In the Rockies

In the Rockies
Butler Gulch

Friday, November 14, 2014

Driving by the White Lines

This title has been on my mind since I wrote the last blog. Snow has been covering the white lines this week, and the temps are still hovering in the teens. I'll add a photo of white lines later. As we drove back from the Denver Botanic Gardens, my friend who was driving, said at one point, "you can always drive by the white lines." I needed that reminder as I drove the thirty minutes home from our meeting place with my contacts unable to give me the vision I wanted, making driving by the white lines on the side of the roads important. For my life, this is an apt metaphor as I can't see much beyond each day. I have scheduled the last healing prayer ministry team meeting of my tenure, and written my recommendations to the Leadership Committee of the CASA agency and turned over the chairmanship. I have scheduled my eye doctor appointments and those for annual and bi-annual tests that my health plan requires. I have completed the bulk of my Christmas shopping due to almost giveaway prices at a recent Macy's sale. There are a few holiday gatherings on my calendar, and I'm cooking some sort of poultry for Thanksgiving for the first time in many years though the gathering will be small. So what remains high on my to-do list-- the MEMOIR. I've put off a major cutting as long as I can, and I realized yesterday that it needs a snappier beginning few pages. This, however, is a white line exercise. I don't know whether I will be able to attract an agent who will then find a publisher for the memoir. I still, however, feel that tug and pull to get it published. Self publish, you say. There are many self publishers these days, but the good ones--ones where the book will look and feel like it came from a traditional publishing house and get standard circulation--are beyond my budget. So I will try again to attract an agent. But first, the revision. Perhaps the need to work on the memoir revision is why I have no more workshops scheduled at this point. Maybe cleaning up the memoir and getting more agents letters ready to go the first of the year will clear the way for workshop scheduling. I'll try using that as motivation!! Meanwhile, I'll see the white lines curving and climbing in the distance, and try not to wonder where they will lead. Peace to all.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Glitter and small things

All week I have intended to write about the small lovely things in the natural world that I enjoy as the seasons change and before winter sets in here in the Rockies. Then on Wednesday evening friends took me with them to the Denver Botanic Gardens to walk in the lighted Chihuly glass exhibit. Another friend and I saw it in June when the garden's flowers were in profuse bloom, beautiful then, but stunning in a different way, glass gleaming in the darkness. So I'm blending my thoughts between what man makes and what nature provides. The way photos are viewed on my draft has changed so I won't be able to tell what they look like until I preview the post. No telling as I get the script in code rather than the photo!! Here, I hope, is a photo of a small thing that brought unexpected joy as it stood out along the first part of the trail to Finch Lake. I hiked alone--didn't see another person for the entire 7 or so miles, as I'll explain.
This piece of a fallen tree was bright on a dark trail, reminding me that there are always patches of light and inspiration in the darkness. I'm bouncing between relief and a feeling of loss as I toss files from the board I'm leaving and pack up materials for the next leader in the group where I'm relinquishing that role. With the workshop behind me and nothing yet scheduled for the future, with shortened days and the task of dramatically cutting the memoir looming, I'm trying to allow time to both rejoice at what has been accomplished in both groups and turn loose of a need to do more in some way--to let go. The CASA agency, which has been so important in my life for the past six years, is thriving with new work, a new staff and mostly new board members. There has been little acknowledgement of the work that was done prior to the new executive director's arrival fourteen months ago, hard at times. However, I have chaired our Leadership Committee, one of the few our new ED has wanted to have an active role and served as counsel to this year's board president. I was delighted when the retired program manager called yesterday to ask that I have lunch with her and the other former staff member who is in the area. As the board president, I worked closely with them during the transitions of two ED's leaving, and it feels good that they want to reconnect. It was my choice to let go of the leadership role in St. John's healing prayer ministry. I'm best at getting things started, moving the team through the discernment and development stages, and have thrived as the lead trainer for our four new members to be installed in December. I'm hosting a celebration both of our first year praying at our main Sunday service and the installation of our four new team members trained this year. The woman taking the leadership on in January wants to broaden the ministry's scope and has been participating in intense training programs. I'm not sure I'm called to those extended ministries but am glad for her vision for the ministry. Still, it will be different to be one of those around the table at our meetings, not to be concerned about who attends and who is supposed to be at the prayer station each week. For the past two years, I've planned (with help) and chaired meetings two and then three times a month. I'm freeing up a lot of time, it seems! I will have plenty to keep me busy, but the big missing for me will be working with people for a common goal on a recurring basis. I realized while planning the workshop that "my people" needed an expanded definition--one that encompasses all I come in contact with, all that show up at my workshops, all people. That still doesn't give me a team with whom to work on shared goals. Ideally, this could mean forming a team for my workshops--scheduling, publicity and production, but I'm not there yet. However, if anyone wants to volunteer, I'm open!
As I hiked through the woods and up the Finch Lake trail for the first mile, the moss and lichen-covered rocks provided color along the path. Lichen was a curiosity for me as a child. I wanted to know why and how they formed on rocks and boulders at Dad's farm where limestone outcroppings gave me a place to perch in the middle of them. Little did I imagine the years they take to form. It seemed that they took on a light of their own last week as I walked both up and down that trail. I planned a loop hike, taking the Finch Lake trail to its junction with the trail down to the Cascades in Wild Basin. I knew the trail down to the Cascades was flood damaged; however, the sign only said that pack animals and horses could not go down that way. There was a light dusting of snow the last half mile or so as I approached the junction, and it continued in the shady places along the trail downward. Then I took a curve and reached the spot where water flowed or trickled down from the hillside above and found a big washout. I started down into it, looking for a way to reach the trail on the other side. The trickle of water was frozen in the middle of the wash out, and it was a steep climb out on the other side with no clear landing spot on the trail. I plotted my likely path. I knew I could do it. But what if it took a lot of time slipping and sliding up that hillside? I had a guest coming at 5:15 in Boulder and had intended this as a noon - 3 o'clock -- 3:30 at the latest hike. The voice in my head reminded that I hadn't seen another person for the three and one-half plus miles I'd come. There were tracks in the snow, so someone else had been along the trail, but wouldn't be likely to return that way. Maybe, just maybe I shouldn't tackle that washout. But it would be farther to go back, and I wouldn't have the easy walkout that the Cascades trail provided. I turned around and started back, changed my mind and went back to the edge of the washout. No, I really shouldn't. Turning, this time I moved along back up the trail, down the steep trail stairs, through the gently sloping path through the trees back to the top of the first hill and down through the lichen and moss on the steep trail to the parking area. I reached it at 3:35, changed from my boots and headed back to Boulder, a little proud that I had made a safer decision and more proud that I had met my timeline, though next time I would prefer not to rush down that trail. (The photo is down the wash rather than across.)
Maybe this is a time when the longer trail is the best one, and I could let go and not try to rush whatever is next. There are trail companions with whom I can notice the little things but they are few. Last week, without them, it was good to hike alone. And the light shines through the windows and from lamps on the lovely glass I've collected over the years. While it is not Chihuly, it is beautiful. The lakes and mountains remain majestical though the light has lessen and more darkness comes. Snow tops the distant mountains, heralding winter's arrival. The view from the junction of the Finch Lake and Cascades trails is below.