Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tues, Jan 29, 2008: FREEEEDOOOOOOOMMMMMMM

Freedom from 2 things:

1. My landlady, since I have finally officially moved out from my old residence, and
2. My ex, since I finally decided that I'm not interested in having him in my life in any capacity.

Although I don't see this blog as an outlet for the drama in my life, I have to share this because it's pretty crazy. This past Friday, I was hit in my car by a woman with no driver's license. She actually stayed until the police arrived, so I got my accident report and went on my way. Everything went swimmingly until Sunday, when I was rear-ended by a banged up truck. The driver got out, tried to offer me money, and when he noticed that I was calling the cops he took off. Luckily the first thing I did was write down his license plate number and a description of his car. The police are supposed to get back to me with his insurance info. My car is somewhat banged up, but I'm fine and it's drivable so I can't really complain.

In my new place, I am using the two upstairs bedrooms as my own, and my things are strewn all over the place between them. I look forward to getting everything settled and becoming comfortable in my new home.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Fri, Jan 25, 2008: RIP Thai

Yes, it's sad and true. My beta fish Thai, who was probably the world's record holder for Oldest Beta Fish Ever, was found dead in his tank when I arrived home from work today. Thai helped me to feel that I was never alone, and was always so happy to see me (let's not mention that was because he thought I was going to feed him...).

Thank you Thai for spending your life with me.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sat, Jan 19, 2008: Moving Adventures and 6 Month Anniversary

((Present Day: Today I consulted a map, hoping that it would suggest a safe and exciting route for a winter afternoon road trip. Instead, I encountered the same road block that prevailed last winter - namely, that the fun and exciting mountain roads that have baited me all over this state aren't safe, or even open, during the winter. I chose a more well-maintained route and passed my afternoon weaving in and out of shadows cast by massive snow-covered peaks.

I needed to go - actually, what I really needed was to fly, but any form of moving quickly along the ground seemed the easiest solution. My insides are being compressed by a world that is incessantly pressing down on them from all directions, and I have been wondering for a while now when I will explode, what will trigger it, where it will happen, and what it will finally feel like afterward.

Today as I was driving, I was finally able to understand where that feeling is coming from, which was a huge relief!! (the intensity and unknown origins of it had been concerning me). The pressure is my debts: car payments, rent payments, student loan payments, credit card payments... they seem so overwhelming. The reason that it feels like pressure (and perhaps the feeling behind the "restrictions" that I felt on me this summer?) is that they are keeping me stuck in a "normal" life!! I made a comment the other day that I like hurricanes and natural disasters because they make people act like human beings instead of like robots, and I think that a good deal of my personal truth right now lies within that comment. Am I turning into a robot? The thought terrifies me.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about traveling: the places that I want to visit, things that I want to explore, different ways of moving across space: bike, boat, plane, my feet, a horse.... My heart is trying to spur me forward with this goGoGO!!!! drive, but my debts are an unavoidable force keeping me locked in place with a power that gravity could only dream of possessing. More than anything, I want to feel free but right now that's about the farthest thing from how I feel. So my heart is pacing like a caged tiger... no wonder why my insides feel like they want to explode!))

* * * *

Happy Saturday morning! As I mentioned in my last blog, I will be moving out of my current place by the end of February, which will make it just over 6 months that I have lived in this tiny room, packed to the ceiling with all of my stuff. I must say that, with the door closed, it does make a wonderful refuge, and I will definitely miss the giant pine tree outside my window that has been the first being to greet me every morning since I lived here.

With my move in mind, I will probably be holding off on the road trips for a couple of weeks. I've been taking some random drives around town, since my brain seems to process life more effectively if the world is flying by outside my window, but nothing I've felt the urge to write about. Last night on a drive up to Boulder, I saw the most amazing sunset illuminating the tiny space between layers of thick snow clouds. Twilight out here is fairly long, as the sun melts down behind the mountains long before it reaches the horizon, and I'm enamored with the lingering soft evening light. The energy out here is strange and new, but I truly do love this place.

On another random note, I've been on a couple of dates with a guy I met at a New Year's party. I don't want to talk about it much and wouldn't even be mentioning it at all, except that this experience has changed my mindset about the previous dating experience I had this fall. When things did not work out with the guy I dated in the fall, I remember saying that I "messed things up already", or something to that effect. This guy who I went out with a couple of times now makes me realize how completely untrue that statement is - I didn't mess anything up, I just didn't like the way he treated me. It's so nice to be reminded that there are nice men in this world, and regardless of how things work out, that message has been very powerfully uplifting for me.

With regards to the 6 month anniversary piece... wow. Has it been 6 months already? I feel as if it was yesterday that I moved out, but also as if I have lived here for years. I spent some time this morning as I was lazing around in bed reflecting on the things that have changed since my big move. I've experienced so much! I have become a strong advocate for myself (since there is nobody else to do it for me), and realized that somewhere along the line, a great deal of my lack of self-confidence has been taken over by a wonderful feeling that I am capable of handling things that happen in my life. It's one of the most liberating feelings I have ever experienced.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sun, Jan 13, 2008: Pueblo Lake

Upon waking up to another beautiful morning, sun streaming through my window, I decided to head somewhere I could spend some time outside. I looked over a map of Colorado, decided that I missed water, and located a lake I haven't visited yet: Pueblo Lake. Thoughts of my ex tumbled through my head as I traveled south, passing through Colorado Springs and some of my favorite scenery in the whole state. Pike's Peak graced the skyline with its rounded, snowy face, the other mountains around its shoulders green and orange and free of any traces of winter.

Travelling to the lake, I realized that if I am ever sick of snow in Denver, Pueblo might be a good place to visit for a reprieve. I was surrounded by yellowed grass stalks, weather-greyed sagebrush stems, and some short evergreen bushes. The only snow on the ground lurked in the shadows of hills or branches. I left my car when I arrived at the lake and waded through the waist-high grasses to the edge of the water.

The air smelled like summer but was cool like autumn, a strange combination for my nose. It was sweet and rich like alfalfa grass, and made me smile at the memory of my sister and I feeding our pets as children.

I stood and took in the peaceful beauty of the place, happiness and serenity filling me and reminding me that everything is going to be okay. The air was perfectly still, and suddenly I was immersed in a moment of complete silence: no birds calling, no cars driving by, even the lapping of the water on the shore was silenced. The air took on that heavy quality that comes with absolute silence, as if it becomes a blanket or vaccuum from which you're not sure you can escape, though you're not sure you even want to. The sound of a car approaching on the road above me broke the moment, and I continued my walk along the shore.

It was really funny to see a marina with the mountains behind it, but I have to say that the lake was almost big enough to be worthy of a marina, so it seemed right. I lay spread eagle at the tip of the path leading to the lake and voiced my thoughts to the universe, for whatever collection of energies might happen to be listening. Maybe it was the birds, or the water, or maybe it was nothing. Birds crossed the sky above me, echoing the contrails leading off into the mountains. A crescent moon shone bright above me, strong enough to be clearly evident even with the bright sunlight dominating the sky.

I drove back home under the shadow of the mountains, a pink and purple crossed sky floating above me, my thoughts still full of my ex. I still can't understand why he has come into my life again or what I'm supposed to do about it. Things were so relatively simple before he contacted me. I'm not sure what has changed since then, except that now he has said he is sorry for what he did.

My landlady and I spoke a few days ago about me living here, and we both agreed that I would be happiest if she released me from my lease. One of my co-workers offered me a room in her townhouse about a month ago, at which point I wasn't interested in moving. But when my landlady set me free, I was able to tell her "yes", and feel the black cloud that I didn't even know was hovering over my head dissipate. More rain for my garden. Although I will miss my roommates, I hope to see them around and think that I will be much happier living in a new place.

Sometimes life is so strange. In the midst of the chaos of my mind came an unbidden moment of absolute peace, a peace so deep that it penetrated every inch of my body, mind, and soul. With it came freedom from my thoughts and my emotions, and a wonderful awakening of awareness. I often speak to the universe... and I literally mean that I talk out loud as if someone is listening to me. As a child I always spoke to God this way, and it is a habit that has continued into adulthood (God being my easy name for the energies of the universe; having been raised Roman Catholic it's the best thing I know to call it without writing it all out). Many times when I speak, I ask "why?" as in, "why is this happening to me?" or "what is the purpose of this pain/sadness/anger?" Today as I lay sprawled out on the rocks at the edge of the lake, I realized that moment was the answer, the "because". My busy mind let its worries go and told me, "Because. This is because" as the sun poured over my face.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Sat, Jan 5, 2008: Snowshoeing

((Present Day: I was recently sent a very negative comment by someone regarding my blog, and have somewhat lost heart in sharing my experiences here. While I realize that posting my thoughts and feelings in a public forum leaves me wide open for criticism, I wasn't prepared for the reality of it.

My 1.5 year anniversary passed with much more happiness and in better company than 6 months and a year ago. Actually, I forgot that it even was my anniversary until I was reminded by the aforementioned company. It feels strange to have lived in this place for so long that I am counting anniversaries in terms of years, instead of days or weeks as was the case for a long time. When I look back at my time here, it seems to swing between extremes of crushing pain and beauty, but with a bridge spanning the two constructed of wonder.

As I look at the more recent past, I am happy to see that I have moved out of the city and into a little town bordering the foothills. I have a small but good group of friends, a job that I love which continues to challenge me every day, and the best dance teacher I've ever had. Some things that I hoped for in my life are still not fully in place: I'm still pretty much broke, wasn't able to travel to the extent that I hoped last summer, and I haven't even hiked a big mountain. I think that in many ways I was waiting for life to settle down a bit before I started adding more flavors to it. Then I realized I'm not sure that life ever settles down entirely, and if it did it would become extremely boring! So I'll take my peaceful moments in the quiet of empty open spaces, along the edge of sleep, in losing myself in acts of creation. I'll take this swirling world with my eyes open.))

* * * *

Yesterday I went snowshoeing with a couple of women from my work and their friends. It was wonderful walking through the quiet woods with only the sound of my snowshoes flipping and flopping in the snow. When we left Denver in the morning it was about 50 degrees, but when we reached the mountains it was between 25 and 30 degrees and windy. Luckily the wind was broken by the trees once we entered the woods.

There was some light snow falling, and we could hear the strong winds of an approaching storm whipping the trees as we headed farther west down the trail. The sun attempted to muscle its way through the thick clouds for most of the day, providing us with some beautiful light through the blowing snow.


We headed up to a ridge and were greeted by a view of clouds and snow stinging our faces, blown by the strong wind. The trees were all frosted by tiny snow crystals.

I had to work hard to keep up with the group, as I have not done too much in the way of exercise since arriving out here, and it was refreshing to challenge my body. Anna, my co-worker who organized the trip, said that she'd like to go as often as possible throughout the winter to keep in shape. I said, sign me up!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Thurs, Jan. 3, 2008: Tangerine Snow and Deer

Hi to anyone reading this. :) I've been having some pretty lazy days during this vacation, and have also spent a few traveling around in the mountains as much as I dare, braving snowy roads and impending avalanches to see winter in the Rockies.

On New Year's Eve Day, I left sunny Denver and headed southwest into the mountains... and into a giant blustery snow storm. The wind was incredible and kept a constant stream of snow running across the road, making it very difficult to tell where the road ended. Luckily, there was a fair amount of traffic so I was able to follow other people. This is a picture of the side street where I finally turned around to head back home and away from the snow!

I tried to spend some time thinking about a New Year's resolution, but I never ended up deciding on one. I think that in the end, I felt like I deserved a break after the ridiculous year I've had. This year has in many ways been the culmination of many resolutions and many efforts spent in trying to be the best person I can be. I think that this is the first time in my life that I have seen myself displaying many of the traits I have made an effort to develop. After all I have gone through, I feel happy for myself and hopeful for the future. New resolutions will be made I'm sure, but this day was a day of thanks, both for myself and for everyone in my life who has been so wonderful to me.

Today I took a long drive into the mountains, completing the Winter Park - Silverthorne loop I traveled this summer. It was so incredible seeing these giant mountains covered in several feet of pure white snow, shining in the sun and lurking within the shadows cast by the peaks. There was a film of low clouds covering some parts of the sky, and there must have been ice crystals forming even where there weren't clouds, because the sunlight touching the ground was a soft tangerine color. While for the most part it wasn't directly visible, it painted the clouds in gold and made the mounds of snow look like orange snowcones - yum!

While driving past the Green Mountain Resevoir, I looked out my window and spotted a deer belly-deep in the snow, rooting around for something to eat among clusters of sagebrush. As I scanned the sagebrush, I realized that what I'd passed off as more bushes was actually about half bushes, and half a large herd of deer. About 25 or 30 animals were standing with bowed heads, digging through the snow. They were standing very close to the road, and I looked at them as closely as I was able without running myself into the snow (I didn't dare pull over to get a closer look at them, fearing another incident like the one on Oh My God Road).

I do miss seeing wildlife, and we saw so many interesting things around our house in Connecticut. But today as I was driving through these beautiful mountains, all I could do was keep muttering "oh my god" under my breath at every bend in the road. The word majestic, while painfully cliche, is such an appropriate description for them - majestic, powerful, stately. I realized that what I grew up with seems so normal to me, and that this place is fascinating to me because it's so exotic. I think that as long as it continues to amaze me, I can't help but feel inspired and moved in this place. I wonder, if it stops moving me so powerfully, will I feel an itch to move back east?

(A p.s. to anyone who cares: Regarding my ex, things are not as cut and dry as I made them out to be in my last post. We have been communicating via emails and online about what happened this summer. It was very difficult for me to decide if I even wanted to give enough inches to allow that to happen, but one thought kept coming into my head. The thought represents my ultimate regret about the whole situation: that, because he would not talk to me after we broke up, I knew I would be karmically connected to him in another lifetime. This thought more than anything else made me furious, because he was the last person I wanted to be connected to. I felt that if I were able to at least talk to him and resolve the situation, it would pass and I wouldn't be stuck with it. So that's where that is for the moment).