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Thursday, September 1, 2011


When I'm not feeling good and the world seems scary like in the photo above, I look for things to cheer me up. My little bike rides with K almost always bring a smile to my face.

Today, even while K and I gazed at our beloved mountains, I felt too bad to smile.
The problem is that when I get serious back pain, the rest of my body goes haywire too - I think of it as collateral damage. I get headaches (caused by my neck problems) and nauseous. I lose weight and have little energy.

To fight the blues, I make a big effort to focus on the good parts of my life. K is in the midst of a course of antibiotics for her latest UTI, an ongoing story since April. She feels great. However, the pattern has been that she always feels great while on the antibiotics. Then, after the antibiotics end, she gets sick again. We're probably paying a visit to the nearest Vet School to try to figure out why. In the meantime, I'll just rejoice that she's feeling good *now*.
As you're probably seeing, today was a day of actively trying to find ways to lift my spirits. A great strategy is that I search for beautiful things in my world to appreciate. We still have some wildflowers in bloom, and I took the time to appreciate them today. My favorite deep purple and gold aster is singing its late summer song all over our forests and meadows.

I found this aster near a rocky slope at the end of the most desolate trail that I ever mountain bike. I've never seen another person on this trail. In fact, the trail is disappearing as the forest is gradually reclaiming it. It would be better to call it a "route" because an uninitiated hiker or bike rider would never be able follow it. But, if you can follow it, you're rewarded with glowing purple asters!
After I took the photo above, I lay down in the sun. I felt too inert to stir myself for a long time. It's rare that I feel so devoid of spark. But, I know that I'm lucky to have places to go where I find complete solitude, aside from the birds, butterflies, chipmunks, squirrels, bobcats, coyotes, bears and mountain lions. Yes, even the thought of the big animals makes me smile because it means that our world still has truly wild places.

Another thing that can lift my spirits is a great photo on a wildlife camera. In the past two days, I've captured two sets of bobcat photos (I'm saving those for a future post) and lots of deer photos. I normally don't share the zillion deer photos that I get but a few of them were distinctive.

One photo of a doe showed scars. My first guess was that she'd been unsuccessfully attacked by a mountain lion. After thinking about it more carefully, I realized that there are lots of other possible explanations for her scars but I still like the lion attack scenario the most.

She walked too close to the camera so the photos are blurry but the scars are evident.
Also on the deer front, it seems that a band of bucks have decided to try to cheer me up by posing for a cam that's very close to my house.

This guy has a big set of antlers given that he's part of a hunted population!
Then, last night, either the same buck or another one got really close to the cam which I'd moved during the previous day.
As if that wasn't close enough, he moved even closer for the next photo that was taken 30 seconds later.
Look at ME, he seems to be saying.

Tomorrow, I hope to post about another leg of our recent trip when I rode my mountain bike up Imogene Pass. It was a truly amazing day with the view shown below from near the Pass!
Until then, keep smiling! I'm going to keep working at it.


  1. I admire you for looking beyond the pain and finding beauty in what surrounds you to lift your spirits. While I don't have to endure physical pain, I've dealt with psychological pain and have found great strength in friendships and in the beauty and life that surrounds me. I hope you will continue to look and find it too!

  2. I wish so much that there was a way for you to avoid all the pain you are going thru, but if it helps at all.

    Bert and I are your greatest fans. I mean really, we are.

    You make us smile every time you post, even when you are in pain, you bring such joy and amazement into our lives.

    So we hope you smile when you think of us, SMILE Right now, I say....this is a command from the Bertster......cause you make us smile.

    Bert and My Vickie

  3. I admire you so much for being able to look for the wonderful things in life! Somedays the physical pain is so hard to deal with and having headaches and nausea on top of it all makes it worse. Yesterday evening I sat on the back porch and just looked at the sky and our small mountain which made me happy. I watched Holly and Blue run up and down the fence line with their tails wagging. That made me feel better! Keep smiling and I'll try too. K looks gorgeous and I love your pictures always! Lots of love, Debbie & Holly

  4. When you're hurting it is hard to focus on the good things. It's good you try to enjoy the beauty around you and the blessings of your life. Hope you and K both feel better soon.

  5. Could you put K on a daily cranberry supplement? It may help keep them from occuring. Sam has a very sensitive stomach because of his meds, but we've started giving him pumpkin with breakfast and he hasn't had any issues...

    Good luck!


  6. Imogene Pass is breath taking!!

    Sorry about your back...after 20 years in the landscape business, I have my good days and bad days too.
    My recipe...Ice, Massage, Keep moving and Keep smiling (The dogs help with that part!)

    Wyatt's Mom

  7. Don't give up KB. Keep fighting.
    I think we all fight in one way or another. Sometimes it is to just make to to the next moment, forgetting about tomorrow.
    We must keep hope in our hearts.
    We all care about you... and it makes us "feel good inside" when we see the beautys you share with us. To us this is like medicine.
    Sometimes we are each others medicine.. and we take turns helping each other.
    The purple aster is so gorgeous.

  8. Hi Y'all,

    Oh I am so sorry that you are feeling so miserable.

    I really am selfishly glad you got the pictures you posted and posted them for our enjoyment.

    Crossed paws and Human prayers for K and your return to health.

    Y'all come back now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  9. That last photo is just stunning!
    I hope you and K are feeling better soon-we're sending you good vibes:-)

  10. Sending you lots of good thoughts and prayers for some good relief.

  11. Here's another reason to smile: you share the joy of your world with so many who would never EVER have the opportunity to see it on their own and thus you enrich and make the world a little more wonderful for all of us. Your post today was filled with promise and positive energy, despite your return, we send you hope for both you and K...and White Dog healing energy for your body (none needed for your incredible spirit)!

  12. Now, that's a post to cheer everyone up .

  13. Your comment lines say you love hearing what I think . . .OK, I think you are one of the strongest, bravest people I have ever known. You amaze me on a daily basis, with your philosophy, your photos, and your life. Each time I read your blog, I send healing wishes to you. I hope you are catching them!

    Your friend,
    Jo (and Stella)

  14. Your blog makes me smile, KB. Those deer photos are wonderful. Imagine being able to elude the hunters for so many years that your antlers show what a wise old buck you are. May both of them breed strong, smart babies.

    I wish that there was something I could say, or do, that would make you feel better, but, since I can't, just know that there are many people out here in blogger land who are pulling for you to feel better soon.

  15. Feeling bad does a serious number on my mood too. Much sympathy and good wishes to you for feeling better!

  16. ALWAYS we look forward to reading your post and viewing the beautiful pics you take. They are all special and today we really like the one of the purple & gold Aster and Imogene Pass!!!
    ALSO we really like the comments by Siku Marie and Stella. Ditto what they said if it's ok with them. They said it all so well & we feel that way too!!!
    Wags and healing vibes to you both!

  17. It's always great to have things that you know will lift your spirits :o)

  18. Your pictures are gorgeous, it's hard to believe of the pain you are in on the other side of the lens. I wish both you and your dog good health.
    Thank you for stopping by Fabric,Food and Fido with well wishes for Lily. It is truly appreciated.

  19. Our internet went on the fritz last night, so I missed your post until today. I always greatly admire you for being able to keep getting up and going in the face of what would keep most people down long ago! Whether you know it or not, I think that you motivate a lot of people to keep getting up. I know that you inspire me in a lot of ways, with your spirit and zest for life, with the beautiful way that you see things and with the wonderful words and pictures you share here!

  20. Even beautiful K did not cheer you? That is a rough spot you're in. Hope the vet school can figure out what is messing with her innards.

    Mango Momma

  21. Beauty and Pain....Yin and Yang...and others...we all fall on the continuum and deal with what we have as best as we can. Pain, chronic pain appears from nowhere after residing and completely throws your world into upheaval. I can now understand why you live in the mountains, the last picture tells it all. Please take care of yourself and if ever you feel like unloading or venting or enjoying just drop a line to Jim and I. DO take care!

  22. I think it's cool that you can see your reflection in K's eyes in that one picture. Lots of love there!

  23. The views around you, including your furpals, are truly moodlifters. So much beauty...I'm glad it lifted your spirits and hope that all goes well. Beautiful pics, as always!

  24. PS - that last landscape shot should be enlarged, framed, and mounted on a wall. Just superb!

  25. Boy, I just can't believe the number of wildflowers you were able to find on your recent trip. I'm sad I missed the wildflower season this year, but you've certainly given me a taste of what was out there.

    Once again, your wildlife photos astound me. And that aster is the absolute best!

  26. Hi KB,
    Just swinging by to catch up on things. Rest assured that my visits to your blog always bring a smile to my face. What an amazing world that surrounds you! I love the purple aster. I hope you are feeling better now, and always wish the best for K too!


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