaks our heart or exasperates us beyond all account, we can grow and learn and ultimately be a better version of ourselves because of those provocations. 

Watching humanity (as a whole) suffer (some to an incomprehensible extreme) this past year has been akin to watching winter unfold outside my windows; the trees stripped bare of their leaves, the wind blowing some of them down (and even away), and all of the elements pushing against them, with each valiantly attempting to stand alone. I have wrestled guilt for my own solace which I have so readily found in the mountains, trails, forests around me, free from so many of the fears that threaten to crush. Rest assured, my own demons have kept me well endowed with my own dose of dread and trepidation, but I have been given respite in (oddly enough) some of the loneliest places I find. And I know it is blessing, indeed. 

I hope that, with time, our fear can be replaced with courage because we see life prospering and that in spite of all that works against us, we are stronger, wiser and kinder. I hope that we can see each other and not be afraid of what is raw and real. I hope that the very real suffering that belongs to (all of) humanity will help us better comprehend how to help each other as we each face our own future agonies and hardships. I hope we SEE; because we have lived.