Friday, January 18, 2019

Good Ride In The Winter

Every November Sean used to ask me what I wanted for Christmas.
Every year I would tell him that I wanted bike gloves.
Bicycle gloves.
Full fingered gloves - always.
Insulated or not.
But bike gloves.
He used to roll his eyes, shake his head, implore me to tell him something other than gloves, but gloves were what I always needed.
I was rough on them.
And so every Christmas I would open a package from my oldest boy and find a pair of gloves.
The ones above are the last pair he ever bought me.
Pearl Izumi, full fingered gloves, insulated for cold weather bike riding................

I snapped these pictures last weekend during a bike ride down by Buffalo Bill Reservoir...................
When we first moved out the South Fork the large metal building on the property was full.
Full of boxes and tools and other endless things that belonged in a garage, a yard, a house.
It was a mess.
Filled with all the things we hurriedly crammed into two storage units in Idaho in the fall of 2017.
Somehow my bike got buried deep in the back of the metal building and it took months before we finally were able to dig it out.
In the meantime I hiked and worked out on my spin bike, patiently waiting for my Gary Fisher to escape the crammed confines of our metal building.
Recently (and finally) it saw the light of day.
I didn't bike far. 
It was sunny but also very cold, and so I headed from the house down to the lake (about two miles), picked up a narrow and winding trail that took me from one public entrance to the lake to the second, and then biked another couple of miles home.
It was only a short ride.
 But it was a good ride......................
A good ride in the winter is something you quietly put adjacent to your heart; an unspoken victory filed away for times of weakness and need, to be pulled out when you require a reminder of what you are capable of................Tom Babin, Frostbike: The Joy, Pain and Numbness of Winter Cycling

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Walking The Canal Trails

We've been having small snowfalls regularly since August.
It has snowed at least once every couple of weeks since the end of summer.
Sometimes small snowfalls.
Sometimes big snowfalls.
And every time it has quickly melted away.
As I write this close to mid-January, we have no snow on the ground again.
The day I snapped these pictures (sometime in early December) there was still a good deal left, and I walked in town with Kory while LC was at what I knew would be a lengthy doctor's appointment.
We made our way through the snowy and icy sidewalks for a half mile before picking up the Canal Trail................
The Canal Trail is a actually a series of trails that once followed a canal that ran through the town of Cody.
There is no downtown canal now, but the short trail system is still a wonderful and private place to walk in the center of town.
Eventually all trails lead up the hill to the expansive complex that houses the arena, the rec center and the library.
Kory and I walked this trail often last winter, when we were still living in a tiny off-season cottage downtown, when we were still looking for a house to buy, still wondering if we would end up in Cody or some other surrounding town, and still trying to get our feet underneath us after having sold our home in Idaho and moving back to Wyoming to start our life all over again................
In the summer these trails are wide open green spaces filled with walking people walking their walking dogs.
In the winter the trails are frozen and empty spaces ripe for a woman and dog to enjoy alone....................
Climbing higher and looking out over the surrounding hills and mountains................
Along the trails there are multiple information boards.
Information, photographs and maps speaking to the history of the downtown area and the old canal system....................
Reaching the top of the Canal Trail, Kory and i found this.
Leave a book.  Take a book.
No names.  No paperwork.  No log in or log out record.
Just a small thing that appears to be working.
I took a book from here last winter.
And then returned it when I was done, along with another book.
Locals appear to enjoy having this option.................
The arena and adjoining recreation center, across the icy parking lot from where Kory and I stood.
Instead of walking across the ice, we stayed on the snow covered grass, followed along the outer edge of the parking lot and made our way across to the library complex......................
One of my favorite places to walk in town in the summer.
The library is a beautiful building completely surrounded by a man-made lake, small waterfalls, endless green space, picnic tables and wonderful landscaping.
It overlooks Heart Mountain, Cedar Mountain and Rattlesnake Mountain.
You would never guess that a major shopping complex was only two minutes away......................
In winter the lake is drained of course, and at this time of year the green space transitions into a wall of whiteness.
The trails are silent.
The trees are bare.
The place is still beautiful to walk................
Condos at the edge of the Canal Trail.
McCullough Peaks in the background.
When we were still at the cottage we did not discount any possibilities in terms of a permanent place to live.
Looking back now, it is difficult to believe that we even considered condos as a housing option.
But only briefly......................
Snowy Heart Mountain..................
Cedar on the left and Rattlesnake Mountain on the right................
Kory and I slowly wandered the snow-covered perimeter of the library, wandered back across the rec center parking lot and picked up the Canal Trail system again, heading back down to the main level of town.
One more information board found during the walk down..............
Once we arrived back at the main level of Cody my sweet dog and I slowly made our way back the way we had come.
There was no rush.
Although we had been walking for about 90 minutes LC had not called me, so I knew that he was still in with the doctor.
Routine, but time consuming things, and Kory and I headed in the direction of the doctors' office.
A bright red house seen along the way.
I have always loved this house.
Always loved the bold color choice, the historic lines, the large banks of windows, the mature trees.  All of it.
It was a good walk.
A quiet walk on a snowy and cold December day in places that both Kory and I knew well......................

All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.............Friedrich Nietzsche, Twighlight of the Idols

Monday, December 31, 2018

Too Much

He was laying on his back on the carpeted floor in the bedroom.
I was kneeling beside him.
His eyes were closed.
He was fully dressed but I could see through his clothes.  Through his chest.
And I watched his lungs expand and contract.
Watched the blood flow through each chamber of his heart.
Watched his heart beating strong and regular.
Heard his breathe.   Strong and regular.
Inhale.  Exhale.  Heart beating.  
And then everything began to slow down.
His breathing slowed.
His heart slowed and I continued to kneel beside him, watching it happen.
It beat slower.  And slower.  And slower.
Face unchanged, I calmly whispered his name.
Slower.  And slower.  And slower.
I slowly and calmly extended my hands and reached for his shoulders to shake him awake.
My hands slipped through his body and hit the floor as though he was not even there..
I tried again.
My hands slipped through his body.
I tried again.
My hands slipped through his body.
Slower.  And slower.  And slower.
And then it stopped.
I watched it stop beating.
I watched as his heart stopped beating.
I whispered his name.
But he was gone.
He was gone forever.
I knelt beside him and calmly watched his face.
He was gone.
And then I woke up..........................

Yesterday was his birthday.
He would have been 35.
If he had lived.
If he was alive.
If he had not died.
If he was not dead.
But he didn't.  
He's not.
He did.
He is.

I love you Baby.
I tried hard not to think of you yesterday.
I tried very hard.
Because it hurts and after six and a half years it still hurts.
Too much.
Too much.
It hurts too godamned fucking much...........................

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Early Christmas Present

Buffalo Bill Center of the West is a world class museum located in Cody.
A small town with less than 10,000 people.
A town that receives almost a million tourists a year.
Early in December each year the museum holds a free open house for the public.
There are few if any tourists around at that time of year but the open house is always packed.
A Christmas gift to the locals.
The museum during the open house is always covered with huge trees and endless Christmas decorations, Santa is there to listen to young visitors, there is free hot chocolate and cookies made by museum volunteers, and of course every part of the museum is open to the public.
The first year we went to the open house we spent three hours in the gun museum alone.
Imagine one museum featuring every gun ever made, by every country that ever made a gun, and by every manufacturer that ever manufactured a gun.
The gun museum is huge and interesting and overwhelming and one of a handful of museums under one roof.
There is also a museum dedicated to Bill Cody, one dedicated to western art, one focusing on plains Indians, another on western plant and animal life, a raptor rehab center, endless bronze statuary on the grounds outside and more.
A very special place...................
I was supposed to meet LC at the huge Christmas tree in the front lobby of the museum at 2pm right after my store closed.
At 2pm I called him to tell him that someone had just walked in the door and I would be late.
"I'll call you when I'm on the way".
Five minutes later someone else walked in.
And then someone else.
By the time I finally arrived at the museum it was 3:15 and we were eager and ready to wander.
On one hand I was sorry to be late because free entry to the museum only happens once a year.  But my other hand was gleeful, satisfied, excited that my business was doing well.
It IS doing well.......................

Surprisingly most of the gun museum was closed to the public.
After seeing this extraordinary place the year before we were disappointed that it was closed - but it is being renovated and will reopen again next summer.
Cannot wait to see what they have done with it.....................
The center closed at 5pm, and after a quick snack of hot chocolate and a handful of tasty cookies, we decided to go to a museum that we had not visited before.
The Natural History Museum.................

The visit was fast and furious and wonderful as we both wandered too quickly through a huge maze of animals small and large, and endless billboards and videos describing western plant life also small and large.
By the time we were done it was 20 minutes before closing.
After quickly wandering through the gift store LC had an idea.
We stopped at the desk outside the gift store and asked.
And were surprised to learn that it was only $100 for both of us, for an annual pass to the museum.
Our early Christmas present to each other.
As we walked out of the museum we talked excitedly about all of the times we could visit the museum at our leisure over the coming year.
Of how quiet the museum would be through the winter.
How many special events, lectures and demonstrations we could experience during the busy summer season.
We have already visited twice more since purchasing the annual pass..............

Random picture of an outstandingly interesting wall downtown Cody (in an alleyway across from the Irma Hotel).....................