Third Anniversary — 2016

An interesting sculpture at the Denver Art Center.
An interesting sculpture at the Denver Art Center.
The complement to the Man sculpture at the Denver Art Center.
The complement to the Man sculpture at the Denver Art Center.

For some reason, the pair of sculptures I saw at the Denver Art Center seem appropriate for this rumination. They remind me of Wife and me.

Three years ago, Wife died. What more can be said about such a watershed event? What can I do to honor her memory than to remember her most days and then set aside a few minutes on her big days to reflect on her life and our shared lives?

I’ll tell you what I can do — I can live. I’m not going to be that other man in the grief group (I went a couple of times and then quit) who was stuck in his loss. He could not get traction to process his grief, to live it, to let it permeate his soul with the shearing pain of that loss, and then to release that energy as his wife would want.

I watched him. I felt his pain, not just my own. I shielded myself from his pain as it was too much to take on the pain of another man’s loss when so close to my own. I thought “He needs help he cannot get here,” as I walked away from that first group session. I thought “He has to get his feet under him, do the work, process his grief, and honor his wife’s memory if he’s going to move forward.”

Then I reflected on my own internal journey, my own internal work. I was much farther down the path of my grief than the other man. No, it was not a race and there is no winner; there is no better man when dealing with this life-changing event. There is just the grief and the work. There is a necessity to do this work or that pain will kill the spirit.

I returned once more to see if the grief group held anything for me. I learned that I was already far down the process of my grief and decided that spending time with my few friends (those that hung with me) would be far better for me than spending witm with the other grievers. So, that’s what I did.

My gut told me to run away… to just get on the bike or in the 4Runner and go walkabout for a while. My aching spirit wanted the outdoors, the open road, and time away from shared places to process what happened. I wanted to be the Ghost Rider (see Neil Peart’s book) and let the clean air and open road purge some of the pain from me.

But, I didn’t. I did the responsible thing and kept after my obligations. I continued my inner work and did what I could for my employer.

That all changed last March. I was released from my engagement. So, I sold the house, rid myself of a bunch of things (still have too much), put the remaining things in storage, and left. One thing I learned is that my gut was right — I should spend time outdoors and on the road. These are healing places for me and I made up for my original decision these last few months by spending time with loved ones here and there across the country.

And, this is how I honor Wife. I spend time with loved ones and on the road.

I sense, though, that this time is ending. My walkabout is coming to a close, or at the very least is going to change. What that will be is not yet clear. It will be, though, when the time is right. My direction is to remain in the moment, for that is all we ever have. I will remember Wife on all our special days, and most others. I’ll review the images of us together, doing things that we enjoyed, our family pictures, and just remembering. I will continue to honor Wife this way. It feels right. It also feels right to leave the pain behind (mostly) and celebrate the happy times we loved.

I dream of her often. I remember her often. I miss her all the time.

Lack of Bandwidth

A County Road bridge across the Colorado River near Silt, Colorado.
A County Road bridge across the Colorado River near Silt, Colorado.

I landed in Layton, Utah this afternoon. After fighting rain, snow, and highway spray for an hour and change, I gave up. I suspected a band of snow northwest from Salt Lake City and didn’t think it wise to drive into that. It is likely I would have decided to bag it and then have to hunt for a place to bunker in for the night. It just didn’t feel right.

So, Layton, Utah won the toss. I found a La Quinta, which doesn’t hassle me about my dog (wouldn’t anyway because she’s my service dog, but it’s just easier). I checked in early, took care of staging our things, and then the Girl and I crashed for an hour. I guess I was quite tired after fighting the highway.

I didn’t post while staying in Denver because bandwidth sucked dirt. I had “high speed internet” through an xfinity WiFi subscription. But it was definitely not “high speed.” I could do email alright and some light web surfing. But any work that required some bandwidth (like posting pictures on my weblog) just was not going to happen.

It’s too bad, because I have some decent images made there in Denver while I visited the kids. I’ll probably post a few of them over the next few days as I rejoin the world of the wired.

I departed Denver yesterday morning after being there about a week. It felt like it was time to move on a bit. I need some highway under me and some solitude.

The trip out of Denver got nasty as we approached the Eisenhower Tunnel. There was more snow than I expected and more traffic as well. The combination made for some slow going as we crawled over the hill. The mess didn’t dissipate until someplace west of Vail/Aspen. But hte roads dried and some sun shone and that made the afternoon much better.

We paused at Silt, Colorado, next to the Colorado River for a pee stop and time to get out of the 4Runner. It was nice to get out for a bit and the windows needed cleaning badly.

But, I was tired and called it early at Grand Junction. But first, we walked a couple of miles. It was good to be away from the city and the requirement of an on-lead walk. The Girl reveled in her freedom, running from bush to bush, sniffing, peeing, pooping… doing doggie things. Between her enthusiasm and the sun, joy came to my heart. It was quiet, I was outdoors, and we were back in our beloved environment, walking.

I got a room, got us settled in, found a bottle of red wine, and a bite of supper. It was good to be settled in for the night. I spent some time reading, writing, and listening to music. We fell asleep snuggling on the bed. I love her warm and she loves to snuggle. It was a good thing.

I woke fairly early this morning, but not buttcrack-of-dawn early. I made some coffee, sat down with my journal and Bible, then read and wrote a bit while I woke. We headed out at a decent hour, got a bite of breakfast, refueled the 4Runner, and really cleaned the windows.

We passed a lot of familiar territory west from Grand Junction to Green River, Utah. it’s a route I’ve driven dozens of times, but it still never fails to impress me with the vistas.

We headed northerly on U.S. 6/191 to catch I-15 and head into Salt Lake City. This was mostly a new route for me. I drove part of it last summer on my way back from Denver, but not the southern portion of this leg.

We hit rain and then snow when we got to Salt Lake City. The spray was so bad that visibility was severely impacted. After fighting with it for an hour or more, I gave up. It just wasn’t worth the risk and I was tiring rapidly from the strain. So, We stopped. We’ll pick up the trip in the morning.

It’s good to have bandwidth again. I missed writing and posting images.

One Hawt Dawg

The Girl was snuggling in her little bed. But, she was hot and panting when I made the capture. What a doll!
The Girl was snuggling in her little bed. But, she was hot and panting when I made the capture. What a doll!

In my goal of making one decent image (I can’t say good or I’ll paralyze myself) each day for my Project 365 goal, I will have days when I either come up short or just don’t make a capture. With a smartphone this should not be the case, but I still have days when I’m distracted by so many other things I just don’t think about it.

So, I’ll miss a few days because I either didn’t stop whatever I was doing to find something worth photographing and making the capture or I come up with nothing I’m willing to post.

Yesterday was one of those days, I think. I was busy most of the morning working on my report. When I finished that, I made a little lunch. I really wanted to be outdoors, walking or moving around, but the weather was just not very cooperative. It was cool and rainy most of the day. Yes, I know, whining… excuses… unacceptable.

But, the Girl came through for me in the evening. She was snoozy and cuddly. When I stepped to the bed to spend some time with her, she yawned and began a light pant. It’s the pant she does when she’s a little warm, but not really too hot. I love that look, so I grabbed my camera and made a couple of shots. I got one decent capture that presents some of her endearing personality.

Bigham’s BBQ

Bigham's is one of my favorite BBQ places. I miss eating here every week or so.
Bigham’s is one of my favorite BBQ places. I miss eating here every week or so.

Years go, when I worked in Lubbock, Bigham’s BBQ was a favorite place to go get lunch. Sometimes Wife would come up and meet me there. Sometimes I went with colleagues. Sometimes I just went by myself. The smoked turkey is very good. The brisket is not bad either. On Wednesdays, they served smokey burgers, which were hamburgers they cooked in the smoker. They needed sauce because they tended to be a little dry (smoking will do that). But goodness what flavor they had.

I managed to get there once for lunch and I’m glad I did. It’s still one of my favorite places.

Howling at the Moon

Howling at the Moon
Howling at the Moon

Many years ago, I had Kansas Leftoverture on vinyl. It was a favorite recording for a long time. The composition and arrangements were rich and almost classical, which was typical of Kansas at the time. They were also concept albums, meaning there was a theme or storyline that ran through the entire recording — by intent. That is, the writers composed the music with a theme or themes in mind and the writing reflected that.

One of the songs on Leftoverture seemed to stand out from the others. It was a kind of music break or interlude, much simpler in composition, quieter, and more reflective — Magnum Opus:

This foolish game, oh it’s still the same
The notes go dancin’ off in the air
And don’t you believe it’s true, the music is all for you
It’s really all we’ve got to share
Cause rockin’ and rollin’, it’s only howlin’ at the moon
It’s only howlin’ at the moon.

I was looking for a subject for my Project 365 capture a couple of days ago. I let the day get away from me. I sat at my temporary desk and thought for a few minutes, when I noticed my toy wolf.

If you’d like a bit of Kansas, enjoy Magnum Opus.

Art and Artist

An artist and his work in progress...
An artist and his work in progress…

While at J&B Coffee yesterday, enjoying coffee with dear friends after a photoshoot (wherein I was the shootee), I noticed an artist working on a portrait. After coffee I asked for a portrait. He was reluctant, but finally agreed after I asked a couple of times.

New Year 2016

A old friend working on the final mix.
A old friend working on the final mix.

How better to spend the beginning of the New Year than with a long walk with my Girl and then a visit with an old friend? After my morning regimen, I decided I really wanted a long walk. The last few days have been frustrating with the residual snow and the resulting ice. It’s cold enough at night to refreeze the previous day’s snowmelt, so the streets are treacherous and there is no place to walk. Most of the walks are still snow and ice covered. Higinbotham was great, but there is still a lot of snow and so my pace is too slow for me to get credit for my exercise. (I permit this one bit of obsessive-compulsive behavior.)

So, this morning I decided to drive to the Tech campus and see if I could get enough clear paths to get in a good walk. The Girl and I drove over there and campus was essentially deserted. We parked in the Engineering Key, which brought back many memories. I put the Girl’s training collar on her, got her out of my rig, and gave her a chance to sniff around while I collected my few things.

After policing her poo, we took off. We walked the Engineering Key, then turned west and walked along the back part of campus over to one of the new buildings. Tech has a lot of new buildings. Then we turned south along Indiana and walked to the housing area. We headed east along 18th Street and then closed the loop to the Engineering Key. All told, we got about 2-3/4 miles in and made a good pace. The Girl had plenty of chances to run out after a bird and then be called back into heel again.

I have to tighten up her training a bit. It seems she’s forgotten some of her service work. With all of my friends around, she’s confused about who she can greet and when. She’s so social that she wants to interact. She’s also a bit impulsive. So, we have some work to do and I’m up for it. I love working with her.

On the way back to the motel, a friend sent a text message that he’d be at the studio if I was up for a visit. So, we drove home, got a bite, I showered (needed it), and we drove over the Amusement Park Studio and visited with my friend while he worked on a mix. It’s fun watching him work. I love watching someone work when they know what they’re doing. There is beauty in skill. The more skill, the more beauty I see. While he worked, I snagged a few captures with my iPhone.

Now it’s my turn to do some work. I have things on my list yet that I want to get done. I have only a few days before I head west again. I’m ready to be on the road, but I need to complete some tasks too. So, I’d better get focused.

I believe this year will be better than last. I’m looking for my Best Year Ever and am willing to work for it. There’s lots of uncertainty in front of me. But, my concept for last year was Embrace Uncertainty. It appears that concept is still active this year. It’s good.

Happy New Year and Welcome 2016!