Trust at Rattlesnake Arches

The foremost reason I hike is for emotional health.   I love it.  Can’t live without it.  What others find healthful in prayer or meditation, I find in walking out in nature. Clarity, soul–refreshment. The added benefit, of course, is physical health. And way down in tertiary position is the word goal or success.

Nevertheless, I hiked to Rattlesnake Arches last week and thus chalked up another score for the bucket list. It was a goal well-met; a decision well-made. Despite the urging of some friends not to go alone and others not to take my Subaru, I set my face toward the arches and I went.

DSCN7678jeeproadThere are two ways to get to the arches.  From the North; a seven-mile hike in and through Rattlesnake Canyon with a seven-mile return.  From the South; a seven-mile dirt road, connecting to 1.5 miles of jeep road and then two miles on foot. I chose the dirt road thinking at any time to pull over and hoof it the rest of the way.  It was my lucky day.  The dirt road was freshly graded.  The Red Pearl made it the full seven miles – at 10 miles per hour.  Trucking on down the Jeep road in my bald tennies; I came upon this wondrous sign:


Solitude.  Oh how I love that word.  On my way in, I met a lone cyclist, on the road out only one vehicle. I was alone, in utter solitude for a seven-mile radius.  There are times I need the counsel and restoration of friends and times I need to be alone, self-paced, quiet, in self-examination.


Cresting the hill, canyons and valleys of the Colorado River stretch out before me, on into ruby colored sandstone and to Utah. The world is so vast. I am so very small. Instantly I trust.

The fear which chronically dogs me, is utterly gone.  I rest. Finally in the arms of Nature. There is nothing I can do.  Nothing for me to fix, manipulate or take responsibility for.  It is beyond me.  And yet, all will be most well. It is in the hands of the supernatural. 









Musicians who dare greatly

What’s not to love about a symphony variety show?  A place where musicians play fiddles rather than violins; everyone sings whether professionally trained or no, conductors wield bows instead of batons; and pure silliness is allowed from folks who are usually, well, a little staid and classical?

I took myself out again last Sunday night.  I went straight to Moss Performing Arts Center, plunked my plastic on the ticket table and said, “One please.” The ticket seller typed my name into the computer, charged my card and replied, “We’ll let you in if you promise to write something good about us.”

Oh. So I have a reputation? If you don’t already know, I have a habit of attending concerts, snapping photos and  writing  about them.  I love to focus on the good things happening in my hometown. The visible growth of  Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra  is definitely a good thing. I went to the variety show on Sunday night expecting to enjoy good music – hopefully of many genres. The most impressive take-away, however, was the display of courage.

In her book,  Daring Greatly,  Brené Brown maintains that vulnerability, “Sounds like truth and feels like courage.  Truth and courage are not always comfortable.”

Every participant who took the stage has amassed years of experience and education in performance or communications. Through constant use, and honing of skills, they have, to all appearances become perfect. Perfect or not, even under normal circumstances it takes courage to step on a stage and reveal your inmost self through music.  But a variety show is not normal circumstances.

For this variety show, each musician aspired to something out of their comfort zone.  Some picked up a secondary or tertiary axe.  A   conductor  used to being “an elegant figure on the podium,” relinquished control. Laying aside the tails, he donned a costume and became  Dick Van Dyke  vulnerable  – just to give the audience a laugh. Two trumpeters who have garnered awards and accolades willingly tooted shower tubing and plastic funnels while attempting classical cadenzas. Tell me this, if you knew perfection was at your fingertips with three valves and designer brass; would you submit to the uncertainty of plastic funnels and shower tubing?  Thanks Judd and Scott, it was most impressive.

Most satisfying moments?

  • The lyric mellow cello on Saint Saëns,
  • singing along with down-home harmonies on Amazing Grace,
  • a classic jazz combo.

A variety show, a fund-raiser, music thoroughly enjoyed by all, but an emotional act of courage, none-the-less. Wild crowd cheers and a thumb’s up to those in the musical arena: Alycia, Jeremy, Kelly, Kirk, and company of musicians.

Forgetting Awesome, Extinguishing Desire

I work in a location of incredible natural beauty. People spend their vacations and their money to come here, yet I am here five days a week courtesy of my job.  Amazingly, the beauty is so magnetic, I often head to my place of work on my days off just to hike and enjoy and know it better.   The words; breathtaking, inspiring, centering and clarifying come to mind.

But sometimes I forget.   Not a senior moment type of forgetfulness; rather, a crowded out by cares and worries kind of forgetfulness. If I work long hours – say dawn to dusk – and then rush to visit extended family, or shop for groceries, there is no time to hike.  If I have been on my feet all day and my body is screaming for dinner; chances are I will sink fatigued into the car seat and hurry to my next appointment – perhaps at a laundromat – with nary a glance at the grandeur.  After a few days, I feel vaguely dissatisfied. I forget the awesome. My desire is extinguished.  Just like that, the beauty that once drove me mad with desire; delirious with abundance of joy is snuffed out.  The honeymoon is over.

I worked the early shift today. The great outdoors was so alluring when I exited the office, I could not resist the urge to pull on my walking shoes. It was too chilly to change to the cropped off athletic gear I always tote perchance of adventure, so I added layers to my work clothes and took off down the trail. The cold was invigorating. Half a mile later I was gobsmacked by the beauty.


To think, fatigued, hungry and driven, I almost hurried to my car and on to the next item on my list.

As I walked I mused how all of life is like that.  In the crush of the mundane, I allow myself to slowly reel in the desire.  I pack it on ice.

In other words, after a few days of inattention to the beloved; after the interruption of a 40-hour workweek; perhaps mounting tension on the job or with the budget, the motivation goes away.  Through lack of use, desire is extinguished. The thing that used to be my emotional life-blood becomes ho hum, why should I exert myself?

And that is why in every avenue of endeavor we need to be constantly reminded;

Every day, tell her (him) you love her (him)

Keep the romance alive

Write a little every day if you are a writer

Are you a musician? Sit down and love that instrument every day.

Does beauty and the great outdoors nourish you? For heaven’s sake, don’t neglect yourself.

Quit being a martyr for expectations and the mundane. Feed the need. Nourish your desire.  Only then will you be wholehearted enough to actually give your best on the job.




Ever wonder how a horse feels when it is hobbled? No visible fences or barriers. Freedom as far as the eye can see, yet still hampered in forward progress. A horse with traditional foreleg hobbles can really go anywhere it has a mind to – except up the side of a mountain – it just takes more effort and a lot more time.

Lack of money such as not being able to buy groceries, gasoline, or pay the rent can severely hobble the creative energy of an artistic person.

As an aspiring writer who took a full-time day job to be free of just such financial hobbles, I could let myself feel reciprocally hobbled by the duties and demands of that very full-time day job. Thankfully, I work a job that includes the word bookstore; so it’s more like being hobbled in paradise. Besides, there is plenty of writing for me to do at the office, just…perhaps not fiction.

I love my retail job. There is variety at work. I feel competent. Rising to the occasion, drawing on my analytical ability or putting the strength of past experience to use builds confidence. Then, there is the natural environment at work. Sunshine, wildlife, ever-changing weather and scenery – pretty heavenly to enjoy while earning my daily bread.

I have noticed that the times I feel hobbled or frustrated with my job have to do with a negative attitude – either my own or a co-worker’s. For a few days recently, I was overwhelmed. Some of that feeling was due to wallowing in my own reactionary attitude. The balance of my overwhelm confirms the need to hire another co-worker.

Having first made every effort to corral my negative attitude rather than allow it to hobble my success; I turn my thoughts toward the qualities I wish to hire. Skills and integrity are essential. But, chemistry on the job is more vital than I would like to admit. It can make the difference between dreading work or looking forward eagerly to each day.

Just like the Banks children in Mary Poppins; I am searching for someone practically perfect as I flip through my mental file of acquaintances and leads. I want the best people possible staffing the store I manage. Optimum customer service hinges on a willing spirit; the ability to anticipate the needs of customers; and a clean, neat, tempting environment free of negative energy.

What are some traits that manifest a negative environment?
Chauvinism; gender, religious or political
High-maintenance, needy or demanding
Eager to help you to my opinion,
Disparaging of others or of merchandise,
Know-it-all, autobiographical garrulousness

You can bet as we search for an additional employee I’ll be looking for someone who anticipates needs of visitors, has a spirit of willingness to help, and improves the environment. Dream teams have chemistry.