Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sun, Oct. 28, 2007: One Tree

((Present Day: I love this little blog for its shortness, sweetness, and the turning point for me that it represented. As I mentioned in my very first post on this page, I originally planned to move to Colorado for a relationship I was in with a guy I met online. It ended up not working out right before I moved, but my momentum was already carrying me with such power towards the West that I'm not sure what would have happened to me had I tried to resist it. I spent the first few months of my life out here weighted down by a very deep depression, and looking back on this beautiful day shows me what a turning point it was for me. The bands around my chest and the depression finally released me; I was finally ready to just let go and be.))

* * * *

Since I arrived in Colorado, I've been yearning for a place where I could sit outside and feel safe and just deflate. Today I found it. I folded myself into the thick, tangled roots of a tall pine tree overlooking a meadow and leaned back onto the trunk of the tree, letting my mind wander. Time meant nothing more than watching the shadow of the tree overcome the grass stalks in its wake, while others behind it were released into the sunlight.

I spent some time thinking about my Saturn return, the freedoms that I exercise, and the restrictions with which I bind myself. I thought of these things until a woman walked off the trail and stood with her dog near where I was sitting. She practiced the commands "go" and "come" with the dog, and as it leaped through the dry, yellow grass I closed my eyes and listened. The crunching stalks sounded like the rustle of tissue paper. I heard her children talking and laughing on the path beyond the tree. And I smiled, because I finally deflated, and now I get to choose what I wish to fill myself back up with.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sat, Oct. 27, 2007: My Two Middle Fingers

((Present Day: I talk about my Saturn return again in this blog... once again it's not really Saturn but Pluto that's influencing my life and has been since December 2006. I want to post more about this... see next post. :)

I'm still considering the second tattoo on my right shoulder too, which is funny looking back on this because I'm getting closer to doing it. The fact that I've had the idea for a year already and still like it is a good sign. I'm picturing 2 blue birds, flying upwards and away from me into the sky because it is free and beautiful.))

* * * *

Lately I have been proffering my two middle fingers with great satisfaction: one for the very painful life circumstances which lead to my move to Colorado, the second for Saturn and his return. And if this isn't his return, I'm going to need a 3rd for when it actually arrives. The circumstances of my move belong to my left finger, and Saturn to my right.

I realize it's not exactly a testament to the great insight I have gained as a result of my move to be throwing my fingers around whenever I get a chance (and honestly, what insight is that? Don't date someone who lives across the country? It's expensive to live on your own? I mean, not rocket science here folks...). That all means nothing to me when the glimmer of a smile comes into my eyes and the rest of my fingers fold inward toward my palm, my middle finger directed at whatever it is that offended me. Always objects, never people (and no, I don't do this in public or in my car where someone'll think it's directed at them). Sometimes it feels really good to send out an old fashioned "F YOU!" thought package toward the appropriate party.

I'm sad tonight, having already messed things up with a guy I've gone out with a few times. (A friend said not to date the first guy I met, but I didn't... he was like the 3rd who expressed interest in me...). I figured it would be fun and why not, right? Wrong. I used to be really proud of being a Gemini-Cancer, I like to think that I was born on my birthday on purpose so that I could be a Solstice baby. I recently learned, however, that Gemini-Cancer's "raison d'etre" is to find love. It is what we are wired for. Greeeat, because I'm obviously really good at this.

So I have decided to reassign my two middle fingers. Forget about what happened to bring me out here; it's done and in the past. Forget about Saturn; he's going to keep screwing with my life whether I like it or not so I'd better learn to just deal. Now I have a special new use for them: dating!

I think I'd like to take my left one for myself, to remind myself of the lessons that I've learned and those that I know I have yet to learn. Flashing it in my face will likely provide a glimpse of the bright 16-ray sun tattoo on my wrist, my permanent reminder to myself that life is beautiful, that energy is everywhere in nature, and that all I have to do is connect with that to feel electrified. My other finger, wrist unadorned, I will offer to dating. Not to specific members of the less fair sex (unless he is especially deserving...) because we are all human, living in our own versions of reality. But to dating, the greater collective concept. (Umm... to be honest, one for the guy too but only in my head, the reason being that he neglected to see my awesomeness shining through). The idea of taking someone out for a test drive... my heart isn't wired for that. Obviously people need to be taken out for a test drive, otherwise you'd just give someone a once-over and propose or dismiss him. But dating just doesn't fit with me, the whole square peg in a round hole thing.

To those men who are just not a good fit for me, all I have is a wry smile and a shoulder shrug. I'm thinking of getting a tattoo on my right shoulder, so perhaps I'll have a pretty picture to give you too.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Weds, Oct 17 to Sat, Oct 20, 2007: The Grand Tetons

((Present Day: Looking back on this blog breaks my heart a little. Most of the time, I am perfectly content wandering around on my own, taking in the world one small piece at a time. Traveling long distances in my own company often brings me peace and contentment and at times, if I'm lucky, a bit of insight into myself, others, and the world. This trip was different in that I spent most of it actively longing to share my time with someone else. Perhaps it was the stunning beauty of the landscape, or the glowing lights of downtown Jackson reflecting from lightly falling snowflakes, but something about the experience made me crave the presence of someone special.

As is my style, I didn't write about those sorts of things at the time, but looking back I can't ignore such an important piece that I left out of my words. Thinking about it right now kind of makes me want to cry, so I'm going to let it be what it is for now. Though I was saddened by my longing to share my trip, I wouldn't trade the experience for anything in the world. These 4 days were an important part of shaping the changes that I have gone through since moving out here, and have become part of who I am. I love this place and time for what it was: beautiful and moving, powerful and raw, insightful and surprising.))

* * * *

"Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it, like my heart is going to cave in." - American Beauty

I think for this blog I'm going to talk less and show pictures more (maybe...). While I was on my trip, I spent a lot of time writing about things that I am going through, things I am learning, things I am thinking about.... I think that I'm sort of "written out" about this trip. :)

My school was on fall break this week, so I headed to the Grand Tetons! I checked out the weather before I booked my trip and it looked like it was going to be snowy which, although I generally dislike being cold, didn't seem to bother me much. I packed like I was heading to Alaska and was on my way.

Day 1: October 17th:

I don't understand why people say that Wyoming is boring - I can't speak to the eastern half of the state, but the western half is so, so beautiful. I love the land because it surprises you at every turn and the crest of every hill. It has dimensions and layers the likes of which I have never seen before in my life. The irony of me being told that Wyoming is boring is that the people who tell me this are from Colorado. I have to say that eastern Colorado is hands-down the most uninteresting thing that I have seen in my life, surpassing even a blank white wall. I think that I like Wyoming because it reminds me of me - it's never what it seems and there's so much more to it than what you can see with a glance.

Here is some of Wyoming on my drive to Jackson:This is called the Table Butte (I think it's the little random one sticking up by itself):I turned up 191 and headed right into a snowstorm, which was neat but also sad since it blocked out the scenery. The clouds looked thick and I had no idea when they would end; they disappeared far sooner than I'd expected and I was given a breathtaking view of the mountains (which are hard to see in this picture since they blend in with the clouds):When I arrived in Jackson, I took a short drive into the park to see if I could catch an evening glimpse of the Tetons. There were thick gray clouds surrounding the valley through which I drove, blocking out my view. I headed back to wander around town for a while, hoping that the next day would prove to be more scenic.

Day 2: October 18th:

Today was partly cloudy, and the mountains coyly shrugged their shoulders into the veil of clouds preventing me from seeing them for what they were. They looked much more interesting in real life than they do in my pictures; I could see their outlines through the clouds and they slowly faded as they rose from the earth. I think most of my pictures make it look as if the view of the peaks cuts off where the clouds begin.

Here are some of my first beautiful views of the mountains:Although the leaves had fallen from most of the aspen and cottonwood trees, there were still plenty of beautiful fall colors to see:I headed up to Yellowstone and was greeted by the sight of thick white smoke rising up from the trees as I entered the park. I wondered if it was a forest fire, until I realized that it was probably a geiser or hot spring.

There was a family from Colorado stopped at one of the same turnoffs as me, taking pictures of this river. One of the daughters said to me, "This is such a big river!" I smiled on the inside and the outside, because compared to the rivers in Colorado this one really was huge! Compared to the rivers in Connecticut though, this one was very small. Of course, I had to see Old Faithful. It was really cold in Yellowstone, luckily I only had to wait about 5 minutes for it to erupt:This place is called the Black Sand Flats and is near Old Faithful. It was this weird mess of hot poisonous water pools and dead trees:Here is some exotic Yellowstone wildlife hanging out in the Black Sand Flats:I have no idea what this area is called, but it's near the big lake in the southern part of the park. It's another cluster of steamy vibrantly-colored pools.I drove around the lake, which boasted a view of snow-capped mountains all along its perimeter. I reached a road that headed down toward the water and took it, driving all the way into... a herd of buffalo. It was so cool! There were old ones and babies and everything in between, barely looking up at the sound of my car. It was amazing to be so close to them and I sat for a while just watching them wander around.Here is a view of the mountains around the lake:Driving back toward the Grand Tetons from the north, I probably had my best views of them all day. ((and quite possibly the best picture I've ever taken...))
On my way back to Jackson, I saw a beautiful elk grazing in a field by himself:I saw a ton of neat wildlife on this day: buffalo and elk herds, trumpeter swans, some flock of birds that looked like loons, exotic black crows, a coyote, an eagle... and I think that's all.

Day 3: October 19th:

This morning I got up early to see if I could catch the sunrise. A consultation with informed me that it was probably snowing, but I figured I'd give it a shot anyways.

When I reached the mountains, I learned that it was indeed snowing and the visibility was terrible. I turned around and headed back toward Jackson and met a herd of Elk crossing the road:Deciding that the mountains were a lost cause today, I took a drive into Idaho instead! It was so beautiful...

Day 4: October 20th:

I had to leave today, and I really didn't want to go. This place is so beautiful and it felt so good to be there. I woke up and it was drizzling in Jackson, which meant it was snowing in the mountains:I figured I'd take a different route home than the one I'd used to arrive. Please note that the road heading east out of the park toward Dubois goes over the mountains and is very difficult to navigate during a big snow storm. Let's just say I was very relieved to make it out alive.

This picture was taken near Dubois, and made me sad to think of the mountains that were surrounding the area that I couldn't see since they were buried in the clouds:I'd love to go to this area again, and when I do I'm going to take this route in. The mountains were folding so beautifully behind me, I can only imagine how they would look unfolding before me.

I drove through the Wind River Indian Reservation, which had some very neat land formations:I had a slight glimpse of the toes of the mountains sticking out from the clouds, their blue-black slopes dotted with patches of snow.I want to see it all in the sun! My trip was beautiful as it was, but I'd definately like to see the mountains when they're not hiding from me. :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tues, Oct. 16, 2007: Musings

A friend once commented to me that I need to get away from guys who "hide" me. I don't know how she knew that. I never knew that, but I've been thinking about it lately and it's so true. What is it about me that makes guys want to hide me? The fangs? Green skin? So superficial.

I was talking to one of my friends from high school about it last night while we were watching the Rockies game. I asked her if it's normal to never meet the friends of the guy you are dating. She looked at me like I had 2 heads before saying no. So now I know I'm not crazy. She said that her boyfriend invites her to go out with him and his friends all the time - so cool!

I think half the issue is that I've never spent much time talking to people before about the guys I've dated and the things they do and the way they treat me. I think that if I did, many relationships would have been cut off before they could do their damage.

I don't understand why finding love is so easy for some people, and so hard for others (like me). What is it about people that makes this the way of things? Am I missing out on some important piece of information here? Someone please fill me in!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mon, Oct. 15, 2007: So this one time at this bar...

... I was watching a Rockies game. On purpose. As in, I called my friend and said, "Hey, want to watch the Rockies game with me?" As I sat in the middle of a drunken cheering crowd, I was struck by the realization that it's really fun to watch sports with a group of excited people. Then I asked myself, "Who are you, and what have you done with Kristine?"

When I was a kid, I used to love watching sports with my father. Football was my favorite. I remember that the 49ers were my favorite team. My dad would drink a beer and usually fall asleep, and I would sit and watch the entire game and then fill him in when he woke up.

Everyone in the bar started cheering when they won, and as we headed outside we could hear fireworks being set off somewhere nearby. I'm still hoping that Boston will win so they end up playing the Rockies.

On a more sober note, when we were walking to the bar we heard a woman screaming about a block in front of us and saw a man run away with something trailing from his hands. I started grinning because I thought that 2 friends were having fun playing games with each other. Then my friend said "Um... did that guy just steal her purse?" By the time we reached the woman who had been robbed she was surrounded by like 5 people and they were already calling the police. She told us that she was ok and we headed down to the bar, but we were both weirded out. The city gives me somewhat of a sense of security, having people around you all the time. You'd never think that someone would do something like that with so many people around, at least I didn't.

We saw her at the bar shortly after we arrived and she was talking to her group of friends and seemed ok, or was at least putting on a good face. I realized that what happened to her could have easily happened to me - about 5 minutes before I'd been standing on the same corner where it happened, on my phone asking my friend which intersection she lives on for the 100th time.

One of my favorite things about this whole move is the way it's shaken me out of my habits and patterns. It's like someone took a cup full of gemstones that had been swirling around inside and dumped them onto a table. And now I can look at them and say, "I don't want that in my life, let's work on that" and "Hey I never did much with this one, I should try and see what it's like". I'm learning so much weird stuff about myself that I'm almost afraid of what I'm going to learn next.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of my Fall Break. I was thinking I'd like to go to California to see the ocean and drive through the redwoods, but the thought of being away for that long kind of made me sad - which is awesome, because I believe the sadness came from the realization that I would miss everyone here if I was gone that long. I'm thinking now that I might take a trip up to the Tetons. Who knows. It would still be nice to have someone to travel with, but I like road trips and adventures so much that they're good even alone. :)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sun, Oct. 14, 2007: Evergreen and Morrison

This morning I woke up to a cold, rainy day in Denver and asked myself, "What *exactly* is wrong with you that you have been missing fall in New England?" I've been so busy thinking about the leaves and apples and smells of fall that I forgot about the worst part - those cold, rainy days when it's not cold enough to turn on the heat or start a fire so you never really get warm. I used to think that my parents were really bad about not turning on the heat, but when I came home from my drive today I discovered that it is 54 degrees upstairs (where my room is). 54 degrees is not an acceptable house temperature! I'm sitting closed in my small bedroom with my space heater on full blast - a purchase that I made after discovering my landlady's reluctance to spend money on anything, including heat.

I went for a drive through the Evergreen area which has become my random short road trip place I think. It's easy to access and reminds me of northern New England, Vermont specifically. As I drove into the hills, the rain turned into snow and the resemblance to Vermont was strengthened. I passed a house that I was told is called the Jetsons' house. Like many of the homes in the hills outside of Denver, it has a lovely view of the mountains traversed by I-70. After crossing through the Evergreen area, I reached a town called Conifer which has a beautiful lake near its center. By this time the snow had abated somewhat and I walked around the area enjoying the sight of yellow leaves against the snow.As I was walking around, I heard the screech of a hawk (or maybe an eagle... I have no idea what those sound like) and turned to find it sitting in a tree eyeing me. I'm not sure if it thought I looked delicious or was annoyed by me, probably the latter. The mountains were very foggy and half-engulfed by clouds on my drive back down into the plains. I think that's part of what made it feel like Vermont - because the clouds were blocking out the larger mountain peaks, I could only see the round foothills that were closest to me.Not wanting to head home, I turned off towards Morrison and stopped by a park with an amazing view of Red Rocks. The dark colored speck just to the left of the rock formations is a lark bunting, the state bird of Colorado.My last picture of the day was taken facing east-ish towards Denver and the sprawl I love so much... and by "love" I mean "dislike". I like this picture because it shows what I have been talking about with regards to housing out here - all these houses are packed so tightly together and then all of a sudden it just ends and there's nothing but open space.So strange! While having a cold and rainy day has been an interesting change of pace, it makes me realize how nice the dry, sunny weather really is. Today was a wake-up call for me, rousing me from my nostalgic New England daydreams and reminding me how much I dislike being cold and wet!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thurs, Oct. 11, 2007: Pumpkin Party!

Last night two friends from my hometown and I got together to have a pumpkin carving party! Although our hostess declared that she didn't miss fall in New England and was enjoying it out here, she still volunteered to have the two of us over to make a disaster out of her kitchen.

Here are our pumpkins! Mine is the one in the middle with the ghosts coming out of the cauldron:

Being an adult is weird. Or maybe it's weirder that I'm 27 and don't think of myself as an adult. It was funny having dinner together and then doing something goofy like carving pumpkins. :)

I really love my friends from my hometown. If any of you are reading this, I'm so glad that I was able to grow up with you. Was there something in the water that made everyone into awesome people?

My school is on Fall Break next week, I'm really hoping to be inspired by somewhere on the map so I can take advantage of my string of work-free days. Can someone in New England say hi to beautiful fiery sugar maples for me?

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Sat, Oct. 6, 2007: Octoberfest and the Denver Zoo

Last night I went to the Octoberfest with one of my roommates and some of his friends. It was a giant beer festival that was held on Larimer Street and consisted of 2 giant stages, a ton of booths, a mechanical bull, and a ton of really rowdy people. It took place in the middle of the road which was really strange... the traffic lights kept changing even though no traffic was allowed through, and a couple of times I caught myself wanting to stop when the red light came on.

The most notable part of the night for me was when the group of us were dancing in the street to the music coming from the bar we were approaching. As soon as we arrived in front of the bar,with no communication at all, the group of us simultaneously stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and started dancing (to give you some idea of the effect of this, there were like 12 of us). The people on the patio of the bar caught on to our dance party and started dancing with us. I have never, ever had such a random music video moment in my life - it couldn't have been better if we had planned it.

Today I went to the Denver Zoo, because it was free for employees at my school! One of my co-workers and I met up and wandered around together. It was a pretty neat zoo, and I saw some animals that I've never seen before. The strangest thing about it was the sight of apartment and office buildings in the background as I was looking at these exotic animals. Here are some that I saw!

The funniest part of the day involved the birds. We went to this large caged-in area that you could enter to see some tropical birds. I told my co-worker, that I was going to get pooped on and I knew that it was true. We walked around with the birds for a while and someone gave us two little cups with nectar in them that you could feed the birds from. I was feeding a bird and he was squawking the whole time he was eating. I decided after a bit that he'd had enough and started feeding another bird below him. The bird I stopped feeding was so mad at me! He started screaming at the top of his air sacs at me, and moved over on the branch so that I was right below him before he pooped. Luckily it only landed on my arm.

So that's my day at the zoo. :)