Category Archives: Walk

#smallstone: Path

Not all paths are the same. This morning on our walk, Sam and I traveled one section of trail that was covered in snow and ice. There were slick patches and in other spots it shifted under our feet like we were walking on sand. It took more effort and time to walk this.

It reminded me of something I told Eric last night, about how when this intense puppy phase passes our “normal” lives will seem so easy in comparison. I told him about how I’d sat on the couch eating a big salad for lunch and actually watched some tv, and even though I didn’t get to watch a whole show before Ringo woke up and needed to go out, it seemed like such a luxury. Eric suggested that while that might be true, after you feel normal for awhile you forget to notice that it’s anything special.

It was like that on our walk this morning. After walking the side trail, we landed on a section of cleared paved path, smooth and solid. It felt so easy to walk on it, almost like we were floating, but it didn’t take long before I forgot and it was just walking, the awareness of ease replaced by noticing how cold I felt, how far we still had to go before returning home, how much work I needed to get done today, the worries and concerns and busyness creeping back in, distorting and confusing the previous sense of ease and joy.

I watched myself do this, aware of the suffering I generated. As an antidote, I felt my breath, saw the deep blue flutter of a single Blue Jay, noticed the turning colors of the sky, and felt such deep gratitude for the heart-shaped patch of snow and tiny splash of white fur inbetween Sam’s toes.

#smallstone: Snow Walk

picture by Chloe'

picture by Chloe’

It snowed again. It snowed all day long, was more than they predicted. We tried to take a single walk around the block, but you got too cold. In the places where people hadn’t shoveled, the drifts were almost as tall as you. When I picked you up, you leaned against me and shivered, even as you whined and wanted to be let down. We all need someone to walk with, someone who can pick us up and carry us the rest of the way home when we just can’t make it.

#smallstone: Walk

ringosfirstwalkRingo accidentally went on his first walk yesterday. His new harness came in the mail and we were testing it out. I didn’t want to risk walking him just on a neck collar because he sometimes backed out of it, just like Dexter used to do. I put the harness on while Eric held Ringo, and then we put him down. For the first few minutes he fought it — backing up, biting and scratching at it, rolling around on the floor, whining and limping like he was being wounded, but then he got distracted and forgot about it.

I got some treats and clipped on a leash, walking him up and down the length of the kitchen. Just as I was about to go out in the backyard with him, I realized I could now risk taking him somewhere else, so went out to explore the front yard. Unlike our other three puppies, who were too afraid at first to leave our yard, Ringo immediately started walking down the street, wanting to explore. After a few houses, I realized I was taking him on his first walk and Eric was missing it, so we turned around. Eric and Sam were heading out on their afternoon walk anyway, so they went around the block with us. It was so nice, to be four again, walking together. Just on that short walk, Ringo saw (and sometimes barked at) a woman on a bike with a dog, lots of cars, a few people, and two dogs barking at us from their yard.

This is a big deal. Walking is our thing, it’s what our pack does and loves the most. To have one dude who couldn’t go, meaning we couldn’t ever go together, was sad, and I hadn’t expected it to happen so quickly, so easily. He still can’t be expected to go too far, but he can go.

He also figured out the Kong this week. How to hold it, throw it, get out the food frozen inside. Anything safe that will occupy his time and attention right now seems like a miracle.

ringokong

Gratitude Friday

mcmurrypondsgold021. Fall weather, sunny and cool. The light is amazing and everything is tinged gold. Wool socks, soup, and flannel are all finally appropriate choices.

2. Communicating with Sam. I don’t know if we are closer because Dexter is gone or if I’m paying closer attention for some other reason, or both, but Sam understands and can communicate so much more than I realized. Although, when he stands in front of the TV, whining and talking to the various animals he sees, I don’t know if he’s the smartest dog we’ve ever had or the dumbest.

hikingsam3. Clarifying my new CSU project, being happy enough with it to think that maybe I’ll be at that job longer than I used to think, that I can make it fit with the bigger sense of my life and work.

4. Where we walk. I realized yesterday, as I was Instagramming pictures of the fall colors and naming the locations on our morning walk, that we go through three parks and four natural areas on our route, that we simply open the front door and go, get to visit all these beautiful places. One thing I didn’t get a picture of yesterday was the three white-tailed deer we startled in the fog, who ran from us, leaping, tails raised high, like giant bunnies.

one of four

one of four

5. Open Heart Project. This evening, we will start our second annual virtual retreat. Susan schedules time for creating and resting, along with meditation and dharma talks and discussion. I can’t wait.

Bonus Joy: Eric. Two specific things this week made me stop and think how incredibly grateful I am for him. One is I’m reading a book Brene’ Brown recommended, Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up, and it’s making me realize how good we have it, because so many of the issues the book works with are things we just don’t struggle with, or that we worked out already — not to say we are perfect by any means. The other was I noticed he’d recaulked the bathtub while I was away at my retreat. He’s always doing stuff like that, taking care of things, and not bothering to brag on himself for it, like I probably would. In just a few short weeks, we will have been married for 20 years. Partnering with him was the smartest thing I ever did.

weddingus

yep, we eloped and wore green

Gratitude Friday

1. Generosity and kindness and love, between friends and strangers, enemies even, the way it can transform a moment or a life, how the benefit goes both ways, giving and receiving.

2. Fresh, local food. Strawberries, still in season. Watermelon, season almost done and being savored, devoured. Peaches, a moment of sunshine in my mouth. Tomatoes and cucumbers from our garden, still and so many.

gardensweetberries3. The surprise of a humming bird feeding on our Bee Plants, the happy return of the bees after they’d sprayed for mosquitoes the night before and I worried about them all night, the sweet way Eric rinsed off the plants at dawn just in case, the crazy loud commotion of their breakfast later that morning.

4. My new tarot deck. I am learning so much, feeling guided, helped, loved.

magicallittleme5. Morning walk at Reservoir Ridge. We had to make it a short one because as soon as the sun came up it started getting hot, but it was a good reminder that we live in a beautiful place.

Bonus Joy: Sam, what he teaches me about change, what he shows me about the confusion of my anxiety, and the comfort of his companionship.

Day of Rest

Learning to pause is the first step in the practice of Radical Acceptance. A pause is a suspension of activity, a time of temporary disengagement when we are no longer moving toward any goal . . . The pause can occur in the midst of almost any activity and can last for an instant, for hours or for seasons of our life . . . We may pause in the midst of meditation to let go of thoughts and reawaken our attention to the breath. We may pause by stepping out of daily life to go on a retreat or to spend time in nature or to take a sabbatical . . . You might try it now: Stop reading and sit there, doing “no thing,” and simply notice what you are experiencing. ~Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the magic of pausing, about what is worth pausing for. On our morning walks along the Poudre River, the mosquitoes are now out in full force. They are murderous with hunger and they also carry West Nile Virus, so we make every effort to not get bitten. This means we have to keep moving, go fast, and yet, there are many things worth pausing for. I offer the following as my list from the past few days of what was worth pausing for.

The rose bush next to my front door, which has gone mad with blooms this season.

This row of peonies, only half of what was planted along the front edge of this property and has made me revise my wish for three or four more plants in my front yard to THIS.

Mama turtle laying eggs next to the river.

Robin sitting on a fence in a sea of green.

Horses grazing.

Baby goose in the river.

Deer crossing the river, (there were two, but we spooked the other one back to the bank).

Twin baby deer. These were magic, because the place we saw them is an arboretum on campus at Colorado State University. Not in some far off wooded natural area, but smack in the middle of town.

Through the sacred art of pausing, we develop the capacity to stop hiding, to stop running away from our experience. We begin to trust in our natural intelligence, in our naturally wise heart, in our capacity to open to whatever arises. ~Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha

Gratitude Friday

1. Lee Martinez Park. Birds singing, mad with love for Spring. How green everything is getting. A lone goose gliding across the pond, a heron standing in the river waiting for a fish. Baby animals, including a litter of fox kits and a new baby cow at the Farm, (that I can’t get a good picture of yet, because whenever I get close enough, my dogs start barking at her, and I don’t want her to learn to be afraid of dogs, or suggest to my dogs that it’s okay to bark at babies).

2. Clarity and compassion. Being able to take a pause, a deep breath when I am confused, to contemplate and write, to look around and consider, to take a long walk, and through these things, with faith in my own truth and wisdom, I know.

3. A life partner. Someone to share the sadness and anxiety with, along with the joy. Someone who is all in, trustworthy, patient, smart, funny, and an introvert like me, happy to be at home with our dogs, sitting in the backyard with a book, or taking a long walk. Someone who likes to watch PBS shows about museums, but also loves Flo Rida as much as I do. Someone who doesn’t mind eating at the same three or four restaurants time and time again. Someone who will clean the bathroom, wash the dishes, and mow the lawn. Someone who loves me and thinks I’m awesome even when I’m being kind of awful. Someone who will send me pictures of my dogs while I’m at work, who leaves love notes for me on the kitchen counter, signing his name in case I wonder who it’s from. He’s my favorite.

20 years ago

20 years ago in our first backyard

4. Getting Naked, the ecourse. Specifically I am grateful for the lyrical, loving energy of our teacher and my friend, Julia Fehrenbacher. Yet again, she’s created a beautiful thing, sent light and love and wisdom out into the world.

5. A spoonful of crunchy peanut butter and a sweet crisp apple. If there is a better snack, I don’t know what it is.

Bonus Joy: Another week with Dexter. This past Sunday, Eric took Sam hiking, so Dexter and I walked to Lee Martinez Park. We forgot the Colorado Marathon was happening, that there would be so many runners on the Poudre Trail. The one time we had to cross over, stay on the trail for a few minutes to get to the path on the other side, we were running with everyone, and we both think that for those few moments, we were winning.