Bitter Sweet and Long Goodbyes

It is on the list of ten things I want to do before I die; this launching of successful, well balanced young adults. Let’s have a moment of applause and a family pat on the back all around as we pack the Subaru to the gills and head off to college. The first semester, tuition and fees, is in the bag; thanks to Andrea’s grade point average, abject need, and 2006 income tax refunds.

Andrea is beside herself with anticipation and also the melancholy of leaving “the band.”  I am constantly torn between the euphoria of seeing her do exactly what I have dreamed and scrimped and saved for her to do and losing my daughter who has become my very dear friend and hiking companion over the past year. She is among the last of area college bound freshmen to leave. After a month’s hiatus from June graduation parties; August has seen round after round of long good-byes and going away parties.

The band that meets in my basement has had thoughtful conversations and meditations about breaking up.  Rather than keep to a twice weekly practice schedule, they meet and rehearse every available day and feverishly write and arrange new songs.  This year’s incoming high school juniors and seniors caught the bus or tried out a parking pass as local schools began yesterday. Philip acted as bus mentor to the neighbor boy who entered middle school (I remember him best as 4 years old). Last year’s seniors have peeled off at a rate of several per week toward Ft. Collins, Greeley, Boulder, Wyoming, and New Mexico. On Friday, Andrea will rise early and depart for Gunnison. 

A couple of Sundays ago a male friend popped in to show his pictures from a graduation tour of England.  “Let’s see your room, Andrea,” said he. “I wonder if it looks as bad as mine?”  Microwaves, small refrigerators, Rubbermaid storage tubs, and boxes of essential supplies are stacked in towers in the domicile of every college bound 18 year old of my acquaintance. Said friend is now hitting the books in New Mexico and by this time next week Andrea’s room will be neat as a pin and ready to serve as guest room – whenever she can catch a ride home. 

Bon Voyage, young adults, your independence and responsibility is just beginning!  


Ummmm Ummmm.  Andrea and I took yet another hike today up the cliff trail of Maxwell Falls and I was once again kissed by the sun. I love the sun.  It is becoming quite an important item in my life. John Denver wrote, “Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy……sunshine almost always makes me high.”  Indeed, I am fairly high at 8,000 to 9,000 feet.  I am quite bronze from my finger tips to my shoulders; a little less brown where the hair shields the back of my neck: and still rather pale of calves and thighs due to the necessity of wearing full length jeans when encountering tall grass or bushes. Anyway, sunshine does marvelous things for one’s spirits and outlook on life.  Scientifically sunshine releases endorphins and dopamine – the stuff that makes one feel good.  Some have said the sun is an aphrodisiac. Of course some have also said that of chocolate. I do find that sunshine restores a positive balance to my perspective and that a nice long hike in the mountains improves my appetite—for good Chinese food, cheesecake, and other comforts native to adults. To paraphrase another song from my younger years, “Every time you (sun) touch me, I get high.”  May my highs always be full of natural ingredients!

Climb Every Mountain

Climb Every mountain ford every stream, follow every (highway, byway, pathway, rainbow) till you find your dream. A lofty endeavor, to say the least, but still worthy of contemplation and action.  One of my efforts for the summer was to get plenty of sunshine and exercise for the purpose of wholesome health.  In our area three expansive open spaces have been set aside and dedicated by previous owners so that some mountain space will remain forever open; not available for commercial or residential construction. The trails and loops on these open spaces range from 3 to 5 miles in length and may take up to 3 hours to hike depending on the rise in elevation and the terrain. One open space may be accessed a mere 300 yards from my cabin, so I am quite familiar with it. Last week Andrea and I hiked to the very top of Meyer Ranch Open Space on a trail marked, “Old Ski Run.” From the rocky crown we could see miles in every direction.  On Thursday we prevailed on Philip to leave his website construction and join us.  Bypassing Beaver Ranch Open Space (because they were setting up for Mountain Music Festival) and focusing on Reynolds Park, we persisted in choosing ascending trails until we reached a plateau named Eagle’s Crest. The view to the West (toward the continental divide) was absolutely stunning. We returned home simultaneously refreshed and fatigued.

I’m so glad I did that!  On Friday I was offered a new ½ time job as music specialist at an area Core Knowledge School. Meetings and work began in earnest this last Monday, so I am glad I  had experienced one last Colorado Rocky Mountain High before summer activities came to an abrupt close.

Wanting Well

Grandma Cherry and Selah

Originally uploaded by ein feisty Berg

Wanting Well

There are so many things I WANT to do: take a walk each day for exercise and waist control, finish a sewing project, clean the house thoroughly, write on my two novels, practice all my music instruments…and of course, be working toward the 10 things I want to do before I die.

There is nothing wrong with wanting or strong desire. In fact, the one who has ceased to want anything for oneself and lives only to sacrifice for the dreams and goals, wants and desires, of another has crossed the line into unhealthy co-dependence.

Likewise the one who thinks only of his or her own goals, dreams, and desires; with total disregard for the dreams and needs of those who people the world called ‘family and close friends,’ has tipped the balance toward the unhealthy.

Finding the balance can be a challenge.