Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Knowing Each Other's Crazy

Most of my friends from my college days share in the gritty, unpolished, earthiness that characterizes my life. There is very little that takes them by surprise or requires adjusting when they visit, with the exception of that damn rooster.

Among my friends from childhood, however, I am a total freak. I can appreciate that they have little interest in my composting toilet, that they laugh at my disregard for showers and razors, that they admonish my hitch-hiking tendencies and struggle to understand the appeal of tipi-living. It's not like any of this is new for them...I've been wild, dirty, and arguably reckless for the duration of our friendship.

I found myself reflecting on what different people from the various chapters of my life represent during Rachel and Carly's visit to Paonia. Rachel's been my partner in crime since we were pre-verbal and Carly joined in when trouble stopped being accidental and became a sought after adventure. In spite of the vast differences between our lifestyles and shared interests, we understand each other's special brands of crazy and share a vault of hilarious stories for proof. Knowing someone forever eliminates the need for explanation because they've been there all along. Things like interests and lifestyle feel somewhat secondary when you know someones capacity for kindness and strength.
 Pix-elated documentation. Carly, Rachel, and me. Photo cred: Rachel

Dinner at Fresh and Wyld gets you a delicious, locally sourced meal .

This was an apricot upside-down cake that I failed to photograph because I feared I would miss out on a bite. I made the right decision.

Nothing makes Carly happier than a big box of farm fresh produce. That's my girl!

Mt. Marcellina--undeniably remarkable.
Second cutting. Did I mention that with the drought the cost of hay is steadily climbing along with the price of food?

I show off the local coal mines. Photo cred: Carly Frank

Photo Cred: Rachel

This is pretty much all we want to do when we are together: sit around and sing, make fun of each other, eat, and laugh.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Babes in the Backcountry

The makings of apricot jam bubble on the stove and I am flanked by two of my dearest friends from childhood. Time for writing is a lesser priority with the company that currently surrounds me.

Four gals and two dogs piled into my car on Sunday and we headed south toward the San Juans to hike  Mt. Sneffels. We walked through mists that climbed upward over ridge lines and poured into the basins like steam rising and falling from a cauldron. Our eyes were pulled incessantly by the brightness of the wild flowers, at the height of their blossoms. 

Trail conversations, the food, and the aches, the outfits that come together to fend off cold and wet when you least expect them to come, smiles, problem solving and the movement of our bodies over rocky terrain, straining our muscles to climb higher and higher. And then the taking in of beauty that evolved and shifted with the slightest change of perspective. Indeed, content to take part in the sweetness of it all.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sisterhood of the Overly Ambitious Leisure-ists

Holy Dust Bunny! I've been feeling overwhelmed recently by the fullness of life. I catch myself feeling burdened by the abundance of living, by my willingness to say yes, yes, yes, by filling every moment with active expression. Poor me!

I've gotten better over the years at saying yes to quiet, yes to being instead of doing, yes to taking time, yes to self-connection. But I've stumbled into a July buzzing with activity and felt myself drowning in the sweetness of it all. 

Yes I want to go back packing. Yes I want to play with children at gardening camp. Yes I want my house clean and my root cellar filled with dehydrated and canned goods. Yes I want to garden and build and rake the compost toilet. Yes I want to check on bees. Yes I want to perform on stage and craft and see live music and soak in the hot springs and bake bread for everyone. Yes I want to travel to California and to host visitors here. Yes I want to drive Dev's daughter to summer camp and take a long bike ride and go to work and stay up late nose to nose with my sweetheart. Yes! Yes! Yes!

With all this beauty why do I feel like I've been drunk dry? Why haven't I cooked myself a proper meal? Or taken time for yoga? Or folded laundry that's been waiting patiently for over a week?

Are you feeling sorry for me yet?

Another reminder from The Sisterhood of the Overly Ambitious Leisure-ists: there must be time for receptivity. For the slow seeping of nutrients that feed each cell. For soaking in the goodness that abounds. 

So today, just for a little while, I'm going to crawl into my shell so I can open wide.
Too hot to be bothered with wearing the whole suit. I'll take the stinger over a sweaty back!
Sylvia displays her cabbage and carrot that she made for our garden puppet show.
This is Mama Laura. She provides an excellent example of how to just be.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Sustainable Engagement

Dev and I were "engaged" in the smokey lounge of a casino in Nevada. We were on our way back to Colorado on an two-week long educational road trip. Students questioned the nature of my relationship with Dev daily. They are teenagers. Drama and romance--they live for it. As Dev professed his love for me their self-satisfied shrieks bounced off the marble walls. They exchanged "I knew-its" with "Told you so-s," but our delighted, mischievous smiles got the best of us, and our prank was revealed.

Dev, who's been involved in visionary alternative education for over a decade, founded and directed the experiential-based learning program where I work. This past spring I moved my tipi and my life up to Dev's off-the-grid scene. The land is co-owned by several families and also functions as the grounds for a school and a camp, The High Desert Center for Sustainable Studies, which brings interns, students, adventure, and engaging conversations to the neighborhood.

Sustainability is often defined by key practices that tend to revolve around how we build, grow food, produce energy, and many other valid and important methods. But why is it that some people who have the most notches in their sustainability belts seem to be the least sustainable or inspiring people?  

So often people are motivated by fear. We do things because we believe that something bad is going to happen if we don't take action, like the world ending, or because we think it will pay off later,  i.e. I'm going to have food and water when the world ends. These thoughts and actions motivated by them stifle joy, freedom, and a sense of aliveness. What if we did things because they are fun? Because we love them.  It seems to me the most inspiring and personally sustainable people I know are driven by passion and enthusiasm.

It takes courage and the ability to listen deeply to distinguish between what we truly want and what we think we must do.  Living by that heart-centered desire is to live with integrity. And sometimes it takes a friend, like Dev, who loves to play, to make light of the things we believe, and to challenge them with a joke to discover what sustainability looks like.

This is Dev giving a lecture on sustainability.

Can't tell from the picture, but you put Dev in the back of a truck on the way to an adventure and he starts to get really giddy.

Bike ride to the River Park for a swim in our skivvies. 

Cherry Days Parade.

Marla and her donkey are always a favorite of mine. Read more about the inevitable drama at the parade when our local beautician, Sid, threw himself in front of a Korean-War-era tank here.  

My high-school pal came to perform at the Brewery for the Fourth. Yay Jenny and Vaughn!

More cherry pickin'!

And apricot picking and processing with Anna the morning after she almost chopped her finger off. So nice to celebrate her intact digit with some wild foraging.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ruby Horse Theif

Recent events:

1. Vacation time! Floated the Colorado River last week. 
2. Animals spotted on river trip: 2 Big-horn sheep, 1 wily coyote, 1 relaxed beaver, countless great blue herons.
3.  Onions grew a foot while I was gone.
4. Basil and greens shrunk a foot. Damn you grasshoppers.
5. Cherry-induced belly aches: 5
6. Long bike around the valley with Anna as the sunset.
7. Interns arrived. Productivity has waned with the excitement of getting to know them.
8. Jumps in the ditch: 30
9. Became an auntie to little Ramona Blue. Appelle-moi Tata Mar Mar <3
10. Become rather engrossed with summer-time living and haven't touched my computer for a week. 

Nothing like a flat tire at 7 am on the way to the put-in.

Also, nothing like living in rural Colorado where two people stopped to help me before I could even reach for my cell phone.


River Rat hitching my last little way home.