Sunday, August 30, 2020

Staggering into Normalville

I used to think I knew what busy was. Heh.

At some point I'll perhaps describe in a very general way what the ever-growing mountain of tasks has looked and felt like. In general the priority has to be direct care of kids during a particularly hard time. A concurrent priority is to accomplish all the bureaucratic tasking required to ensure the best possible ongoing lives for the kids. That's where the ever growing mountain springs from -- the bureaucratic state. You really can't imagine the immense wrongness of 2020 'murka unless you have to navigate through that place. It is honestly the antithesis of the shining ideas and ideals of the United States of America.

Tough sledding. But there are good and sufficient reasons to do it and do it correctly.

Allie's sister and the little ones.


I also used to think that God sometimes gave me hard stuff to test me. Now I know for certain that I was mistaken. Hard stuff is just part of livin' stuff. The things that God is doing through me are miracles.


Why do I do a "good deed?" More importantly, why did I make a video of the good deed? Is it simply a selfish man patting himself on the back? It's important for me to ask such questions and work hard to find answers.


Baked bread for the family today. This is all I captured of the process!


I took some time to work on washing clothes. Allie's clothes. It's a hard chore but it must be done. With our recent move, living life, and then her passing, there is a lot of clothes to wash. Clothes loved Allie and she gave a lot of them a home.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch...


Nope. Comfortable.


Yesterday is gone and tomorrow isn't here or even assured. We ape-lizards have the capacity to remember and to plan, and these tools are mighty boons. But as with any tool, they can both build and raze, and the stuff they build can be just stuff, good stuff, or bad stuff.The choice is always ours; it is ever and only owned by the individual human being.

Today is the place we actually live. We navigate life from moment to moment, just as nature does. In the slice of universe we occupy we only move forward through time. We can't move backwards and we can't stop.

We human beings can and often do spend time remembering and planning. We can also, if we decide to, attempt to ignore the present by concentrating our mind power on what once was and what might possibly be. If we sail too far into those waters, we will enter a part of the sea of life which is clearly marked on our charts, "Here There Be Dragons."

The waters surrounding Mare Draconum are safe and lovely and we must sail them. They give us succor and comfort and possibility and most importantly Hope.

It's also important to sail into Mare Draconum from time to time. There are precious treasures there and in order to actually live our life, we must seek and win those treasures. But we must ever be mindful that if we founder in that part of the ocean we will surely be consumed.


Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Good and timely nature question

Morning in Kimball, August 27, 2020.


Cattle on a hot summer day.


John Blackshoe posed a good and timely nature question in a comment to my previous post.

Nature question, when you have time. "Short grass prairie" is what you have. Not sure if it is short because your cows keep it neatly trimmed, or the vegetation/moisture doesn't let it grow taller.
Over on the Pacific coast where they get lots of rain, and therefore lots of vegetation-grasses and trees- they get lots of wildfires. Get into timber country and they get them too, lots from lightning, too many from stupid ape lizards. I don't recall hearing about many many prairie fires in NE/CO/KS, although they were a fearsome factor in pioneer times, and subject of several dramatic paintings. All part of nature's surprises, I guess. So, do you get many fires in your region?

As the name suggests, short grass prairie refers to a grassland ecosystem where the stature/speciation of the grasses is shorter than mixed or tall grass prairie ecosystems.

In general, grass stature is most highly correlated with precipitation. Speciation is also correlated with precipitation. Of course precipitation is basically the supply source for water, and plants take up water for the soil, so measured precipitation is really just a proxy for the important thing, which is soil moisture. Or even more precisely, moisture in the soil which is actually available for uptake by plant root systems. There's more detail here.

In this part of the country where the stature of the grassland ecosystem is comparatively short, there is comparatively less fuel load per unit of measure, and therefore not as much stuff to burn when fires start. Land topography is generally more flat, there is generally more fallow or bare farm ground, and there are generally more roads. This combination provides for fire breaks and for quite rapid response to wild fires. The population density is very small, so direct human impact is also very small.

In a nutshell, we have wildfires around here all the time, but they only rarely get so big and out of control that they become newsworthy or cast a lot of smoke downwind.

Where do our wildfires come from? It's the usual suspects. Lightning and people. During a dry year, which this year certainly qualifies as, the Kimball Rural Fire Department gets called out into the country 2-3 times each week. We've been getting a lot of essentially rainless thunderstorms, so lightning often strikes dry grass or crop residue and there's not enough rain to quench any fires that start. Farmers harvesting grain start a lot of fires too, because tractors, trucks, and combines have internal combustion which sometimes leaks out and moving parts can get hot and/or produce sparks. It's just not uncommon at all for a farmer to lose an entire field of grain plus several trucks and combines to a wheat or millet field fire.

As to dryness, average January-August precipitation is 13.1 inches. Thus far in 2020 we've measured 9.2 inches. So it's pretty dry.

Several years ago in the autumn we had a fire on the south unit sparked by downed power lines. It was quite a frightening experience for me and I was quite thankful for the RFD's prompt and professional response.

So yes, we get 'em, and they can be big and bad, but they impact relatively few ape-lizards, don't make a lot of smoke, and don't victimize the professional victim class so they're rarely reported by the artists formerly known as reporters.


Ice cream!


Dotted Gayfeather, a favorite late-summer wildflower.

More of the same. It was very hot. My Dad's cairn is on the south side of the fence.


Evening in Kimball, August 27, 2020.

We're soldiering on. The youngest had been on a counting kick for several months; she delighted in being able to enumerate objects up to five. "One, two, free, four, five!" The last few days she's been counting "Mommie, Shaun, Gabe, Zeke, Evie." It's part of her little two year old grieving process. It's not even the tiniest bit different than mine. There's sorrow and joy, sadness and hope in that. We have a home filled with love while many do not. It's a blessing.

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Goldfish syndrome

Don't recall when or where I first came across the concept, but the core of the thing is that for the tiny-brained goldfish, every time it swims around the inside of its bowl it discovers an entirely new world.

Most days I wonder if I'm any smarter or more advanced than a goldfish.

I do know that I have a bad habit of convincing myself that I fully understand situations and solutions. Almost every single time I eventually find that I understood neither situation nor solution. I often get close, but little yet incredibly important details get missed or overlooked and adversely affect the solutions I try to implement. It can be a problem.

Fortunately for me nature and reality are excellent and infinitely patient instructors. If I do my part, however imperfectly, I have an ongoing stream of opportunities to learn and grow. Seems like learning and growing are an important part of livin'.


This morning is a struggle. For a couple of weeks my nights have featured a form of "sleep" which I've never experienced before. The last two nights I had something more akin to sleep, and I was certainly not conscious, but again it was something different. There was more unconscious time, which was almost certainly restorative, but this morning in particular it's a hard struggle to do even the simplest thing. I feel wrung out and exhausted and I'm not enjoying that. Irritable also, and I detest that feeling.

It is what it is, and I understand intellectually and even spiritually that it's all part of a process. In that sense it's okay, but it's still a struggle.


Yesterday morning was a beautiful morning.

It was a beautiful morning in town, complete with a red sun in a smoley sky.

It was a beautiful morning out in nature, out on the ranch.

I often try to express the beauty of the days here in this part of the world and sometimes I feel I'm being a bit tedious with that, constantly yabbering on about how beautiful things are.

I think there are several things going on inside me when I'm bubbling over with comments about the beauty I see and feel.

First and perhaps most obvious, this place does have inherent natural beauty. It's a complex grassland/prairie ecosystem and that's a beautiful thing in and of itself. It also exists in a particular geographical location across which weather and atmosphere are constantly moving, therefore the observable face of this shortgrass prairie site is ever changing. For the casual observer it might often look the same from day to day, but to the daily visitor it never looks the same. That feels beautiful to me also.

Less obvious, perhaps, is the beauty that fills my mind and heart and soul when I am present in that place. It's a special experience for me. I go there every day and have done so countless times over the long/short decades, across time and seasons. I've grown to feel the flow of seasons and years and they have become part of me. Ot I've become part of it.

Being a part of the ecosystem, along with the cattle and my labor/operations/management, lends a fullness and roundness to my life which is a huge blessing and for which I am ever grateful.

Yesterday I also got a great deal of physical labor type work done. I harvested steel posts and then I bent my efforts to repairing/maintaining fence. It was good work and I got a lot done so it was a very good day from that perspective.

In harvesting posts, and I think I've touched on this before, what I actually do is remove posts from still standing but disused and unneeded internal ranch fence lines.

In a way those fence lines are a form of storage for wood posts, steel posts, and even barbed wire. The fence lines probably appear to be untidy and improper, and in some ways they are. Yet in our "one-man-band" low input cost of operations, cleaning them up would represent time and effort we cannot afford to expend. At least not right now. And surprisingly, they do provide very good storage. In place they don't take up space elsewhere, they are pretty much out of the way, and nature does not tread too heavily on them. One downside is that when I want to use any of those materials, I have to go out and spend the time and energy to gather them. It's not a complete downside though because that time and energy contribute directly to my overall wellbeing. I get to spend productive time outside, walking in nature's beauty, and the labor is all exercise. So harvesting posts gives me a fitness boost, and emotional boost, a mental boost, and a spiritual boost. It's a win-win, even when (especially when) unanticipated challenges arise.

As far as yesterday's physical labor went, I worked very, very hard. It was hot and the air was filled with smoke. There was barely a touch of breeze. I got overheated and dehydrated, and as I've been paying scant (read zero) attention to proper diet of late I reached a profound state of exhaustion. It was a good thing in a way, but also vexing. I wanted to do more, and I demand more of myself than I can possibly give, so I was a bit cross at my physical weakness. I was also cross at myself for not attending better to my own physical needs. I'm flailing and that's a fact, but it's also part of the process. While I am making dumb mistakes -- and will continue to do so for the rest of my days -- I do also learn from my mistakes. Not always well, but over time I'm trending in the right direction.

At any rate, here's a bit of incoherent stream of consciousness springing directly from the low ebb of my physical/mental/emotional state. I hope it's not too awful to watch, but if it is, just click it off. I won't mind. If you soldier through, perhaps in some way it might even be helpful to someone, somewhere, sometime. That would be nice.


This morning, while I was stewing in my irritation and lethargy and deeply mired in feeling sorry for myself, God threw a beautiful miracle at me. As he always does. That I can see and appreciate such things is perhaps a sign of growth, perhaps a sign that someday I might even become a big kid.

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Update on the back

And other things...

Yesterday (August 23) evening on the ranch. I'd just finished several hours of fence work with many miles walked and was feeling good-tired and satisfied. I was pretty babbly and quite possibly incoherent. I've had a lot of that of late but it seems to be easing as I work through the process.

A bit later, in town, I paused to video the smokey-cloudy evening sky. I was interrupted by the oinkers and my own mushy brain. I was (and continue to be) quite vexed by all the people who believe all the tee-vee news all the time. Worst fires ever? Why is it that so very many people can't/won't recall last August, and the August before, and the August before? Why do so very many people let the tee-vee operate their brains?

Breakfast of Champions; an olio of leftover kids morning scrambled eggs and lunchtime spaghettios. Which I bolted down before embarking on fence work. Yummy! Seriously!

On August 4 I had targeted injections of steroid into the areas of my lumbar spine which are home to the root causes of the radiculopathy I've been dealing with for a long time.

The injections were quite extensive and it took a few days for the trauma of the needle to fade, but the steroids seem to have helped a lot. It's nothing like a complete cure so far, but the reduction in symptoms is very good indeed.

I was finally able to get back to exercising on Saturday. The last real exercise session I'd had was on August 1 when I took the Tactical Rifleman's Challenge and humped 51 pounds of rifle, ammo, and gear five miles over prairie. That was a grinding toil and doing the hike in an hour and fifteen minutes was very hard work. I had a lot of pain but was able to fight through it and recover to very little pain quickly. That was good exercise, a good, smashing workout for my whole body, and an indication that my body continues to make accomodations and keeps on trying to heal the nerve pain problem. I've done my part by losing a hell of a lot of weight, eating a proper and supportive diet, and keeping fit.

On Saturday (August 22) I did another five-miler, this time sans rifle and gear. In the course of the hike I ran steps and sprinted (for certain values of sprinted) Smokebong Hill 11 times. The hill is a progressive slope that gets very steep toward the top and is two-tenths of a mile. So 11 sprints up and 11 walks down. I've mentioned this before but it's probably worth repeating; running uphill spreads the impact forces over time and across bone and joint geometry and articulation. This seems to reduce the pounding to a non-traumatic level while properly stretching and working feet and legs, hips and pelvis, and the spine. All of this seems to be good and helps reduce radiculopathy. I took some video of the workout but my phone flipped all the images. Not important, but I did want to share the smokey vista and an audiovisual representation of my feats of prowess (ha!).

In addition, I've been working on fence each day since Friday and I've got no shortage of that to keep me well occupied. Working on fence is very therapeutic; physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I'm very fortunate indeed to be able to have such a productive and useful outlet.

Anything better than a candy bar?

She loves "chocat canny bar" and loves to wash her hands after. The face takes a bit of work, but she's really into washing those hands. Such precious moments. Livin' life is grand when you slow it down to savor the beautiful stuff.

On the topic of sweets, I developed the habit of baking cookies for Allie and the kids. I have a great recipe for oatmeal-cherry-chocolate chip. With both white and dark chips. Allie loved them and of course the kids would hoover up a whole batch at a time if allowed. The cookies never lasted long, so I frequently made more.

Several weeks ago I took the empty container to my other house which is where I always baked. Never found the time to move my baking stuff to the new house. Anyway, a couple of days later Allie asked me if I'd washed the container yet. I hadn't, and me and my dumb ass thought she was concerned about my shoddy bachelor cleaning habits. This morning I found out why she had asked. It was an exceptionally precious moment of discovery.

Five hearts. Allie, three kids, me.

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Midnight in the garden of dust and discovery


When my phone vibrated the ID was "Mom."

"Hello," I said.

The phone replied, "This is Deputy (insert alias) of the Sheriff's Department..."

Oh fuck, I thought in that instant. Perhaps you can imagine.

"Your Mom just handed me her phone..."

Thank God, I thought.

"There's a cow out in the stubble west of your pasture. She was up on the road when I got here..."

Thank you Father, I thought. I also thought "good man" regarding Deputy Alias. He passed on solid, useful information in language just right for the situation.

"Yes," I replied. Thoughts were spinning through my mind. I had good reason not to want to leave. Kids and family to consider. Other stuff to consider. Obligation and duty and honor.

"I was wondering if you could maybe come out and put her in."

"Yes," I replied.

"Okay, thanks," he said.

"Yes," I replied.


The air was smokey, close, dense, warm. As I drove through town toward Highway 71 and thence the ranch I continued to be disturbed as I'd been all day. Irritated, grumpy, out of sorts. Pure, textbook selfishness. It had a strong hold.

I prayed as I drove and it helped as it always does. The selfish me put up a strong battle. What is it about selfish me that so relishes being angry and feeling awful? Don't know, probably never will. It's just part of the complex mishmash of stuff that makes up Shaun.

Hold on as it might, selfish Shaun was losing the fight. The warm, dense, smokey air wafted through the windows and the soothing and familiar feel of the night enveloped me in a close embrace.

"Ride with me Sweetheart. I need you."

She was there.

I felt bad and guilty. The day had been so very long and stressful and I'd hardly thought of her at all. Just the kids and family and navigating the treacherous rocks and shoals of the moment. Moment after moment after moment through an endless day.

"It wasn't a completely yucky day." That thought, certainly not from selfish Shaun and perhaps even externally generated, echoed around the empty cavern of my brain housing group. I smiled. Little ones. Big one coming home from school with a huge smile and news of a day he relished. Shared support, smiles and jokes and laughter, each of us fighting our own selfish demons, fighting through the hurt and anger and irritation.

Fuck no, not yucky. Hard, but not yucky. Hard, but beautiful.

I smiled.


Out in the country the night was dark as the inside of a cow. Heh-heh. That comes not from me, but from naval aviation. Smile. Thanks to Deputy Alias I knew where to go and I easily found the cow. She was north of the county road in a stubble field. She was owly and agitated.

To get her back in I needed to pull staples from a post, push the four barbed wire strands down and nail them low on the post, thereby creating a place where she could step across.

I also needed to keep the situation as low-stress as possible for the cow. She was out looking for her baby, which having been weaned two days previously was not anywhere she could find. But she didn't know that. Then in the midst of her search she'd been bothered by Deputy Alias and his noisy, flashy, unfamiliar patrol pickup. So she'd run away into the stubble field. Her urge was to rejoin the herd, but she was on the wrong side of the fence. And that's why I lowered wires, so she could get back to where she wanted and needed to be.

Before I lowered the wires, in fact just as soon as I espied the cow and triangulated our location, my plan had been to drive her farther north to a place with a gate. Easier for me to open a gate than to fumble with staples and wires in the dark of night. But before I could initiate my brute force plan a calming and more sane thought came to me. The cow is already agitated. Slow down. Be calm. Think of the cow, whose wellbeing is your responsibility. Lower the wires. Do it right.

I doused headlights, got out, and began to pull staples by feel in the darkness of the night. The wires and staples were on the east side of the post, I was on the west. No problem, just a slight challenge. Just reach through the wires. Just do it right.

Staples out, I stepped the wire down and prepared to essay the tricky task of nailing them in place low down, nearly at ground level, where the cow could easily step across them. I would then gently coax her to the right location, using all my low-stress cattle handling skills. She would cross back into the pasture and we'd be done.

But as I stepped the wires down and prepared to nail them in place the cow approached, looked at me, snuffled me and snuffled the low wires, then stepped across into the pasture.

Two things occurred to me. Firstly, it was completely out of character for me to abandon my initial plan of driving the cow a few hundred yards and through a gate. Perfectly good and workable plan and in many ways easier for me. But I chose a different approach, one that placed a bit more emphasis on treating the cow as a living creature to be assisted rather than as a problem to be solved. I placed less emphasis on my own ease and comfort. That's just slightly (completely!) out of character for me.

The second thing was this. It felt very much like Allie was there to help both of us, cow and rancher. How had the cow gone from agitated to calm? I have been doing this stuff for decades and I've never seen such a thing happen. I felt pleased and surprised and happy and reassured, and I felt very strongly that Allie was helping me and helping the cow. Such an Allie thing to do.

Got no idea how this "contact with the departed" stuff works or could possibly work. I know intellectually that it could simply be my hurting brain and soul telling soothing stories. Doesn't feel like that though.

There's a difference between faith and knowledge. I have faith in God and I have faith that Allie walks with me.


This morning.




Life, livin'...

I exercised. Shot some videos. They sucked. Good workout.

Now it's time to get back to stuff.

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Today-ish. New title and edited.

Got interrupted and posted this before it was ready. I added the Grace is Gone video.

Here is a lament. Dave Matthews Band live. It's a brilliant performance.

For me it perfectly captures the sense of being utterly smashed and crushed. Smashed and crushed is a real thing. When it happens, it cannot be avoided, no matter how hard you try.

The lyric is haunting.

"Grace Is Gone"
Dave Matthews Band

Neon shines through smoky eyes tonight
It's 2 am - I'm drunk again it's heavy on my mind
I could never love again so much as I love you
Where you end where I begin is like a river going through
Take my eyes take my heart I need them no more
If never again they fall upon the one I so adore

Excuse me please one more drink
Could you make it strong cause I don't need to think
She broke my heart my Grace is gone
One more drink and I'll move on

One drink to remember then another to forget
How could I ever dream to find sweet love like you again
One drink to remember and another to forget

Excuse me please one more drink
Could you make it strong cause I don't need to think
She broke my heart my Grace is gone
One more drink and I'll move on
One more drink and I'll be gone

You think of things impossible and the sun refuse to shine
I woke with you beside me your cold hand lay in mine

Excuse me please one more drink
Could you make it strong cause I don't need to think
She broke my heart my Grace is gone
One more drink and I'll go

Excuse me please one more drink
Could you make it strong cause I don't need to think
She broke my heart my Grace is gone
One more drink and I'll move on
One more drink and I'll be gone
One more drink my Grace is gone

Smashed and crushed isn't the only thing though. It's not all you have, it's not all you get, or at least not the only thing you can get. Check back with the DMB songs in my previous posts. You can get "Oh," you can get "Everyday." You can get more than you can imagine, and so much more than you're afraid you'll have to settle for.


Today I'm a bit grumpy and growly inside. I have irritation and temper grumbling around in me.

Today also there are some external pressures impacting us, and they are the kind of pressures which are out of our control.

The kids are cycling through sadness and anger and fun play and happiness and naps. It's exactly what they are supposed to be doing.
"Bye, I'm goin' to the store!"


We grownups are doing the same thing, and we also are doing exactly what we are supposed to be doing.

Several of you kind readers have rightly cautioned that the members of our family are not identical; that we each have strengths and weaknesses. I think what we're supposed to be doing is leaning on each others strengths and helping each other struggle with our weaknesses.

In my case for certain I must rely on God to do for me that which I cannot do for myself. I believe this is so for every other ape-lizard on the planet, but whether this is or is not so is far above my pay grade.

God is clearly showing me where and how I should be sharing my strength and love. Today it's a tough thing to do because I am beset with fear and anger and selfishness. It's tough, but it's not too tough. It sucks, but it does not suck too much. This is so because I am constantly asking God to show me his will for me and to give me the strength to carry it out. And God is doing this for me. He has not forsaken me.

In asking to be directed and strengthened, I am immediately removed from self and can bring all of my own strengths and abilities to bear on helping and loving. It's an enormous boon.

Some of this stuff is hard to write about and it would be so easy to just not do it. I have lots of perfectly good excuses, right? And they are perfectly good and acceptable. They were valid when my Dad died, right?

There's a difference today. I am not the Shaun of a year ago. God and Allie made it possible for me to grow into a different man. The wonder and joy of this new thing carries with it new responsibilities. Among those is the responsibility to try to share my experience, strength, and hope. In this way I just might be able to help those reading these words.

In a nutshell, I would suggest that what has worked for me -- what continues to work for me -- is to trust God, live, and love.


And Kipling's "If" is never a bad thing to read and consider.

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!


Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Golden moments

The littlest was inconsolable this morning. Her world is different and she doesn't want it to be different. It's hard for her to work through this stuff. But she's working through it. Temper tantrums and hitting and scratching and biting. But when the fear and rage have come out she turns instantly loving and clinging, then smiling and impish, then off to the races of being a two year old.

She sat quietly on my lap for an endless and instantaneous 15 minutes while we watched our songs. She loves "Everyday" and "Send Me On My Way" and this morning she loved and was fascinated by "Ants Marching" live. What a performance!

You'll probably see this one a lot here...

Love this one and so do the littles. "It's the song from 'Tilda!"

So amazing, so amazing. I'm intensely goofy and emotional but I think that's okay. It feels right.

These golden moments are the most precious things I have ever experienced. I am so, so, very, very, blessed. This home is so filled with love. It picks us up everyday. It's what we needed, what we wanted, what we have.

You kind readers are part of our family and we love you all.

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Tears, talismans, trails

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

H. Jackson Brown Jr., P.S. I Love You


Tough night again last night and a tough beginning to the morning. I'm finding that sometimes I can divert myself from grief and sometimes I cannot.

While feeding the dogs at my other house this morning I found myself wailing and crying bitter tears.

This was rather a surprise, for I have never cried like that before.

It was cleansing and let the bad out. I felt better afterwards.

Probably the way it's supposed to work.


I don't believe in talismans, I told myself. All I need or want from Allie already exists in my heart.

Yet I have an elastic "pony" on my wrist. I have a letter. I have other things too.

The stuff in my heart is more important. But the talismans are important too. They do indeed have magical power.


At the ranch I paused to let a fence-crawlin' cow back in and reflect on the most natural cowgirl I ever met.

The windmill spinning against blue sky and sunshine was beautiful.

The windmill makes water. Beautiful.


Wildflowers. They are part of the prairie ecosystem. An important part.

Allie understood, in a way many experts do not or cannot, that the prairie is a synergistic and homeostatic system. There must be a balance of grasses, sedges, forbs, shrubs. And fauna to balance the flora. The wildflowers are beautiful and she loved them all, even the weedy ones. She loved the grasses and the sedges and the shrubs. She loved the wild fauna and she loved the cattle. She loved the colorful lichens adorning former seabed rocks.


This morning it had been far, far too long since my last workout. Back injections on August 4, recovery from that, then the horror. Too long. This morning it was time.

My path took me along a path taken not so long ago.

Then it was time to pound the legs, heart, lungs, and mind.

I'm afraid I got crazy. Hope you don't mind too much. It's kind of cringy on video but it felt right in the moment.

Crazier still. Firetrucking dove eggs. She directed my steps to that place though, so, I mean, how can I not post it up?

A while back she commented on a post here. "Nature sure is fuckin beautiful isn't it Shaun... Can't wait to see more of it with you."

We're seeing it, aren't we?


Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

What to my wondering eyes should appear, but an old fat sailor and a mini Mule Deer!

With corrals set I took a glance at the cows.

This evening it rained.

And a little one practiced to be an orthopaedic surgeon. She'll be a good one!


I don't understand how this smart, witty, vivacious, courageous, powerful, strong, giving, caring, loving, extraordinarily beautiful woman fell in love with me. I was there when it happened, but I still don't get it. I'm so blessed.

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.