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Stopping to smell the roses:  2 Parts

Feb 11, 2020 - 0 comments

Part 1:  Lost in the Mountains

We were hunting in a large group.  We were already in the remote wilderness but walked into an area that was even more remote.  There we broke up into smaller groups in order to cover more ground.  We walked for about another hour in the darkness and came into a small clearing that I was sure that no other human being ever set foot in.  

For some reason, this profound calmness set in.  In reality, we were not lost.  We could have walked straight down hill for a couple of miles and hit a road that would have taken us back to camp.  On the other hand, if anyone set out to try to find us, the never would have been able to spot us.  The cover was just too thick.  You wouldn't have been able to find us from the air or the valley floor.

We stood there silently, taking it all in.  Eerily silent... not a bird chirping... not a squirrel around to bust us... not even a breeze.  The lodge pole pines stood easily 60 feet over head all around us.  I dropped my pack for a second in order to get a drink of water.  My partner walked up and whispered, "I don't know where we are, but we're here."

The statement itself is rather silly.  It doesn't mean anything other than the fact that we could not have been found by any search party in the world if we wanted to keep it that way.  We both sat down to take it all in.  I said, "Do you have any idea how calm I am right now?''  "Calm" was the closest word I could come up with to describe our situation.  My buddy nodded and said, "Its like, no matter what happens, everything is going to be okay."  Zen....  For the first time in my life, I experienced Zen.....

My buddy broke out some jerky.  I broke out a couple of Cliff bars.  We sat there quietly, gnawing down on some grub and just let life happen.  20 minutes or so went by without either one of us saying anything.  Nobody needed to say anything.  Saying anything at this point would have ruined it and I think both of us needed that time by ourselves.  

I peeled off my coat, rolled it up and stuffed it in my pack.  I leaned back against this old pine tree and looked around.  I caught my buddy doing the same thing.  After this 20 minutes of absolute silence, my friend said, "I don't care if I see a deer or an elk all day.  I am good with everything, right now."  I laughed out loud because I felt the exact same thing.  We let another 20 minutes or so go by, both of us stretched out using our packs as pillows to rest our heads on.  

Down below us there was a loud crack.  We both sat up and grabbed our rifles.  Again, another loud crack.  Something was walking uphill towards us.  At the far end of this small clearing, out stepped a cow moose.... she had no idea that we were there.  She walked about 5 steps directly at us and must have winded us because she broke off at a 45 degree angle and went back into the woods never to be seen again.

We looked at each other and just nodded.  I laid back down for a couple of minutes.  Everything was just right in the world.  You could smell the subtle smell of the earth beneath us.  The subtle smell of the cow moose was still lingering in the air.  The smell of the pines and the fresh mountain air had never been more clear.  

We both began to stir at the same time.  I grabbed my pack and slung it up over my shoulder.  I bent down and grabbed my rifle.  I said, "We probably ought to make our way off this hill."  He gathered his stuff and said, "That was the most peaceful half hour or 45 minutes that I have ever experienced in my life, but it is time to get on with the day."

As we walked off the hill, we kind of gave up on the idea that we were actually hunting.  We talked and walked for a couple of hours until we came out in a clearing 2 draws east of where we thought we would come out in.  We shrugged it off and continued to walk towards the spot where we were all supposed to meet up.  

We finally found our group, loaded up in the back of a pick up truck and enjoyed a bumpy ride back up the mountain towards camp.  When we got back to camp, I felt full.  I felt as if everything that was supposed to happen that day already had happened.  Everything was exactly as it was supposed to be at that moment in time.  

Part 2:  The moose

I was at work this morning.  Everything was going along like it was supposed to be going.  I had a few things that I had to go check on, and as I made my way to the north end of the ranch, I happened upon this lone cow moose sitting underneath a big willow, in the sun.  I took a minute to watch her.  Everything was good in her world.  Although it was -14 below 0, she had a full belly, chewing on some willow, lying in the sun... I'd reckon for a moose, it doesn't get much better,

That made me remember that day hunting.  That made me remember all of the struggles that I have gone through and made me more aware of how precious time is.  I hopped out of the truck and just stopped to smell the roses.

I hope everyone has the ability to just stop for a second and realize how fortunate we all really are.  Life can be tough at times.  but life is also really beautiful.  

If anyone reads this, I want to wish you the best of the day and remind you to take some time for yourself.  You're worth it.  Stop and smell those roses.

My dream-

Jul 09, 2019 - 0 comments

Standing before me was a mile wide meadow of the most lush, green grass, thousands of quaking aspens and a meandering mountain stream.  On the other side of this meadow was the largest, most majestic granite mountain I had ever seen!  It was massive!  It stretched from left to right, as far as the eye could see and upwards from the valley floor into the sky perhaps 15,000 ft!  Both breathtaking and awe inspiring....

The mountain and its prominence at first seemed overpowering.  The mountain itself was all that I could see.  I sat down in the shade of an aspen tree and began to see a bigger picture.  I began to notice all of the rubble at the base of the mountain, and all of the foothills it created.  On top of the foothills, more fractured granite piled up upon itself.  

In my mind, I panned back from this vision.  I could still see me sitting under the aspen tree taking in this beautiful landscape.  I could smell the good clean air.  I could feel and hear the gentle breeze.  Something caught my attention.  As I listened real close I could hear something, maybe God for all I know, telling me that this majestic mountain setting is a metaphor for "trust".

The breeze stopped.  It was quiet.  As I panned from left to right, I caught a glimpse of a landslide taking place but it quickly disappeared from my view.  I began to focus on the mountain and all of the rubble and imagined how massive the mountain must have been at one time.  After years of facing the weather and countless storms, this is what was left of the mountain.  Still massive mind you, but a fraction of its former size.

The scene panned back further until I was no longer noticeable within the landscape.  Then I woke up....  I began my morning routine thinking about this dream, trying to make sense of it.  I remembered hearing the word "metaphor" and then could almost see the word.  

During the morning commute my mind was all over the place.  I couldn't help but think that we are born into this world with not much more than hope and trust, and through time and countless occurrences, the ability to fully trust erodes, like the granite that mountain was made of.

Time changes things.  Time changes people.  I know time has certainly changed me.  I have a lot of relationships that have changed through the years.  Part of that is my own doing and I take responsibility for that.  I don't know, maybe this sounds selfish.  Perhaps selfish isn't the word I am looking for, but for many years with many relationships, I feel as if I was the one working to keep those relationships entact.  I was the one reaching out, continuing to make contact and letting people know that I cared or that I was here for them.  And back when I was in a real struggle for my sanity during my battle with depression, I needed that confirmation.  I needed to know that people were there for me as well, but I didn't get or wouldn't get that confirmation if it weren't for me and my efforts to keep those relationships alive and entact.

That's saddening to me on many levels.  I have always "cared", perhaps too much.  Nowadays I'm more cynical.  I trust far fewer people.  Is that just part of growing old?  I still 'care' and I still give of myself, my time and my money.  But my trust?  I don't know if I have the ability to just blindly trust people any more.  I see too many ulterior motives.  I see too many people taking advantage of people and I know that it has happened to me.  I allowed it to happen to me.  I hate that and I hate feeling this way.

I mentioned above about my thoughts being all over the place.  I remember being young.  Being naive.  I remember trusting everyone under all circumstances.  Then I remember certain people, certain things chipping away at my ability to trust.  And after a while, I remember thinking "why trust" and "how can I trust when this keeps happening".  I remember trying to cope with this, the struggle and how exhausting it is/was.

Nevertheless, I continue to be a better giver than receiver.  I do so with caution.  I think we all have to, to some extent and I hate that.  I wish we could all give openly and freely and not be taken advantage of.

If you took the time to read this, thanks.  I thank the universe for the time its provided me and the time it continues to provide.  I wish everyone peace....  

Random thoughts:

Jul 22, 2018 - 0 comments

Tonight I watched another beautiful sunset and gave thanks to the universe for the opportunity.  The colors of the sunset were unbelievable.  I could hear the gentle breeze rushing through the tall pasture grass.  I could smell and taste the cooler fresh air setting in.  I just stood there on a bridge that spans one of the creeks on at work and I almost felt selfish for not being able to share this experience with anyone else.

I looked down the bank of the creek and saw a trout rise.  I caught the reflection of the last remnants of color in the partially cloudy sky and understood how lucky I am to be where I am.  

Other people facing the same battles I have didn't get the opportunity I did.  They didn't have the chance to see another day.  Why did I have the strength, energy or power to keep going while they succumbed to the pressure of facing another day in grief?

As I walked back to the work vehicle, I remember my struggles.  I remember wanting so bad to just fall asleep and not wake up.  But even my sleep time was full of stress and anxiety.  I couldn't help but think about the things that went wrong, and what the consequences might be for something left undone.  I could lie in bed for 8 hours and feel as if I had 10 minutes of sleep, and then it was back to the coal mines facing the same mundane routine, expecting the same lame results, and I got them every time.

I shook off that feeling when I put the car in drive.  Looking to the south, I could see Munger mountain.  Different shades of green as far as the eye could see, and everything was alive.  

I am alive, and I am grateful.


Dec 17, 2017 - 6 comments

I'm not for sure that I will get around to making the points I want to make with this journal entry.  I did want to leave something here that I could come back and review next year at the same time.  I noticed something at the end of 2016.  On New Years Eve, I watched and listened to friends put "bad' years behind them in the hopes of a "good' year in front of them. It seems natural to want to do that. I realized I had done the same thing dozens of times and it seemed like the "bad" things were what I would define the value of that particular year.

I came into 2017 with no giant expectations.  i looked it 2017 as an opportunity to grow as a human being.  I wanted to experience everything that was going to happen and I wanted to be able to ACCEPT it as it was, for what it was.  I think doing so allowed me to experience things in a different light and I think I learned much more about me than I ever could have otherwise.

Somewhere near the top of the list of things I am most grateful for in 2017 was the break through I had with my genealogy research.  I was able to connect with my biological mother's side of the family.  I learned that I have 5 half sisters and 1 half brother.  I also had the opportunity to get to know most of them.  

I didn't go into this research in order to gain new family.  What I wanted was just some answers to some of the questions nobody could answer for me.  Being able to look at blood relatives for the first time in 50 years (besides my own children) just set my mind at ease.  Yeah, I looked a bit like most of them.  I acted like most of them and I was grateful that all of them were kind enough to let me have some of their time to just sit and ask some questions.  This was probably the high light of my year.  Having life long questions answered set my mind at ease and I think that opened the door for so many other things.

I learned more about forgiveness.  I learned more about acceptance.  I learned more about love.  All of this opened my eyes just that much more wide and learning/ personal growth came at me from every angle in life.  

I was taught from an early age that I "had" to take a side in things.  Society says that you are either with me or against me and I learned that some things just aren't that important.  I learned that we are all more "together' than we are apart and I wasn't going to let other peoples words or opinions define who I am.  I learned that I am truly far more flexible in my beliefs than I thought I was.  I also learned that I have been asked many times to draw a line in the sand and take a stand on things that I didn't take a stand on.... like your opinions, for instance.  We are all individuals.  We are all in charge of only our lives and how you go about that life will determine what kind of year you have.

If you spend the entire year "fighting", you're going to find yourself in a lot of fights.  If you allow yourself the opportunity to accept, you do accept and you do learn and you do become a better person.

Because of acceptance, I learned that I could let things go.  I learned things are exactly as they are supposed to be.  I learned that I could mend bridges and fences that I wanted to mend and had the wisdom to leave some of these things just as I left them.

Going into 2018, I want to be more aware of open doors.  I want experience more.  I want to learn more.  I want to grow more.  Most importantly, I want that for other people.  It's truly a gift and we all have it inside of us.