About Me

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West, United States
I love to hike, bike, ski, run, swim, read, write, teach, learn, experience and enjoy loving others.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Paulo Coelho - Closing Cycles

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Move that Mattress

Background:  Before reading the following, please consider that the victim in this story pulls pranks on friends and family all the time.  I am sure that he will get even somehow.  He is not married at this time and really is "kind of a slob" - according to his sister.  I just say, "Meh...Men will be men."

Adventure: My good friend Kimberly and I have been known to go on a few "side field trips" as we call them.  We are both school teachers in our area, and we are happy to say that we have never quite grown up.  Since school is starting next week, we are fully aware that we need an adventure or two before the rigor and relevance of the classroom sets in.  I give her a call and she is more than happy to pick me up in her Yukon Denali to see if we can find adventure in our small town.  It isn't more than thirty to forty-five seconds until we have our adventure outlined.

As we are driving around the block beyond my home, we notice a very wet (it has rained on and off all day) mattress lying next in the curb in front of Kimberly's brother's house.  Both of us comment that the mattress has been there for almost two weeks.  Kimberly comments, "Man, why does my brother have to be such a redneck.  He parks his cars on his front lawn and now he is letting that mattress sit there in the road because the trash pick-up won't haul it off.  Why can't he just put it into the back of his truck and haul it himself?"

Then the idea hits and we both laugh.  I even laugh harder when I think about including another friend, (one whose name I can't mention because of the prominence she has in the community,) to witness our endeavors.  I laugh so hard when I think about her getting a kick out of our antics that I get some soda up my nose.  LOL

Kimberly drives to WalMart.  We enter the Martz, purchase our adventure material and leave.  We call our prominent friend who is stressed out and busily prepping for next week.  We tell her, "Hey, this will only take ten minutes and you won't be seen.  You can sit in the back of the Denali behind black tinted windows and observe."  She relents (she really needs a break) and climbs in the back seat of the vehicle.  She doesn't really know what we are going to do.

We park next to Kimberly's brother's house, get our ammo and walk to the curb to try and maneuver the mattress that is lying flat on the ground to where it can be seen.  It is extremely heavy because of the rains and rain water it has soaked throughout the day.  We manage to tip over an empty trash can that is next to it and slowly, with trial and lots of error, muscle the wet monster over the can, but our work will not be totally seen.  Kimberly sneaks around the side of her brother's house and takes two 2x4 lumber pieces and brings them around by the mattress.  We form a criss-cross with them behind the mattress which then stands up in full view of the motorists passing by.  Taking red spray paint ammo from WalMart, we spray the words...

"Woman Wanted."

Our friend, bravely gets out of the Denali and takes our picture.  During this time, Kimberly's brother has been in his house.  His two dogs are barking like crazy and he, without even looking in our direction, open's his side door and lets them out.  They come barreling at us..we grab the spray can lids and dash for the vehicle.  Our poor friend is slower than us and doesn't quite make it.  One of the dogs nips her on the butt and rips a hole in her pants, but she makes it in and slams the door.  We are all laughing so hard we can't breathe.  Not bad for three fifty year-old women.
We drive around for a while, and every so often, steer by our new art work.  Others are motoring past the new monument too.  Kimberly notes that her brother's friend and cohort at his work would love to see the adventure of the week.  Stopping at this home, we tell him of our creation.  He laughs, calls to his wife and they both hop into his truck to take a gander.  We follow them, but notice that the mattress has been toppled over by Kimberly's bro. who has seen it.  The friend and wife drive on by.  We stop, run, prop the mattress back up, dash back and get into the Denali just as her brother is coming out of his side door.  He sees us, gives us a questioning look to which Kimberly replies in gesture, "Hey, it wasn't me.  See, it was him!"  just as the friend drives by. 

Oh the adventures we can find if we just observe the everyday.  Later, we drive by, and the mattress is totally gone.  I wonder where it will turn up?

To be continued...

THE OLD GERMAN SHEPHERD - A Fable (Using Experience To Continue Life's Adventures)

 Anonymous Author

One day an Old German Shepherd starts chasing rabbits and before long, discovers that he is lost.  Wandering about, he notices a pather heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch.

The old German Shepherd thinks, "Oh, oh!  I'm in deep in it now!"  Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat.  Just as the panther is about to leap, the old German Shepherd exclaims loudly, "Boy, that was one delicious panther!  I wonder, if there are any more around here?"

Hearing this, the young panther halts his attack in mid-strike.  A look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees.  "Whew!" says the panther, "That was close!  That old German Shepherd nearly had me!"

Meanwhile, a squirrel who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the panther.  So, off he goes.

The squirrel soon catches up with the panther, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the panther.

The young panther is furious at being made a fool and says, "Here, squirrel, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine!"

Now, the old German Shepherd sees the panther coming with the squirrel on his back and thinks, "What am I going to do now?"  Instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn't seen them yet, and just when they get close enough to hear, the old German Shepherd says .... "Where's that squirrel?  I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another panther!"

Moral of this story....

Don't mess with the old dogs... Age and skill will always overcome youth and treachery!  BS and brilliance only come with age and experience.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Land of Gods

BACKGROUND: My husband, Edward, has wanted to take me hiking through the Zion Narrows of Zion National Park for the last three years. My two sons and my husband have hiked the Narrows two different times. Having heard tales from my two sons about, “the hike that changes lives,” and with Edward’s heart surgery in June - a stint placed in an artery which has helped him feel better than ever now, - I knew it was time to go.

THE TREK: Edward announced that he would be taking his vacation the first week in August and I was to clear my week because he had something planned. I was excited wondering where we would go. I asked my youngest son, Logan, now eighteen and starting college in the fall, who responded, “I think you are going to hike the narrows with dad and I’m not invited.” He smiled while saying this last part. Hey, mom and dad are starting the empty nest dating time. I acted surprised when Edward said that he had made reservations at a hotel close to the park for Wednesday evening. We would hike the Zion Narrows, one of the ten most popular hikes in the world, the following morning.

I got on youtube and found this video http://bit.ly/bk0oRm plus, I looked at a map of Zion National Park to see where I would be going. I noted that my hubby and I would be hiking during potential flash flood time, http://bit.ly/9xJ2TP . This is scary because each year people are killed in flash floods. Many times blue sky is seen through the narrow parts in the canyon, but a thunderstorm can take place up to 25 miles away, and with the sand and lime stone formations, the water runs right off into the mother of the canyon, the Virgin River that is an exquisite, but wildly, crazy woman at times.

We arrived at the visitor’s center at the west end of the park and walked toward a shuttle, I looked up toward our destination. Nestled in under the Utah, blue sky, the beauty took my breath away.

We took a shuttle into the park, we were dropped off at the river walkway, walked the mile trail, stopped to take in the grandeur of everything and prepared ourselves for the journey. I was told, to wear a body suit, (it gets cold in the canyon as the sun doesn’t shine much in there) a "Camelback" water pack, a waterproof container for my camera, snacks in waterproof containers, hiking shoes that could get very wet, padded stockings that went above the ankle, and a walking stick.

After descending the seven steps of the observation deck into the Virgin River bed, I quickly realized why one carries a walking stick. The river bottom was overwhelmingly filled with round slippery boulder-sized rocks. Navigating the three miles upstream was going to be a task. I felt like a child learning to walk for the first time at the start, but soon, the stick and I became one and the trek became manageable.

A beautiful place - this virgin has created…

It has taken her millions of years to patiently carve this magnificent and God inspiring land. She has nourished her bed with luscious flora so that her fauna can thrive.

It doesn’t take long for the upstream battles to make the journey tedious and arduous. Just when I thought my vigor might not last, around the bend would be another magnificent view that would shoot a beam of energizing light right into my heart.

The sun, wanting to take every opportunity not to be outdone by the virgin, would radiate his light just so on the face of this lovely, older Goddess. When commenting about the wrinkles of an elder Goddess of his tribe, a Navajo medicine man once said, “Our elders seem to begin to take on the look of Mother Earth as they age, with the cracks and crevices of character and living making maps across their faces.” http://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/569/flora-sombrero-lind-1923-2010

Many times, wading next to the sheer rock boundary is best. The wall is a sturdy, sure guide like Melchizedek was in Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. His essence was so strong that the boy was able to strongly keep a hold of his dream and see it realized.

The upstream battle with the rocks, the current, and the depth at times of the cold water was relieved when, like an oasis in the desert, an outcropping of sand and rocks jutted out enough for us to climb and find a place to rest, warm our bodies, have a snack, and take in the majesty of this wonderland.

It was time now to make the final conquest of ever pressing current to our destination, a place called, Wall Street with its 300 meter in height walls reaching straight up to the sky on each side of the river like unto the famous, New York City, street. Many of the hikers who started with us turned back before this final assault. Luckily my spiritual stock account was still filled with enthusiasm so that the journey, although trying, was still manageable.

We made it!!! Only two other hikers were in this majestic area with us.

It was too dark to take a picture of its grandness, so Edward shot one going straight up. A picture cannot begin to show the ominous presence one feels while surrounded by this power.

We were beaming for only a few minutes, when God took a flash picture … then a roar of thunder echoed through the canyon. I smiled as I knew that He was testing us to see if the dream was worth our efforts. “I think we’d better high tail it out of here!” Edward urged.

I can tell you that the thought of the flash flood youtube video went through my head as, thank heavens, going down the river was a bit easier than battling the upstream force going up. However, there were still rocks and deep pools to maneuver. When it came time to make the choice of traversing around the deep pools or swimming, I swam. Each time an opening with rocks to climb to safety came along, I would look at Edward, who would check the color of the water and urge us not to climb but continue our descent. If you are aware, when the river changes color you have, not a lot, but some time to climb. We took chances, yes; but, I could feel the Goddess hugging me and whispering that we would be okay and to proceed with joy.

With about a mile left to hike, we came upon a lady with two older teenage sons. She was panicking. I tried to calm her by hugging her and telling her to just keep a steady motion … that we could make it safely… only she didn’t speak English and I didn’t understand her language. She looked at me strangely and broke from me yelling at her boys as fear etched her face. They tried to run back down the river. This only made them stumble and fall all the more. Edward and I steadily paced ourselves and passed them. Eventually they caught on and followed our gait to the seven steps of the observation deck. As I wearily stepped up each one, I thought about life and what my sons had said about “the hike that changes lives.” Yes, it is a true statement. The Zion Narrows is a tremendously inspiring quest.

I took a moment to thank God for giving me a second chance to come back and experience this world he so lovingly created for us; I thanked him for my wonderful children; I thanked him for allowing my sweet husband and I to have more time together; I thanked him for truly testing Paulo so that Paulo would see his destiny and write the book that has and is changing and uniting our world; and lastly, I blessed God and his Goddess with the patience to endure while witnessing the sorrows and joys of their children on this world.

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