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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Out of kilter

I woke up this morning in undeniably bad pain. My herniated disc (L2-3) that sits adjacent to a fused section of my lumbar spine undoubtedly has been tweaked. Walking and standing hurt... but the lesson that I've learned over the past 20+ years of dealing with my back pain is NOT to stay still, no matter how tempting it may be. So, I tried pedaling a little. Amazingly, that hurt much less than walking. In fact, the further I rode, the better I felt. So, I rode through the forest with K by my side.

My sensitive K knew that my world was out of kilter and clung nearby watching me closely. As long as I stayed on my bike, I could move almost normally. As soon as I dismounted, I wanted to cry out of frustration with this never-ending battle with pain. It seems endless on some bad days, vaguely like the long view from a hill nearby, but nowhere near as beautiful.
Our world is bustling with life right now. In the depths of winter, if I stop, I sometimes hear no noise in the forest at all - just complete silence. That's never true in the summer. Birds sing, squirrels chatter, bugs call for mates, and aspen leaves quake. K and I stopped deep in an aspen grove whose columbines have just burst into bloom. The song of summer played loudly for us.
Oh, Columbines, how you embody everything wonderful about summer.
The pine pollen fog machine continues to spray our world in fine green particles. I wipe down the counters, leave for a couple of hours, and when I return, the counters look green and dusty again. The billows of pollen obscured the views of the pine tree covered hills and a mountain behind them.
But, those same pollen particles created amazing lighting early in the morning.
One event during our ride left me bewildered. Let me ask you, a general non-biased audience, how would you feel if someone who you've always allowed to cross your land to access a trail informed you that s/he'd paid to have your property surveyed a number of years ago to find out if s/he could assert a legal irrevocable right cross it? Said person admitted that the survey showed that there was no legal passageway so s/he needed our permission. However, I was appalled that this whole process happened without me being informed- so appalled that I actually forgot about my back pain for a little while. And, why did s/he inform me about this event now, years later? Didn't s/he know that I wouldn't be happy about the covert operation that had taken place on my private land? The thoughts and questions swirled through my brain with a dose of anger on top of them but I managed to remain polite during the conversation.

On much less controversial note, I've only photographed mammals from the carnivore family to date on Black Bear Trail - many bears, a mountain lion, and bobcats. Yesterday, a mule deer sneaked past a camera, looking very nervous.
He held his head low, like he was peeking for danger.
I think that the prey animals don't like black bear trail even the slightest bit because of its usual traffic of more dangerous animals. My camera showed that the velvet antlered deer quickly veered off the trail and into the forest.

This blogger was planning a mountain trip and a break from blogging starting tomorrow. So, if my back allows it, don't be surprised to see no posts for a little while. If we stay in town to wait for this spinal flare-up to hopefully pass, you may see another post or two.

I hope that you all enjoy the long days of summer! I'll keep enjoying them no matter where this wild ride of spinal degeneration takes me. I'm sorry if today's post isn't the most uplifting ever - but I can't fake joy. I'm sure that you all understand. It's best to be genuine.


  1. good for you for being genuine, isn't that what it is really all about....faking joy zaps us of our energy, being real uplifts us...hope you get your trip in!
    i would be a bit perplexed by the persons comments as well, very strange....why now?

  2. You have to be one of the most genuine bloggers I follow! I enjoy reading along with all the ups and downs, and you are a very inspirational person. You always rise above obstacles in your path, be it a roadblock on the trail or a detour in your physical recovery. Without a few bad days, we wouldn't appreciate the really good ones nearly as much! I hope you're feeling much better tomorrow and get to go on your trip!

    As for the neighbor situation, I'd be seriously hot! You handled it much more diplomatically than I would have. I'd be darned tempted to tell them to start hiking around after that!

  3. I can't be non-biased...I would always be on your side. That said, it is a very strange situation, especially the timing of it. Why bother to tell you about it after the fact, especially since it confirms your position? I don't get it but I'm sure it will make for a rather strained relationship from here on out. At least it would for me.

    So sorry about the bad day. Here's hoping it's a transient thing and won't worsen.

    I love columbine. Great photograph of this lovely flower.

  4. You do as good a job as anyone I know trying to fake joy. Even when you're not feeling well, you never sound totally pessimistic, KB.

    What the heck is wrong with the person who did that? And I, like you, am wondering why they even bothered to tell you - didn't they know it would make you mad? Some people just have a few screws loose, I think..

  5. Be careful, KB, about the person who told you about having your land surveyed. Some homeowners in our neighborhood are suing another neighbor to get access to a permanent right-of-way across her land. We are appalled at this! We regularly let people cross our land but really don't want to give a portion of it up - apparently if someone has crossed for a number of years, there is a precident in the courts (a couple in Boulder sued and won ownership of a neighbor's land because they had used it for 20 years without being stopped). I sure hope your back pain is better so you can go on vacation!

  6. I don't know how you do it. So sorry for the increase in pain. Hope you can find comfort soon.

  7. @Barb, Woah! That legal thing is truly strange and makes no sense...Trespass without being stopped and then take ownership? I don't get it. I'm sure there's some legal loophole there, but certainly can't think of one. Strange.

    KB, when you wrote about that story I did a full dog head tilt. That's just strange. I was thinking whether it was just a socially awkward conversational piece or some kind of threat. Weird. Hope it never amounts to anything. . .

    We dog people often talk about how dogs teach us to live in the moment. It's easy for me to forget that moments are not always happy. Being fully alive means pain and frustration too. I can wear myself down when I think I need to be joyous when the moment calls for something else. Good for you for being genuine.

  8. Considering my wife's back injury, I really do understand - and hope this is just a hiccup...

  9. Kathie said it the best: we don't know how you do it!

    Thanks for sharing the great pics AND the challenges -

    They always help to ground me -

  10. So sorry to hear about todays pain. Can't have helped being treated so shabbily by someone. Watch out in case they now claim you've granted them right of access!

  11. Your genuine posts are endearing KB! I can't help but wonder what s/h would have done if you had not been friendly enough to allow passage...back when!

    I love your posts, but do hope you feel up to your mountain trip!

    Take care!

  12. I hope your back stops acting up long enough for you to enjoy your trip.
    Be careful of the s/ could be guilt causing them to tell you now or it could be to see your reaction before they try to get permanent access to your land. sounds like they have already laid the ground work to try something. even without access earlier, they may have been told if they continue to use the land w/out any problems they may have rights later. kind of like "possession is 9/10ths the law"

  13. I agree with previous posters about the intent of your hiker who pulled a fast one. I'd be super suspicious. And ticked! I admire that you handled the conversation so well after the hiker dropped that bomb.

    And I'm so sorry to hear of this latest flare-up. I was hoping our paths might cross this weekend during the MS-150, but I'd much rather you be happy and healthy in the mountains, taking more great pictures and experiencing adventures you verbally share so well.

  14. Well, I am usually a lurker on here but I had to let you know that my boyfriend loves to mountain bike and so far it is the only thing he has found that helps out when he has back pain. So I am not surprised that you felt better after a bit of pedaling - because he swears by it.

  15. Take care of yourself! Your pictures are beautiful, as always!


  16. This wild ride of spinal degeneration has taken you into our hearts.


  17. That land usage thing is *weird*. I would be both upset and suspicious. I think there indeed might be a thing that says if someone uses part of your land for 20 years, then indeed to do gain some legal rights. Wasn't there a local case where people tried to grab a chunk of land the belonged to others?

  18. Kia ora KB,
    I hope this finds you out and about on that extended mountain trip.
    One of the beautiful aspects of your place here is your honesty in dealing with your physical problems and how you still manage to interact with your environment and friends. I took, take, a lot of inspiration from that in my own recovery, the fact there will be good days and bad, but that nature is always the constant.
    Kia kaha KB! May you be around a campfire with the mountain breeze blowing gentlty upon you.

  19. Hello there!

    We hope that your pain has eased. You are very brave for continuing to do what you can in spite of it.

    We can see why that person upset you. That was not right and we agree that this person may have been feeling you out as there may be more to come. What is wrong with some people? We just don't understand sometimes.

    We have been catching up with your posts and have been enjoying all the pix.

    We are gearing up for our first trip to Colorado in July and we just can't wait! The more pix that we see on your blog, the more we fall in love with it.

    Hang in there friend.

    Chasing my tale...
    Addie, Lucie and Hailey

  20. Oh hell - I'm reading this on Sunday and wondering if the lack of recent posts is telling. I really hope you are ok...

  21. Hey there KB
    Yes...after 5 days I noticed your absence. Sorry I've not been around lately. I am sorry to hear about your persistent back pain and I do hope your break from blogging will help to restore you to reasonable health.
    Your environment looks so beautiful at the moment...and your blogposts are as inspiring as ever!
    Sending lots of love to you and I really do hope that the pain eases.


  22. We too have missed seeing your posts for several days now and hope you are doing OK.

    The OP Pack Mom

  23. Hope the lack of further posts means your back was good enough to take a vacation break. Prolonged pain is so frustrating and especially the degree you are dealing with. I hope your surroundings are taking your mind off it in a better way than the neighbors bit of news. That is weird and must have felt kind of creepy too with it's sneak factor.

    You may not be able to fake joy but you do manage to keep on and find beauty to share. Thank you for that.

  24. You must be at your mountain trip. Can't wait to see pictures when you get back. Hope your back is better. Hubby has almost the same problem. I just feel so helpless when it happens.
    About the land survey, I do not know that someone else can get YOUR land surveyed without even letting the land owner know about it. I just don't think it's right.

  25. Hi there, So very sorry to hear about your tweaked back-I got sciatica again this March, after 14 yrs of being fine...yuck. You take it easy where ever you are this weekend. As for your neighbor I too am surprised that the County/State records department didn't notify you.
    You certainly were gracious though-much more so than many of us.
    Have a safe and wonderful weekend and time off, if you go.
    Noreen & Reggie-dog


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