Time Capsule 8 November 2017

When my youngest was in kindergarten, his class made time capsules which they were to open upon high school graduation. I often helped in his classroom and I remember the struggle he had choosing what to put in it. High school graduation came and went and the time capsule was buried somewhere in a kitchen cabinet in our house. Off to college he went and we’d all forgotten about the painted and sealed can.

 

When he graduated from college, he asked about it but I didn’t know what had happened

Google Image: Beetle Borgs

to it, until my sister and brother-in-law found it among the things I’d stored at their house when I sold our house in Mead. So it sits on my desk waiting for Alex to come and claim it and open it. He doesn’t really remember what’s in it either, but he told me that in kindergarten he remembered being very concerned about how he’d get the hot glue off to get it open when the time came. His teacher responded, “When you’re in college, you’ll know.” Wise teacher.

Google Image: Hit Clips

 

Alex thinks there may be beetle borgs in it and some hit clips, possibly something spiderman and I wondered about a little Lego man. The can is much smaller than I remember, but the memories it contains will be so much bigger than any can could hold. I have no idea what I would have put in a similar vessel when I was in kindergarten, do you?

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Fall 31 October 2017

I love the smell of crispy fall leaves underfoot on a mountain trail. I’ve never been able to describe the smell-tangy, earthy, fall-like-see? It is rich and full and part of it has to do with the crinkly crunch as you walk with a few yellow, red and brown leaves still clinging to branches.

I love the chill in the early morning and the possibility in a few flying flurries. Cloudy, grey days give everything a sense of peace and stillness. And, wait for it, the little apple tree is already

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begging for the Christmas lights, yes, begging. I have, of course, said, “No, you’ll have to wait for a bit longer.” But still, it follows me when I’m outside with longing for those colored lights that bring a special kind of magic to its bare branches.

I love the steamy breath of horses against the rising sun, the sunny warmth of early afternoon, the early dark bringing the stars to shine and sparkle before the middle of the night. And it’s almost hot chocolate and marshmallow season. Fall is my favorite season, right next to winter.

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Hello Coffee 25 October 2017

Hello Coffee,

Thank you for being there to start my days in those hours before the sun decides to creep lighting the eastern horizon in a pink-orange glow. While it’s true, that you are set the night before so that all I need do is plug-in the percolator that brings you rich and dark and full to greet me upon my return from a run. That first hot sip slides down, warming my belly and bringing my brain into being once again.

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You are there at every point in my day, even though sometimes I must replace water and grounds and wait for you to brew again. When I cannot get words to come, your bold rich aroma sings to me from across the room and settles me as I pour yet another cup. When the house moves with the furry of the winds, yet your slightly bitter taste stills the shivers. And in those meetings that inevitably come with students or mentors or other teachers, you keep me grounded.

Even the creamy frosted chocolate cake demands your presence and is enhanced by

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alternate sips with forkfuls of cocoa sweet confection. And if, per chance, I manage to get away, I do so enjoy you with that salted caramel mocha. Oh, a match found in paradise I’m sure. As I close this letter to you, my dear Java, I say ode to Joe, as those cowboys of old must have done, gathered around the chuckwagon before and after a long day on the trail.

 

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Unpredictable 19 October 2017

Merriam-Webster defines unpredictable as: “not able to be known or declared in advance,” and wild as: “not subject to restraint or regulation,” and altitude as: “the vertical elevation of an object above a surface (such as sea level or land) of a planet or natural satellite.” Now, when we combine all of these definitions with elk season, it is somewhat easier to understand why we sometimes come back from hunting in the mountains with no elk.

True to form for the elk, they are not subject to regulations and as we packed our things down the trail, loaded them in the pick-up, and drove out through the valley some thousands of feet lower, there was a herd of eighty or so elk grazing contentedly in a lush pasture. Up on top, we did see three moose and two beautiful bucks, a boat-load of mountain blue birds, and vistas that would bless anyone’s vision.

Still, no elk in the freezer is a disappointment as it is my favorite of all the wild game we hunt and I was looking forward to some sour dough pancakes with elk breakfast sausage, and chokecherry syrup. Time up there is never wasted though because you get so away from the day-to-day worries and cares and distractions. The stars seem so much closer, and at the top of the various peaks, the world is drawn out before you in an endless blue sky all the way to forever. You know, “Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning.”

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Chocolate 11 October 2017

What do you like more than chocolate? 

My first response would be coffee, but that wouldn’t really give you the whole picture. I’m a dark chocolate fanatic who cannot go without coffee. Chocolate has always been a part of my life, but I came to coffee late in life, sometime in my 30s. I always loved the smell of brewing coffee, but didn’t develop a taste for it until I gave up Mountain Dew.

Of course, perhaps the best of both worlds here would be a mocha made with dark chocolate. And skim milk.

But seriously, there are many things that I like: grilled zucchini, salmon, sweet grapes, juicy ripe peaches, ice-cream, RC Cola, spinach, balsamic vinaigrette, Zots (but who doesn’t!), squash, bison burgers, popcorn, roasted carrots, caramelized onions, sourdough pancakes, Trevor’s smoked anything, and I could go on and on. I mean, I don’t think there is any dessert I don’t like, well, except pecan pie-gross.

And then I come back to the simple pleasure found in little piece of dark chocolate melting in my mouth, next to a steaming mug of coffee.

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Optimism 5 October 2017

How do you build optimism in yourself and for those around you? Of course “those around you” these days includes so many across your digital world too.

Sometimes I cannot stand Twitter because it is so full of negativism. Sometimes I love it because someone I follow will post a message that is inspiring, usually the words of some writer, of course! In my fiction class, we’re in week two of reading and studying the realist authors. I find myself longing for a little optimism. Camus’ The Stranger, and Joyce’s “The Dead,” don’t leave a lot of room for buoyancy.

Once again, I look to my students for a life lesson. One of the first things we do is have a discussion about what it means to be in a virtual community and some ground rules for our posts to each other. Some of their words:

“Don’t swear, Tell them something they did well, Be polite when correcting, Just because it isn’t your point of view doesn’t mean it’s wrong, Encourage each other, Don’t be a bully because I’ve had that before and it isn’t fun, Try to give positives along with what they could do better, Don’t be mean, Be helpful.”

And then some of them posted pictures of their pets because they said their pets make it easy to smile and have fun.

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” Maya Angelou

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Cattle 29 September 2017

Cattle make life interesting at times. I love to watch them as new-born calves, just standing up for the first time to discovering their legs can really propel them only twenty-four hours later! The deep sound of their mama lowing to them resonates in my bones. Then, turning our heifer calves out in the pasture and they still have that “kick-up-your-heels” attitude that just seems to take over at random times, to the complete contentment when they are bedded down and chewing their cud.

Gentling them to get used to our company, we slowly gain their trust to where they will eat cotton candy out of our hands. Yes, I call the cotton cake pellets “cotton candy” because they love it like I love me some blue cotton candy! Over the summer, they go from startling at our presence to following us around and licking our pants wondering where their treats are.

Over the summer, they’ve been bred and now what I like to call, “baby mammas” because they still have that calf-like quality of playfulness, even though they’ll have their first calves starting in March. Still, you always have to stay on your toes, because like all animals, they can be unpredictable at times. Working with cattle has to be an exercise in patience, because the more worked up you get, the more worked up they get and then, the working can get somewhat dicey.

Now most of our heifers are safely delivered to the sale barn where they will find good homes on ranches to spend the cow stage of their lives in peaceful bliss, feeding on long pasture grasses as they graze in the sun. I wonder if any of their new owners will give them some “cotton candy.”

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