Tag Archive | canyon

A Surrogate Ski


When I woke this morning to an inch of fresh snow and a clear sky with bright sun, I thought of my friend who got thrown by her horse last week. She is couch-bound for a long time, and in a lot of pain with some fractures and other injuries. I can’t say for sure, but I imagine her body wasn’t the only part of her aching when she looked outside this morning. We ski together sometimes, and I think when she looked out at the snow-covered junipers in the sun, her heart ached to be out there sliding through the woods on her skis.

I feel a cold coming on, and it was bitter this morning, below 20 degrees. I could have done what I did the past few snowy grey days: made coffee and sat warmly in the living room, working on the computer or reading a book. But I thought of my friend wishing she could ski and being unable, and I hauled my lazy, grateful ass out of bed, dressed, went out into the glorious morning, and snapped on my skis. With the balmy weather the past month melting what little snow we’ve had this winter, we haven’t skied in six weeks.

There is nothing graceful about me skiing through sagebrush and juniper on eight inches of crusty snow. But the dogs were thrilled and beautiful, flying away and back to me kicking up powder as I stuttered along the Typewriter Trail to the rim of the canyon and back. Snow blew from the trees in sparkles through brilliant air. She would have loved it.

I wish she could have skied today. Even immobilized, she is an inspiration. Because she would have and I wouldn’t, because I could and she couldn’t, I skied this morning. This one’s for you, neighbor.



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Bittersweet Monday


Warm, sunny days full of color, adventure, abundance; crystal cold nights chill tired bones.

Two Kittens


Two kittens, playing, leap the stream,

roll and wrestle, tag and tumble,

race, chase, grab and rumble,

scuffle under oaks through last year’s leaves.

Tawny mottled bodies vanish under summer trees.

The sound of their pouncing continues unseen.


Dogs on the rim stand rigid, aquiver,

engrossed in the antics below.

The cats crash back from deep shadows,

reach with sheathed claws in big soft paws,

leap, stretching in a single line ~

one behind the other holding on ~

they arc and spring, spring as one

upon a sapling, bend it to the ground.


Long tails white-tips flashing,

graceful lithe limbs thrashing,

ungainly kittens tangle with the boughs.

Oblivious to us above them on the canyon rim,

the first leaps out across the stream;

the second sprawls in the bowed canopy,

unhurried, unworried, spraddles the limbs,

bounces; wiggles to the ground.


The sapling springs upright.

A gift, a truly awesome sight,

wild feline abandon:

cougar cubs at play,

learning as they leap and run

the skills to catch their prey.



Tending a friend’s home I noticed this exquisite juxtaposition.

The old Rehobeth road, last Monday night, driving to a Kids’ Pasta Project dinner at Scenic Mesa Ranch. The warm cliffs always delight, and cottonwoods in the canyon glowed yellow on green.

The Smith Fork of the Gunnison flows through a private ranch as the canyon wends its way west toward the main river.

From the other side, looking back the way we came.

Below freezing the past two nights, brrrrr, and it took me all day to warm up. The first chill of winter is always hard to accept. But a small fire in the woodstove all afternoon kept the cold at bay, and I gathered in the last green tomatoes for pickles. Romas from the farm will bake into paste tomorrow, warming the house.

Science Experiment #17: a tiny fava bean harvest taught a lot. Too much water too late and not enough in the middle, while the pods were forming.

I steamed the small beans, but even with the last of the butter they were a little bitter. Venison steak with balsamic glaze and the last cherry tomatoes saved the day.

Tenacious flowers in pots make the patio glow.


Biko has been coming in at night since the cold rains a couple of weeks ago. I set him out in the south gravel every morning, where he basks until he’s warm enough to move. He found his special place this morning! Raven rolled for attention too.