Tuesday, November 30, 2010

creature of habit

I've been making the pilgrimage to the top of Mount Sentinel for 13 years, now, since I first moved to Missoula. I've trudged up in the pouring rain, blustering gale force winds and snow, in the middle of the day under a big beautiful sky, late at night in the dark lit only by the lights of Missoula.  102 degrees...  2 degrees.  We've seen the beauty in each other at every temperature.

Big things have happened on the top. My husband dropped to one knee and proposed to me in mid-January one year... And after Dad died Jeff and I spread his ashes in the branches and at the base of a majestic ponderosa pine.

I will never tire of her. Sentinel ablaze with wildflowers in the Spring and Summer. Sentinel's sexy curves gold-hued and velvety on a crisp Fall day. Sentinel covered in a soft blanket of snow in the Winter. For every season there is a reason to make it across town to see her.

Grandest ideas and desires are born when I sweat...and Sentinel, my old loyal friend, keeps the core of me protected. She's a soulmate. A secret keeper. When I free mind up there she only whispers back with a gentle wind through her pines.  It's carried off somewhere up Pattee Canyon, and a heavenly silence in my soul remains.  I always feel lighter when I return to the bottom.

Since Astrid was born I've had to leave Sentinel for periods of time to hike closer to my house (and in the shade of Blue Mountain's trails) but I always come back to her open arms.

I've been making a habit of her lately, and it feels so good.

I hope I can make it up that mountain forever. 

I met a lady today and unexpectedly spent an hour hiking with her on Waterworks hill....her territory, her favorite place.  She is 79 years old (80 in January) and she reminds me where I would like to be when I arrive at 79.  She was a spry little thing, almost danced up the trail, and with all the layers she was wearing coming up behind her she had me believing that she was a woman half her age.  She walked fast, and was quick to smile.

We covered some ground in that hour, and I was captivated by her immediate identification of birds by their call.  In some cases I couldn't even hear it, and she is over twice my age!  We talked about the fact she is getting a pace maker next week, due to the fact that her heart "works more like a washing machine than a pump" and about her goal of making it to the top of Waterworks hill on her birthday on January 25th.

She was, in a word, insprational, and she made my day.

This is the beautiful stranger named Elizabeth who I spent a very important hour with this morning, who is not such a stranger anymore.:


In other news:

I ate my first burger in 18 years a couple weeks ago.  Jeff went hunting and brought home an elk, so I figured I would eat a little since I have never had it.  I thought I might be sick after such a long time without meat, but I am happy to report no ill effects.  In fact, although a pescatarian for nearly two decades, I might eat elk on occasion, as long as we have it in our freezer.  I'm pretty sure this elk led a remarkable life, well, up until the moment he was shot.  I'm very thankful for the opportunity to eat the meat that my hunter-gatherer brought home to us this season.


When we had the cold spell a couple weeks ago it was difficult to get outside with the little one so we holed up and played with some of Astrid's favorite "toys".  Buttons and rocks occupy hours of time in the living room.  We have so much fun making cairns and obstacle courses for tiny horses and pigs and other tiny animals.

Who could've forseen that my rock collection would get so much use after all these years!  I think Astrid has the rock fettish just like her mama.

Mama's buttons are nice, too.

Here's a surprising moment.  Astrid was not crazy about her costume I made until we went to a Halloween party with the other kids dressed up, but now, she is interested in wearing it around the house.

Last weekend we went up to the lake and we had a blast sledding on the driveway!  Hello Winter!  It was cozy in the camp with the wood stove packed with wood.

Astrid - 29 Months Old

Skagit - less than humored by all the nonsense.
 This past weekend we went out for our annual trek in the woods for that perfect Christmas tree.  We made some memories and walked around a bunch didn't bring a tree home.  We are hoping next Sunday will be our lucky day.

More to come on DRAGON PUPPETS later this week.  I have been meaning to post the photos of finished puppets of the gals who took my puppet classes at Loopy this Fall.

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