Monday’s Meander: High Desert Museum

A major observation that one makes about high desert– besides hopscotch carpets of sagebrush and such pungent scents– is the sharp dryness of things. All seems to crackle underfoot; air is stripped of moisture for the most part. In a short time, my skin and hair feel the effects—skin parchment-like, hair becoming flyaway. Brittleness reigns. Yet, there is something attractive about this landscape. It’s aridity and semi- monochromatic austerity lend a spareness best seen in open range, but also is notable where the western juniper, ponderosa pine, larch grow. But as small things are discovered, another world is revealed.

The High Desert Museum is a good place to experience this. Opened in 1982, it exits to encourage people to consider the history of this high desert area–part of the Columbia Plateau– and how people have interacted with it.

We hurried through indoor exhibits– we’d visited before and had limited time. The outdoor exhibits have been improved and I had to be outdoors–it was a lovely day.

Follow in my footsteps as we head outdoors during a slideshow, below. You’ll note there is evidence of a riparian part of high desert–so crucial to this land– with small creeks. (There’s an exhibit with deeper water for two river otters, not an uncommon critter in Oregon.) But everywhere are reminders of high fire danger–it was well posted–and I thought how those trees and shrubs could be immediate fire timber and kindling. Evidence of fire as we crossed the Cascade Range came to mind, as well as wildfires near our home once.

You’ll note, at the end of the slideshow, a replica of a sheepherder’s wagon in the 1880s; it is reminsicent of wagons in which pioneers crossed the continent to settle the West. Or, rather, resettle, since Native Americans lived and worked here for so very long….

The draw for us this visit was the Miller Family Ranch and Sawmill. Though a fictional family, the reconstructed settlement is typical of a ranch for white homesteaders who claimed and worked land in Central Oregon in the1880s. The climate is not very hospitable; life was difficult. We moved between a barn, cabin, corral, bunkhouse, root cellar, and sawmill. There would have been cattle tended and horses on open range; we noted chickens and a chicken house. During summer months there are reenactments of the lives lived in such a homestead then.

For current residents of this part of Oregon, ranching is still a primary part of the culture and economy.

By this time, indigenous land had already been explored and occupied by people such as trappers, missionaries, and surveyors. Native people were forced to sign treaties or removed– or dealt with violently. Native rights retained did allow descendants to still hunt, gather and fish in areas they used to inhabit so freely. Visiting the ranch reconsturction brought up conflicting issues and feelings, with much to consider, as usual, when I revisit American history. (Every country has its painful history but it doesn’t help much to think on that, either–especially these days.)

It was a good day well used and we were ready for a meal and a restful evening. For next week’s blog I’ll take you to Smith Rock, one of the more impressive sights I’ve seen in Central Oregon. The land opens up as you drive from Bend, and mountain vistas are clear on a sunny day. Then jagged and often reddish rocks and pinnacles of the State Park are revealed. A very small teaser is below.

Monday’s Meander: Bend, Central Oregon Gem

We left quaint Sisters and moved further into high desert country, east of the beautiful Cascade Range. We arrived at Bend in late afternoon, happy with our views from the hotel on the Deschutes River, alongside which Bend, population of about 100,000, sprang up. It was one of the few crossing points along the river and was established as a logging town in early 1900s. Later it became a gateway for many year- around outdoor sports. The weather, typical of this elevation of 3623 ft. and semi-arid climate, tends towards cool nights and sunshine-filled days. Winter brings some snow; summer averages 65 degrees F. It was perfect when we were there, in the upper 50s to upper 60s.

Part of a view from our room.

It is easy to see why the population has increased the past 20 years and why a main business is tourism. Also, folks with some money can retire well here–we’d thought of it, but it got pricier. We got to know this area better 15 years ago when my son and his then-wife moved their family to La Pine, a smaller more rural town 30 minutes away. I liked the climate and different nature offerings. The clarity and freshness of air is, for one, pretty phenomenal; junipers, lodgepole pine, and sagebrush lend a pungent fragrance. And the mountains offer a view that never tire me. Mt. Bachelor is a favorite for skiing and more but there are several snow-capped peaks. Black Butte (noted last week, not well seen here) is another interesting peak. (I’d like to spend time at Black Butte Ranch.)

Below, views as evening fell around the Hilton Garden Inn in the Old Mill District. The stacks you see rising into the lovely sky are attached to a building that was originally the power station for the mill at this site. (It is now an REI outdoor store.) They nudged my eyes upward even in day, but then back to open sky and mountains.

The next day we walked along the winding and excellent waterfront path, noting birds and scenery. There is a somewhat upscale shopping district here, so I also browsed and purchased a few things. Marc found a local coffee shop that sold the Sisters Coffee brand and said it was great.

It was a good day out and about the area as well as meeting our 20 y.o. granddaughter, enjoying a a fish and chips lunch at her work place, basking in hot sunshine at a table outside. (It always feels hotter when the sun is out in high desert…) Avery has lived there with her mother and our 15 y.o. grandson for many years, and it’s a pleasure to visit with them whenever we can, in Bend or here.

I should note that the Hilton Garden Inn served a very good breakfast. Later we’d hoped to eat outdoors at an Italian restaurant by the water–but when night arrived it was quite cold for us. High desert temperatures change a great deal at night and again in the day. We got a few microwaveable items and “roughed it” in our cozy room, a fire going in the fireplace. But that’s skipping ahead!

A few of the day’s views below.

Above, in a shot from the hotel balcony: I watched marathon runners crossing a bridge and rushing down the paths. Mt. Bachelor is in the distance. You might note the two colors of the many bridge flags are in support of war-ravaged Ukraine. The wind at this spot is, incidentally, very strong at times.

We soon were off to explore the High Desert Museum for the afternoon. It has excellent informative indoor exhibits but we looked forward to seeing new developments outdoors. We last visited perhaps 10 years ago, during which time we saw rescued (from those who had caught and caged them) wolves up close. I also spotted a cougar paw print on a hike and have to admit I was not at ease tha rest of that trail…they are so sly.

It was an educational, pleasant meander there. A quick peek into a scene from museum grounds, below–I’ll post many more shots next Monday, so see you then!

Wednesday’s Words/Nonfiction: Library Week! The Countless Words To Guide Us

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To imagine a world without books is impossibly hard. As I look around my home I can see I never intend to do so. I haven’t once bothered–or dared–to count them. I have sorted, passed on and re-sold physical books numerous times, have bought new volumes (and read a few online). I often buy books for gifts and rarely turn down a good freebie in a streetside Little Free Library or languishing in a cardboard box by trash receptacles. It’s not that I will read anything at all…we do have our preferences…but, then again, if there was nothing at hand but an ancient census report, I would gladly read that. And read it again. I am definitely one of those who reads fine print on packaging, randomly peruses dictionaries and reads every sign that catches my fancy on a road trip. So one might conclude it is the basic act of noting letters, then reading them that “rings my bell”. Perhaps that’s partly true–it lights up that language portion of human brain instantly–but only a small part of the story.

I like to learn about almost anything. To be gathered into another’s life or informed of another culture or to ride the wave of an epic tale. I like to find the path in storyland and follow it with mind and arms open, whether fact or fiction. Books, books, books. They are friends and teachers, distractors and challengers, quiet partners in my life.

And I write of this as it is National Library Week in the USA; School Librarian Day was April 4th. And April 16 is National Librarian Day. A time to consider how fortunate we are to have books at our fingertips–or not far away. Library books are a blessing shared by the community with ever changing and diverse residents. Hopefully, this week even more people, young and older, will take advantage of it.

I have much to consider when I consider how books have helped shape and even transform my life. Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames, R.N. kept me up late with my flashlight as a 9 year old. I devoured books for fun, but I was also reading because I also was writing my own stories and plays and poems by then…I was learning by osmosis, perhaps. But later I read a variety of works by poets Denise Levertov, ee cummings, Theodore Roethke, William Wordsworth and Kahlil Gibran– as well as wide ranging writers as Hermann Hesse, Dag Hammarskjold, or Pearl Buck and John Steinbeck, for a few examples. They each strongly impacted me both as a young writer and spiritual seeeker. Books and their libraries were good escapes, yet also a deeper balm for the troubled youth I was. Reading provided me with greater perspective and stimulated more hope. More than a few times, what I sought and discovered helped me keep my head above water. They still can have the same power for children and youth.

I read as a hungry creature grazes in a field of delectable offerings, often and with excitement. I most often read not what any class reading lists recommended… and have not ever been in a book club. But I’ve made it a weekly, even daily, habit to study multiple book reviews or simply wandered through libraries and bookstores, on the lookout for the next fitting volume.

Recommendations, anyone? Let’s talk it over–I’d give it good thought. I do enjoy swapping personal preferences, such as with my neighbor today.

Public and school libraries have been particularly important because they require only a library card and my time and respect. They are ubiquitous in this country–and free! I like them so much that when we travel, Marc and I often seek out local libraries. And any ole bokstore, of course. To see what there is on offer, to experience the electric yet cocooning, amiable energy the presence of books in hands perpetuates. I’ve visited tiny, dusty libraries that have perhaps not purchased new books for years yet offer many gems. And light-dappled, multi-storied, shiny buildings I could move into with sleeping bag to spend a year or more. (The stalled novel I wrote features a country library in several scenes, so that tells me something.)

In elementary school I anticipated library hour as much or more than most other things in the school week. I lingered as long as feasible, content with browsing then slipping a book from its cozy place within the company of like-minded books. The librarians–rarely stern ones, the mythical library policers of the stacks– were eager to help aid me. And they seemed to know everything, or could find out in a flash. Best yet, I was often pointed toward resources to find out my own answers. Patient and appreciative of young, inquisitive minds, librarians were congenial and supportive watchers over children as we strove to enlargen our minds, stoke imaginations. On the way home, I hugged my “find” close, eager to get reading if only between other activites until bedtime. –It is this way even now.

I grew up in a city that was fortunate to have wonderful arts, sciences and other educational facilities. Our public library was one designed by Alden B. Dow, a protege of Frank Loyd Wright. It opened in 1955 and was contemporary by common standards, with its angularity and stark elegance and turquoise trim (or perhaps a wide flashing) right below the roof edge. It had floor to ceiling windows that overlooked lush landscaping. It had a big study space that was open to a second floor mezzanine with more rooms: more books. The smells and colors and shapes… I was transported being there.

As a kid, I made myself comfortable in the children’s ample room with a pile at my feet. Later on, I sat huddled over books read for academic needs or pleasure, soaking up the hush of a place that harbored readers and those who researched. The wooden drawers of card catalogs held more than I could begin to think of; I took my time thumbing through them, as one thing led to another. Among the aisles between tall shelving I found nonfiction sections as fascinating as fiction or poetry sections. How could there be that much to investigate? Awe, perplexity, and pleasure flooded my being.

It was a pleasure to enter the high-ceilinged two-story building and so difficult to leave. Time evaprotated. A visit might also be a ruse for meeting friends (or a boyfriend), during which we’d surround oursleves with tomes then whisper intently back and forth or write furious notes. But more often visiting the library meant a treasure trove to delve into, plus a pause from life’s ordeals and uncertainties. I felt at home in the grand but often undefined scheme of things more than in most places. The library: sanctuary, a repository of wide-ranging wisdom, a safe place for bookish entertainment, a haven for those who thirsted after curious places and peoples which lay beyond those sturdy walls.

Of course, there were magazines as well, and music, then movies and over the years surprising things (we can check out all sorts of odd and useful items at our present library). Most of which I don’t utilize, I’m afraid. My priority has remained simple book hunting.

The greatest feature: all the public is welcome. Everyone can be sparked by the thrill of learning, nourished by engaging or challenging tales. Or a quiet nook with a comfy chair within which one may doze, reading material in hand. The word library means simply a collection of books or bookshop; in Old English etymology it is a “book hoard.” Makes sense to me.

One view of part of my childhood’s Grace A. Dow Memorial Library, Midland, MI-in this shot, magazines take front and center, as does the view. Ahhh…

When Covid-19 roared into our lives and many public places became inacessible, I turned to online offerings of local libraries (and virtual bookstores). Though I greatly missed prowling the stacks of our smaller city branch, I was glad to browse and put “on hold” many titles to later pick up. In fact, I chose more books than I might have otherwise; it became a meditative experience to search and find. I read a wider variety as there was more time than ever. (I also read more and differently to further inspire my own writing; the more I read the more I always learn.) But I also enjoyed lining up with other people to get the choices in hand. We began to converse as we waited for the librarian to bring out our orders to an outdoor shelving unit. It was a pleasant ritual in otherwise worrisome months… then more months.

When our actual library doors opened again, only 5 people were allowed in fifteen minutes at a time. But what surprising happiness! I could see it in everyone as they browsed and fingered books and other items: a sense of contented relief, just for a brief spell. I am certain that those who visited libraries online or in person have felt that this has been a favored event. Perhaps it was even a lifesaver, emotionally. When all else was fraught with fear or loneliness, health issues–that loss of bearings in society at large–we could still, thank goodness, generously welcome books into our ives.

I recall once during that time that I searched for a certain novel, reportedly available, within my fifteen minutes. To no avail. So I asked a librarian if she knew the author and if the book was misplaced. She did; the author was a respected, long deceased one not often checked out, anymore. She searched further. Failing to locate the one I wanted, she announced she’d purchase the book–and two more by that author–so that I and others could have access to his work. This was said with a triumphant smile. I was flabberghasted. She was, as she noted, “here to support our patrons and provide great materials whenever I can.” And she did, and she always has done so.

So, here is to libraries and librarians. Here’s to the hours of work put in for us (work we often do not see or think about), and to their patient, knowledgeable and kindly assistance. The countless books and other materials kept track of and then offed to us have given me, for one, more freedom to roam far reaches of mind, heart and soul, to critically consider diverse notions and gather quite useful information. Books give good medicine as well as good direction more often than not.

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Monday’s Meander: A Time of Flowers

In the midst of sad and alarming news of this world, and upcoming anniversary dates of many family members who have passed, I need to dote on flowers. It has been raining several days and will be for another week, greyness permeating sky and woods and reaching inside these walls. And I am still nursing the torn meniscus, so there are far fewer hearty walks. It seems I must wait to go in search of the living beauties. However, I’ve found other early March photos of common Portland neighborhoods’ spring flowers.

They gently tend my spirit; perhaps they will lift yours, too. Though sorrows often linger, nature’s sublime beauty and constancy help us become stronger. I plan to share more current spring garden walks. And I offer a small spontaneous poem at the end since I’ve not posted any the last two “Friday’s Poem” feature.

Oh bravest flower that startles the cold,

you keep your secrets from us

throughout narrowed wintered nights and days,

and from depth of quietude bring forth glory

of your alchemy: root to shoot to bloom.

How vital are your moving powers in

the midst of troubles. Holy amid unholiness.

I ressurect hopefulness as each leaf

and petal shine within rising or falling light–

defiance of Spring revealed in extravagance

of verve, ferocity, tenderness.

Your sweet sighs, heralding flower,

fill this unsettled mind and soul like love.

Wednesday’s Words/Nonfiction: Body and Mind (Olympic Athletes…and Me)

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Last night as I watched videos of athletic competitions, precursors to the Olympics, I pondered my general well being as I marvelled at the athletes. I know professionals have to juggle many needs as they rigorously train as well as cope with injuries and pain. They have to take good care of their mental health, as well, as we have heard increasingly–not a shocking admission, and it’s good they’re speaking up about it. They motivate me as I admire their power, their beauty, and wonder how they do manage to do it year after year. They’re gifted, yes, but profoundly disciplined. They don’t give up or not for long– or not that we can see. I’m pulled into their performances and submit to the spell. And studying the astounding forces of concentration. How can they do it all under constant pressure and enact a semblance of everyday life? I conclude they are extra human mentally, as well.

Or did they have unusual talent (as do more people have than we estimate)–but worked the very hardest? I ruminated about my various past endeavors, some perhaps semi-athletic. Despite my desire to be a really good athlete, I never got there for lots of reasons. But I dreamed some.

And as I considered all this and stared at the TV, I readjusted the hot/cold pack placed under and around my right knee and moaned a bit over twinges resulting from changing position. Back to earth…

If you’ve ever enjoyed being active, then had an injury–from spontaneous play or engaging in sports or daily exercising, perhaps running down a sidewalk– you understand why pain, healing and maintaining good self care habits does matter. Though I’ve never been a truly fine athlete (though I studied figure skating for 10 years and loved it–I did well enough), my state of health is important, too. It includes the daily maintenance of body as well as intellect and emotions. Balance internally/externally is a goal I work on– ah, that well-oiled working state of being, comprised of hidden and visible parts. It sustains and satisfies. And it isn’t simple to achieve.

There is the dilemma of pain. It can slow anyone down. We most ordinary earthlings also have to live with it, keep on although our reputations or careers don’t depend on it. It is present for a reason so we pay attention to the alarm– at some point. (I’ve a little knowledge of it after a lifetime of medical issues.) And if a person doesn’t use prescription pain medication–I do not as I’m in recovery plus dislike the entire effect–it can wear on the mental state as well as the body. Acetaminophen does little to ease the sharp ache of injury. I can’t use an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen as it’s discouraged for heart and GI patients. I use simple meditation and prayer, distraction and heat/cold.

This morning I had an x-ray of my knee, then a consult with the orthopedics doctor. This, because I re-injured the area after Christmas. It didn’t seem a big deal while on a snowy hike with a daughter and her partner, though my right knee and leg began to fuss at me as we returned. It was worse after a slip I had on my own–not a real fall–I have good reflexes–but limbs were at odds with the ground. This sort of stumble occurs occasionally; the problem recedes soon after. However, over the next days it didn’t get better with rest, was painful after I’d walked a half hour or pivoted or descended a steep hill. Or got up too fast from a chair. The discomfort has slowed me for a month. I’m grateful for the strength and energy I have; I am better off than many my age. But after two weeks it began to gnaw at me. It has made me feeluncertain of my physical capabilities. And where is the healing?

I have little patience for this. If I am physically restrained by illness or pain for a longer period that expected, I feel all constrained inside, too. It feels jail-like. I am not a sitter, unlike some who are serene as a cat in sunshine, remaining inert for hours. I don’t understand that way of being; it works for them, but not for me. I get antsy sitting for twenty minutes. (Writing for hours is the exception. I schedule 2-3 loads of laundry so I must get up. Time dissolves; I tend to “leave” my body as happens when deeply absorbed.)

The good doctor–congenial, set me at ease–manipulated knee and leg to discover how/where the pain got worse. He did an expert job of eliciting strong reactions from me. Then he pronounced the x-ray “good news!”–no bones are harmed and there is no arthritic degeneration of interest. No major tissue damage that showed. The diagnosis at this point is a lateral and/or medial meniscus tear. An MRI would show other or deeper views–but he decided to wait until later for that.

Menisci are two cushions of cartilage-like substance that cushion the knee joint, between tibia and femur. And this is a fairly common injury, generally not traumatic over age 40, as then they get softer so aren’t damaged as easily or much. Younger people, then, can have significant problems with a harder mesicus; more trauma occurs. I had this diagnosis about 5 years ago so suspected it. The treatment is 6 weeks of physical therapy followed by a revisit of the knee’s status. If it remains painful surgery may be indicated but this is not usual. It’s just that this kneee and leg have weakened over time; incidences of discomfort and pain occur more, and last longer.

Needless to say, I made a PT appointment immediately–despite a Covid shadow looming in medical offices…I have every intention of denying the doctor’s surgical instruments access to my knee.

Meantime, I can walk despite the ache of it–as long as it isn’t excessive. I amused to walking fast up and down steep hills as well as uneven woodsy paths. Or have until lately. Now I’m re-learning to be careful with small, discrete movements. I try to think in terms of a dance warm up done in earnest by an amateur–“do it, but easy does it” to borrow a phrase. It may seem counterintuitive that movement helps healing increase, but it keeps blood flowing and joints better lubricated. (I’ve generallybeen of the mind that if it hurts, move more but with caution.) The activity helps the frayed part–pain occurs as bones create friction– get “sanded down”, as he put it. Thus, torn bits can self-repair, pain diminishes and the knee is back to business. One hopes.

Best case scenario: healed up and going at it again in another month or more. Give me a challenge and I will rise to it. I love being physical; the terrific hormones produced, the pleasures of sensory input and the miracles of movement. The fun of it, really. What is given me (us, of course) is a gentle elation arising from a sense of unity and freedom, whether dancing, stretching thoroughly, walking and hiking, ice skating, playing various outdoor games, swimming, and so on. I don’t do nearly enough–held back by money, partly, for equipment or courses, occasionally health. But what I want is a kayak; to take rowing lessons; to cross country ski again; enroll in various dance classes (had ballet and explored modern dance as a youth); ride horses on the beach; hike more on Mt. Hood. If I can be outdoors, greeted by nature (or the curiosities of cities), I am happiest with the activity. Even if it’s a hard one. But indoors will do. Turn up the music, let it all go!

Covid-19 has restricted group actitivies and that includes useage of our recreation center. The reality is, I’d need to do much more alone if not in a group, as my husband is not a willing participant in much activity–he is one of the happy sitters if he has his choice. But I can get him to jooin me on a reasonable hike on week-ends, as he likes nature’s ways. Thankfully, there is my daily walking, too–free and accessible. We are blessed with abundant pathways in my area, and enjoy countless Pacific Northwest trail systems.

This body was born to move–we all utilize the human body’s genius. Even with limitations we explore and make good memories via interactions of our internal systems, our senses and minds. We have such capacity for adaptability. I am grateful to have been born strong and fearless enough to keep getting out there. Age isn’t so much an issue for me–at least not yet. But my mind can stop me is I face a hurdle.

Or this knee might…Can I hope to ice skate this year? I wince imagining a skate blade going other than the direction intended.

Much of any healing derives from learning to accept limitations without letting them rule. There are reasons it is better to pause. That impatience–that I have to get going–has to be calmed so I can concentrate on expending energy on restoration. It takes peserverance and honed skills to keep on when the way is not clear or easy. I talk to myself: do not give in, do not slip into the haze of malaise, do not think of youself as older or less than but, soon, better and stronger. Otherwise, health issues do their dirty work emotionally and can make me feel almost useless, a has-been, a woman who has lost all her edge. It firghtenes me to think I might become a person without stamina enough to live in the world well. With endurance and verve. May it never be so– if I can help it.

I have some experience holding on and keeping at it. But I admit there have been days the past month when covers yanked to my eyes felt better than chill air outside my cozy cave. There was the prospect of wrenching the stiff, achey knee when getting up. then taking one step at a time down our steep stairs, facing another shaky body day. But it is what it is whether I am grumpy or cheerful so I get to it. I must simply do it as this saves me from self pity-partying, keeps me forward-looking. I am reminded there is plenty to enjoy indoors while healing, as noted bfore. I enjoy reading, writing, drawing, talking to friends and family, listening to music I’ve neglected or am just now discovering, going outdoors to pick up the mail, looking at the mountains beyond the trees. And a short walk, with careful deliberation, chin up.

And soon watching Olympics events.

Whenever I think of how tough it is to live in a human body I think, for one, of my son, Joshua. (There two other children who’ve overcome unusual health difficulties, but keep remain mostly silent due to their need for privacy. Joshua has been written about by others often, so is an open book.) He’s a pro skater, has been for about 25 years, but not before a life-threatening motorcycle accident. After that he achieved far more than anyone ever imagined possible. It was made clear he might not survive, as internal organs were damaged, his jaw and teeth crushed, his head injury significant even with a helmet….The visits to critical and intensive care for almost three months are a series of mental images that remain vivid. That he was unlikely to walk out even close to well, much less get back on a skateboard was a medical given.

But Josh believes in Divine Love and how it enables self healing. The surgeons and doctors watched in astonishment as he grew strong when they predicted near-invalid status. Within a couple of weeks walked out and started anew–and there were future reconstructive surgeries to jaw and mouth (amazingly, quite successful). He defied all expectations: he’s appeared in hundreds of skate magazines, videos/films and continues to inspire people in diverse ways. Yes, it changed his life–mine, too. But he believes it changed him for the better. Was I afraid he’d injure hmself again? At first, of course. But before long I saw this made him happy. His living expanded spiritually and emotionally; entrepenuerial at heart, he began to develop various businesses. I have stopped fearing; he is an amazing athlete. A loving son, a good man. He does what he must do. (And skateboarding is an Olympic sport now. Josh finds that pretty strange but good; he grew up “radically” street skating.)

Whatever is this poor little bum knee to whine over? I’m embarrassed by my annoyance. But he texts me: Love and healing to you, mama, you’ll be alright, keep going.

This week I so look forward to the Winter Olympics–a fascinating experience to share with millions of others. I may have wanted to become an athlete along with other goals I harbored, sure. It wasn’t the top choice, clearly. But I understand to a minute degree the rush and freedom that comes after intense work and reaching a pinnacle. It’s a natural response to enjoy spectating as the great ones share passion realized as perfectly as possible. (Don’t we love a success story?) What a good time for me to do so. I observe young adults pushing bodies and minds to far edges. Such artistry; those skills. They do what they do best.

My own resolve to live well is increased by heroic human examples to admire. How I think about challenges makes a transformative difference. It makes me want to just go hiking, likely not climb an entire mountain peak–all the while praising the body I was given and yet enjoy.

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Below, one of Josh’s earliest magazine articles (sorry I cannot identify it but it was posted by his wife)–shared with love and gratitude. If you care to read more about what happened and how he changed his life outcomes, please find link below for a post I wrote in 2014.