Repost Oct 18, 2017: Living in the high desert

Willow Creek Cyn 1975

Shot by Stan Anderson in 1975. I’m on the mustang and I was 14 that year.

This weekend my nephew and my brother were cooking buffalo meat and I was invited for Sunday dinner. My nephew is half-Ute so he has connections with the Ute Tribe in northeastern Utah. It was a surprise when he told me that the area I lived in in the mid 70s was where they had seeded a herd of mountain buffalo.

Even more interesting, that dirt road you see in the picture is now paved. When I lived there we were sixty miles from the nearest town. We grew all of our vegetables and fought the raccoons and coyotes from our plants and animals.

We brought our drinking water in because the wells in the area bubbled up sulfur and smelled like rotten eggs. The place had been hunted so much that the only predators were black bears. We even had hunters come in several times a year to clear the place from bears too. There hadn’t been a wolf seen in decades by that time.

Now they have buffalo, mountain goats, and wolves. They even have wild turkeys. We brought in the turkeys when we moved there. When we left, we left them there.

The reason we were there is that my father had gotten a job as a foreman to run the ranch for the Ute Tribe. We left when they decided to hire one of their own. So yes, I have lived on the reservation even though I am a white woman.

At the time I was there, we washed our clothes in ditches. We boiled our water to take bathes in tubs. We didn’t have electricity although we did haul in propane for our stoves. When the summer days got to hot we would go into the basement to cool off. We slept down there. We didn’t have AC or a lot of the modern conveniences of our neighbors.

I do remember those days with some fondness. Still I won’t do that again. It was too much work and too hard. I had a lot of responsibility for the care and tending of my brothers and sisters. I wanted to be free and run wild.

Still I am quite amused that someone decided to turn that place into a buffalo refuge. Then they paved the road. I can’t get my mind around how someplace so isolated has a paved road. Every spring the road still washes out even with the pavement. I remember times in the spring where I could collect 4-6 inches of mud on my boots when I went out to do the chores.

So I know the reason why farm families have so many kids. I also know why many farm kids want to escape this life. It is tough–tougher than you can imagine.

When I write about the “high desert” I am writing of what I know. The people who come from that environment are hardy and able because they can’t depend on anyone else to save them. It is an unforgiving environment. It is a deadly beauty.


It rained

black and white clear cool dew

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It’s been a second night in a row that I got caught reading way past my bedtime.

I have a small headache from the atmospheric pressure and the lack of sleep. I’ll fix it right up with a cup of coffee laced with matcha.

That matcha could wake the dead.

What released me from the restlessness last night after I had tossed and turned for an hour was a downpour. The wash of water as it hit the roof, windows, and outdoor walkways became the white noise that washed all the extraneous thoughts out of my head.

I do love hearing the sound of rain. It is on par with listening to the waves break across huge rocks on the beach. It captures my attention and I don’t feel my problems. The pains in my feet, hands, and legs disappear.

I read once that we are all frequencies. To me frequency translates to sound even though light and matter all have frequencies. If you don’t believe me than listen to the sound of planets and stars as they whirl around through space. It is all sound.

We can’t hear much of it, which is too bad. I bet it’s beautiful with complex harmonics mixed with subsonics.

But then, I’ve always been fascinated with sound.


Though I walk through the shadow

otto-tuneLast night I dreamed of Otto.

When he took me in his arms and I melted into him, I smelled his distinct essence and I was safe again.

I remember being in a car while he was driving, then we met with business suits about radios. Of course, radios and communication was Otto’s passion.

At the end of our time together, he did what he always did– he fed me. We stopped at this Italian buffet filled with meats, pasta, breads, and salads. The buffet was run from a small home. The place was so popular that I couldn’t move around. There were tables in the house and outside the house to eat.

When I finished filling my plate, I turned around and he was gone. I couldn’t feel him anywhere. I asked the ladies where he was. They told me he had been called away and had left out the back door. I felt instantly bereft.

Once again I only had a brief time with him.

When I went back to my transportation out of there, I had this small flashlight to light the way. I could hear his voice telling me to be more aware of my surroundings. I could avoid danger while he was away.

I almost regretted that I hadn’t spent every minute with him when I could.

I dashed the tears from my eyes and remembered– “No regrets.” Our time together may have been short, but we lived it as fully as we could.

Until I see you again, Otto. Au revoir, my love.

Blue dogs and pink rabbits

animal close up cold danger

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Early this morning I woke up with a headache.

When I get one of these, it heralds a change in atmospheric pressure. In short my head is telling me that we are moving from fall into winter weather.

I could always predict the weather. I’m one of those lucky ones (I’m snarc’ing right now) who could smell rain or feel the changes in the air. I guess I have always been hypersensitive to the natural world. It can be good or bad. In my case as I got older with more physical problems, these warnings came as migraines.

Unless you’ve had a migraine where your head is pounding and your eyes are hurting from the light and you want to vomit everything in your stomach even the bile, I can’t explain what it feels like to have a full-blown migraine. The only relief is to lie quietly with a cold cloth over my head in full darkness.

I’d get one every big change in weather and sometimes during the allergy seasons. After talking about it and refusing botox and other medications that are used for migraines, my doctor had a bright idea. There were studies that showed that people who were susceptible to migraines might be low in B vitamins– particularly B-2.

So I started taking a B-2 vitamin every day. I can feel it when I forget. There is a headache that sits in the back of my brain. It feels like a caffeine headache.

So today, I should have a full-blown migraine because I can feel the atmosphere press against my head. Yes, I do have a headache– but I can function. I’m not wrung out from vomiting into the toilet. I’m not lying down with a cold cloth pressed to my head.

I think this is a little miracle.

To sleep, perchance to dream

gray cat near brown vase with sunflowers

Photo by Buenosia Carol on

My body has its own science experiments.

It seems that when it is time for bed, my mind races. Sometimes I will read a little before bed to get my mind thinking other thoughts so I have more control when I finally fall asleep.

Sometimes that doesn’t work and I get pulled into the story until I have to read to the end.

Yes, that happened on Saturday evening. When I finished the last of the story, it was 6 a.m. in the morning. I had read through the night. I don’t do that too often because I am aware of what happens to me when I don’t get seven to eight hours of sleep at night.

I was amazed that I was able to take the dog on a walk with a minimum of stumbling and falling. I didn’t get much done yesterday though. I would nod off at the most inopportune times. Last night I went to bed early.

So I have been comparing yesterday morning with this morning. I don’t have any more energy after a full nights sleep than I did with no sleep. I am more aware of the little aches that come with aging.

It’s been interesting to me at the change of attitude toward sleep by the medical community in the last twenty or so years. When I was a child, we knew small children needed a lot of sleep, but adults didn’t require as much.

Nowadays we are finding out what happens to adults who don’t get enough sleep. Their bodies don’t repair as fast. Plus adults who don’t sleep are at greater risk for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Sleep is essential for our health.

The short term is that the less sleep you get, the more cognitive glitches you can have during the day.

I do have strategies for those sleepless nights. One of my big ones after meditation is melatonin. For some reason as we age we have less of this hormone. It helps us get to sleep. I am wary of sleeping pills because of the “sleepwalking” effect. I don’t need to add that to my list of disabilities.

One of the big benefits of sleep is that my emotions are calmer and I am more rational throughout the day.

When I think of sleep, I think of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet:

“To die, to sleep – 
To sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub,
For in this sleep of death what dreams may come…”



Deadlines and coloring outside the lines

acrylic acrylic paint art artistic

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on

When I sit here and type about my last few days, it sounds like whining in my ears. I finally took Foxy, chihuahua-terrier mix, to the vet for her rabies and parvo shot. She is slumping around, which tells me that she’s not feel good.

I’ve been slumping around too. My heartbeat has been going wild lately. I’m pretty sure my thyroid medication is too high. So I’m doing a lot of quiet music and meditation, which means that my writing has suffered the last few days. I’ll be talking to a doctor on Monday about reducing the meds or even changing them. We’ll see.

I’m still on track with my deadline though. It looks like “Hero of Corsindor” has about 10,000 words to go. I wrote this one several years ago, but this year I wanted to do a good edit and sew up any holes in the plot. There were several. It was the first book I had written and my writing has changed a lot since then.

It’s been interesting to see the changes. When I first wrote this book I was excited that I had finally finished a full sized novel. The first time was the hardest in my opinion because I didn’t know I could do it.

Plus I take some online classes every few years to keep learning. This writing business takes a lot of my time and attention. I am always learning new things about story-telling. Yes, talent is nice to have if you want to tell stories, but skills are even more important to develop.

To be honest, I’m not good at coloring in the lines. It could be I’m just not good at seeing the things other people see. Other people can’t see what I can see so it is a trade-off.

I started writing for myself. I just couldn’t find what I wanted to read. Now I’m wondering if others like what I have written. So when someone tells me they are having fun with some character, something inside my chest releases.

I think I feel happy.