Fifteen years ago I donned a pewter pendant whose creator had named it “Clarity.” I had just left a beloved house in the city in which I had meant to grow old and was squatting (I hoped) in a duplex owned by my parents, in a town I would never have chosen and was damned sure I would never love. I had made that move with inner certainty. My still-friends had supported me in this decision but a mentor I admired and wanted to please had objected, telling me I was sacrificing my own life. I dismissed his perspective and admired him a bit less as I loaded the U-Haul. Continue reading “Clarity (?)”

I awoke this morning remembering a Baxter Black poem I heard recited on public radio twenty-some years ago. In it an infamous rodeo bull is eyeing a cowboy he’d several times defeated, who was fixing to ride him again, and musing, “Slow learner, that one.” I have remembered the line all these years because I could relate…to the cowboy, that is. Sometimes I’m a very slow learner…the most recent case in point being yesterday. Continue reading “Slow Learner”

I say that “adventure” is anything we undertake which includes a degree of risk for unhappy consequences. My curiosity has gotten me into many such situations, but the one I’m writing about now is driven by my genetics. Believe me, as prone as I am to head into the wilds on a motorcycle, the journey I’ve just begun—and will be on for the rest of my life—is not one I would have chosen. Continue reading “Keeping Promises”

Anyone who has listened to me talk about Montana has undoubtedly heard the story of my falling-in-love-at-first-sight moment atop Thompson Pass. I rounded a curve at the summit, crossing from Idaho into Montana, and there lay a vista that took my breath. As far as I could see, miles and miles of mountains and trees. I was filled with a sense of openness and freedom unlike anything I’d known and I descended into Montana feeling like I’d found a new life.

Continue reading “That’s My Story….”

Early this morning I found my elderly cat, Sweet Pea, nestled in a box of trash I forgot to take out last night. She was sleeping so soundly that, when I woke her by calling her name and touching her ear, she shook her head, eyed me suspiciously, and hissed. She has been in that box for hours now. And that reminds me of my own behavior at times.

Continue reading “Dreams vs Trash”

When I began riding a motorcycle at age 63, my friends asked, “Are you totally nuts?!” and complete strangers I met while on my bike eyed my graying hair, shook their heads when I said I’d just begun riding, and told me crash stories. But when I subsequently purchased a dirt bike at age 65, my friends just rolled their eyes. Most have gotten used to the idea that I love something they wouldn’t dream of doing. And some even think that’s pretty cool.

Continue reading “The Price of Joy”

I confess. “Instant” is tempting. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to get rich quick, lose twenty pounds in one month eating gallons of ice-cream, and write a best-seller next week? Maybe not; I can’t think of anything fast and easy that changed my life for the better long-term. Years ago, a brilliant jazz drummer friend summed up the secret of his own success like this, “Ya gotta pay your dues, babe.” It sounded onerous but he was right! And thankfully, it turns out that once you bring a dream into focus, those payments can be fun to make, even as they challenge and scare you. 

Continue reading “Practice, Practice, Practice”

When Martin Luther King proclaimed unforgettably, “I have a dream,” that August day in 1963, I was barely thirteen. I didn’t actually hear him say it that day. But even just hearing about it made my skin tingle…and still does. Dreams were clearly how really important things began and I very much wanted to do something important someday. But I didn’t have a dream. I had never had one. And suddenly I knew I lacked something vital.

Continue reading “I (Finally) Have a Dream!”