Climate change, aging and control issues

coyoteA few days ago I awoke to the sound of coyotes laughing at us for believing that we control the earth. Oh that illusion of control, it truly is laughable, especially in light of our recent wildfires, floods, droughts and heat waves.                                     Climate change is nature’s way of saying, “Control this!” If you have ever lived near an out-of-control wildfire or flood, you know exactly what I mean.

Mike and I have been experiencing various health problems lately, most related to aging, that and the fact I still don’t have Internet access from home, is the reason why I haven’t been writing here. It seems to me that new aches and pains, gut problems, etc. are also nature’s way of saying, “Control this!” Needless to say, we are not “controlling” aging all that well…

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I’m beginning to think the sooner we can let go of that pesky illusion of control, the better off we’ll be!

Postscript: We have now checked out ALL of our alternatives to re-gain Internet access from our home, and found there are none short of buying a Smart Phone as a hotspot. AMAZING!

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Heroes and Anti-Heroes this summer

firefighterMy American heroes for this summer are the valiant men and women who work day and night to save American lives and homes. Of course I’m completely biased because those same heroes saved my home about one month ago. I also congratulate our Sheriff’s department and the National Guard members who came in on a moment’s notice to maintain the peace in an extremely desperate situation. I am convinced that without their help, our entire county would have burned.

But, until you’ve been evacuated you really don’t get it!

And then we have the true anti-hero of this summer: President Trump.

What is an anti-hero?

According to Wikipedia: “An antihero is one who lacks conventional heroic qualities such as idealism, courage, and morality. Although antiheroes may sometimes do the right thing, it is not always for the right reasons. They primarily act out of pure self-interest.”

Instead of showing some concern for the millions of Americans who are losing their homes to floods and wildfires, our president decides to obstruct justice while on trial for obstructing justice. Someone please tell him that Jeff Sessions does not have the power to end the Mueller investigation. Does our president even care that the Russians are running our elections now?

We now have far too many super smart people thinking about and talking about this idiot and his stupid tweets! So many difficult problems to solve and nothing going on at the White House but tweets and ten day vacations.

Sorry guys. I try to avoid politics, but this situation is unbearable to me now!

Life without ready access to the Internet

spring fire

How long has it been since you didn’t access the Internet everyday? Since we experienced a wildfire in the mountains west of us and were evacuated around the end of June, we have had no access at home. That’s about a month now!

At first, after the fire fear was over, it really bothered me that I couldn’t jump online at any time and check everything. Habits die hard. But now, a month later, I am missing it less and less.

garden scene outside my bedroom door

I have to drive into town to use my friend’s laptop a couple times a week, and the rest of the time I simply forget about it. Yes, it is possible in this day and age to space out the Internet. Instead I focus more on my garden, exercising and on my life in general. It has helped to bring me out of my post-fire slump and return to my daily goals.

So why don’t we have the Internet yet? Because the local company we prefer, lost a key pole up in the mountains west of us, and they can’t even get in there to fix it yet. The area was destroyed by fire, in some cases the soil was even sterilized and the roads impassable. Providers are limited out here and we don’t like our other options, so we’re going without.

It has been an interesting experiment for me and I’m beginning to see the benefits of never having the Net to turn to when bored or uncertain what to do next…

This seems to bring the focus back to me and what I need right now!

Creativity and Memory Loss

I heard the most amazing statistic the other day on the PBS News Hour:

Creative artists experience 73% less memory loss and Alzheimers than others!

I believe it too! For me, creativity has been the key to maintaining the memory I have left after a traumatic brain injury ten years ago and 2 or 3 concussions.

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Photography, writing, interior design, and gardening are the areas I love to explore in a creative way. Creativity seems to truly relax my mind and let it flow in its own way.

The wonderful monsoon rains we have been experiencing since our Spring Wildfire the week of the 4th of July have done my garden a world of good! Plus Mike has been helping out building retaining walls in the garden.

cloudy Spanish Peaks with snow and garden

Our yard is right on the edge of a hill facing the Spanish Peaks, so we have to build it up or it will all wash away eventually.

nice garden scene at comanche drive

I’m now working on rebuilding the garden after the terrible drought we had here all winter and spring. I took another trip over to see my friends at my favorite hangout, Perennial Favorites near Rye, Colorado. They pointed out a few plants that seem to not interest the deer around here, so now I have a lavender Hyssop plant, Russian sage, only the yellow yarrow not the other colors, etc. They were so kind. They gave me two free plants because of our evacuation situation.

With all of the the rain we’ve been getting (over 3 inches so far this month!) and the cooler temperatures I enjoy working outside again. I have new garden hope!

BEAUTY is the GARDEN where HOPE grows!

Gratitude for everything, wildfires and all!

So of course it had to happen. One of my readers met with me this week and asked me one more time if I am still pleased with our decision to move to a rural part of southern Colorado, one that is prone to wildfire. As strange as it may seem, I am happier than ever to live where I do.

great Mike photo of snow and Spanish Peaks

The winter view of the Spanish Peaks from our solar home

First of all, the recent fire gave us a chance to live in town for a week because we were evacuated from our area between La Veta and Walsenburg. La Veta feels noisy and crowded to me now. My favorite quality of rural life is the absolute silence at night and on a cool clear country morning. Seeing the stars after I turn off the lights at night is also something I have never experienced before.

Returning to our home after evacuation was a marvelous treat, a timely reminder of how lucky we are to be able to live in nature on our own terms with neighbors far enough away to basically ignore them.

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The sunrises are as amazing as ever. What’s not to like about this every morning?

Wildfire and trauma

I have been a student of the psychological affects of trauma ever since I performed my counseling internship at a rehab hospital in 1994. There I had the opportunity to treat those who had lost limbs in accidents, suffered devastating strokes, and life-changing sepsis. But it is somehow quite different to experience your own life-changing emergency. How has this experience changed me?

slab and framing of comanche drive

First of all, I will never forget that one last look at our brand new home as we drove away possibly for the last time. As smoke billowed above our home and ash started falling down on us, we left with two cars full of a crazy mix of things plus a cat and a dog, not even knowing where we were going.

We were so lucky that a dear friend in La Veta took us in and La Veta did not have to be evacuated. I now call our week in La Veta our emergency slumber party, because Cheryle made it as fun for us as she could.

By Tuesday I was totally stressed watching the mountains west of our home burn. I could only reassure myself that the firefighters would hold the line at County Road 520, which they ultimately did.

The next memorable moment was the evening of the 4th of July when it finally cooled down a little in La Veta and even rained a tiny bit. It felt so good out on the back porch doing our own version of a rain dance, as the TV rang out with patriotic music and fireworks.

But the real fire stopper was the gigantic rain we had up at Cuchara and here in La Veta on the evening of July 5th.  I have now learned from firefighters that that extra inch of rain saved both Pinehaven and Cuchara. Mother Nature comes through BIG TIME and saves the day!

In retrospect, I suffered some trauma. I will have dreams in the future about losing everything so soon after building it to perfection. There are many among us who have lost so much.

Please do not minimize or belittle the suffering of those in our community no matter what they have experienced. One thing I know about trauma, it so often brings up previous losses in extremely unpredictable ways. Respect the feelings of everyone you meet. If they are suffering, it is real for them.

First a record-breaking Colorado wildfire and then flash flooding – Never a dull moment here this summer!

spring fire

Ever since a wildfire broke out west of us on June 28th and I called 911, I feel like I’ve been riding a bucking bronco of disaster and devastation here in the foothills of southern Colorado! We were evacuated from our home the afternoon of June 29th to La Veta, where we spent one week worrying about losing everything.

Returning home on July 7th we felt only gratitude that our beautiful new solar home was saved by the valiant efforts of so many local and federal firefighters and their support staff. At one point we had 1805 federal employees including the national guard here helping to control the third worst wildfire in Colorado history. The fire ended up burning over 108,000 acres and destroyed at least 250 homes.

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Then last night around 11 pm all hell broke loose at our house! The floods came with an amazing array of lightning and thunder. Nobody could have slept through that! It rained for over three hours and brought us as much rain as we have had in the past four months in one big fat storm! It’s feast and famine around here. I have been measuring precipitation for COCORAHS and the Weather Service for over twenty years now, and I don’t believe I have ever had 2.28 inches in one storm here in Colorado.

The Cuchara River that runs through La Veta has been bone dry for over a month now, but this morning it is running strong with black water flowing from the burned areas up around Cuchara and Pinehaven. Sure hope there were no worse mud slides or flooding up above here. I have seen rivers before full of black slurry after severe mountain fires. The water runs just like velvet.

I am unable to provide new photos on here because we still don’t have the Internet at our home! I have to run into La Veta to get online…SECOM is definitely on my shit list!