Paths, gentle, steep, rugged, smooth, lead to who-knows-where. What is perhaps far more interesting are the things along with them. Wildflowers stretching towards the sun here, rabbits scampering underbrush there, butterflies floating, and waterfalls tumbling, and water everywhere running on. 

In my part of the world, paths are everywhere. They lead to places that are long gone, forever lost, forgotten, or simply left alone. In that aloneness, one sees so much. Elk graze, moose lounge, osprey prey, stars dot forever-skies. It’s a never-ending trail to an unknowable future.

I walk this path today and follow my girl scout training. Leave no trace. Is that true? Is my presence not even a whisper in the grander scheme of things? In the dawning of that truth, I have a choice. Shout into the wind, remaining inconsequential, or quietly move forward with a seasonal rhythm. Whatever choice I make, my curiosity will always lead me to these paths. 




Verdant, JS-L 2020

Welcome, August 1st. Strolling through the meadow, I perceive the tiniest of signs showing that the world turns toward the cold season. A branch of aspen shivers yellow amid the verdant, lush green foliage. The grasses tinge red. Only the oldest of the hummingbirds hang about now. They will spend their last days drinking up my homemade nectar and give their bodies to the first snowstorm. Too soon. This year, I feel the world spinning on its axis, and the spin is far too fast.

Up in the high mountains, summers are glorious and maddeningly short. One must fiercely enjoy these moments because they are few and brief. As my hand strokes the tops of a field’s grasses, I notice they move like the finest feathers dancing with the sunlight. Enjoy them now.




Still, JS-L ©2020

The past thirty-six hours of strangeness twisted my gut in fear and anxiety. With my work email hacked and my internet connection screwy, I wondered what type of technological doom I had condemned myself. A furious change of passwords, securing accounts, alerting financial institutions to put locks on all sorts of hidden treasures took up most of my afternoon and late into the evening.

Work still expected deadlines to be met. Without access to my email, I would have no access to the students’ homework, and therefore, miss that deadline. That’s not something I would allow. Setting my alarm for 5 am, I tried to sleep. Tossing, turning, plumping pillows, fretting over the bad luck, and imagining all sorts of ways I would get to experience my demise, I finally scurried out of bed, flinging sheets and little dog to the floor. I made my way to the loo for a big glass of cold water. As I gingerly returned, avoiding dogs, toys, and other obstacles, I saw the moonlight walking across the pond’s surface not far from my deck. Opening the screen door and stepping out, all was quiet. The water undulated from a benign wind. Everything around me was perfectly still.

Within that stillness, ingenuity struck. I found a temporary solution to both challenges, an elegant solution, and, more importantly, meet deadlines while delivering an excellent service. Momentarily, I started to mentally kick myself for not seeing the obvious, but the stillness hushed that inner assailant.

As I look around at the world with its struggles, I wonder, once we put down the comfort of anxiety, if peace through stillness will move us forward.




Hope, JS-L ©2020

Wrapped in compost and worm castings, I flung the wildflower seeds onto the barren patches beyond my back deck, ever hopeful that maybe something would take. That was two years ago of lobbing hope into the air and praying for a safe landing, as well as wishing for roots, sunshine, moisture, and a spot where something living can not only survive but thrive.

Unexpectedly last week, peeking among scrub oak and clover, Gaillardia pulchella greeted my eyes, sometimes known as the Firewheel, Sundance, or Indian blanketflower. My hope found a place to flourish. Seeing it reminded me that sometimes hope is dormant, but never gone. It was merely biding its time for the best moment to awaken. Although sometimes slow to show its face, when it does? It is glorious.




No Trespassing, JS-L ©2020

Prickly people are everywhere, at least, these days, their porcupine spines are more prevalent. An occasional removal of one driven deep into my side catches my annoyed attention, and, sometimes, those spines hurt. Momentarily, I might consider the thrower, but all too quickly fall back into my own concerns.

Lacking appropriate inhibitions, and willingly embracing perceived shared space as actual shared space probably gets me into trouble. As careful as I try to be of others’ emotions, intellect, and personal space, I always seem to behave more like a cow than a dove, chomping on my cud, oblivious to the actual hurt I might have caused.

Tending to blithely go where angels fear to tread is my M.O. As striking as that has made my life, it has me wondering if, somehow, I possibly missed some vital clues in how to get along in this world. When the evident signs jump out in front of me, and I finally twig that, perhaps, I went too far, the wrong way or made a bad turn, that’s the moment of realization. As I exhale deeply, I bemoan about the outlandish place I find myself once again–one day roaming freely, the next blocked from the very same path.

My brain thinks, “Ah. There’s always a way around, through, over, or under any barrier placed before you. They forget you are clever, and simply want to roam without intentions to harm. Remember, that’s what makes you foreign and unlike them. They do want to harm.” 

I wonder if this is how it is? The sign was never meant for me. The sign was put there to warn me about them.




Geraniums on the Deck, JS-L ©2020

Certain gifts come as a surprise. How is it possible that, with a particular type of alchemy, something flourishes while, in other instances, growth stunts? It feels so random, completely arbitrary, nonsensical. If there is a great plan, it certainly is taking its sweet time to unfold.

Despite the lack of knowledge, growth still happens. Despite our incompetence, misguided intentions, and general misdirection, life keeps moving forward. We might think the world is going to hell in a handbasket, but that red reminds me that things keep ticking on. The green tells me that something will live beyond me. The sky will always change.

Life will not be what I know now. It will probably be miserably uncomfortable unless I am extraordinarily flexible and generous. That’s what growth is. Change. Similar to death and taxes, it always arrives.




Colorado CR 30, JS-L ©2020


A lot of journeys start on roads. Some get you to your destination in minutes. Others lead you to a staging area where another transport carries you on the next leg. With all being relative, know that this is a journey. As the famous Chinese philosopher, Laozi (or Confucius—depending on who you reference) said, “A journey of a thousand Chinese miles starts beneath one’s feet.” For those who don’t understand, it means everything has a starting point.

With that note by me, Captain Obvious, which infers something has ended. I am saying quite poorly is that one of my journeys ends on August 18th. While calling this preparation an ending, so too is it starting the next adventure. To kick start it all, I decided to take a mini-adventure this afternoon. 

Colorado’s County Road 30 is not well sign-posted, gravel and dust-filled, treacherous in some parts, completely without modern conveniences. It is a fine road if you want to get lost in the woods because the road dead-ends into camp grounds, wilderness, the Williams Fork River, and those forever kind of views.

My forever-view and the challenge of “what’s-next” in a world still filled with possibilities are shown above. It’s like a blank page. So many possibilities.


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