I’ve had some version of this blog post in my brain for several years now, ever since the last presidential election in the United States. I haven’t been able to fully find the words during this time of the non-stop barrage of incredulous things that just keep coming that have created a daily spin cycle that has been dizzying, all completely by design. I certainly am no prophet, I don’t have the answers, and I am very aware that I’m just one more white woman putting her thoughts out there, so I’ll preface all this by saying that I write my thoughts as much for my own catharsis as for how it might resonate with others. I have a way of thinking about all of this that has gotten me through, and sometimes I lose my way, but when I can find my way back to it, it helps re-center and ground me in a way. And it is this…Continue reading “The Awakening”
Just over a year ago I bought a house in the tiny town of Kanab, Utah. Friends think it’s a figure of speech when I say I live in a two traffic light town, but there really are only two traffic lights in this little spot of the southwest desert. To say that it’s a lot different than Seattle is a huge understatement. And while I miss a lot about living in a city, it was important to me to make this house a home, both for me and for my two squiggles, Charro and Biscuit, for however long I may live here. Home is a concept that I’ve carried with me since leaving Seattle, and more than a physical place, it’s a state of mind, and a comfort and peace that comes from within. And for now, this is my current home.Continue reading “Little House in the Southwest Desert”
“This is Stacy, and she’s already made the leap.”
It was April of 2015 and I was being introduced at the registration desk for a retreat in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. It was the first time that I had heard it out loud. I had already starting making the mental shift, and was putting things in motion, but hadn’t yet given notice at work or put my house on the market. I had started making travel plans that would lead to those steps in the coming months.
My return road trip to the Southwest would take me through scenery that I hadn’t seen in nearly ten years, and it was just as beautiful as I remember. The first part of my drive, crossing Washington state, is one that I’ve done hundreds of times, and while it’s interesting to see the diversity of the state, it’s scenery that I’ve seen so many times, it mostly passes by the highway without much notice. I spent a couple of nights in Spokane, staying with friends and catching up with others, and it was good to have some time with some of my longest term friendships, one of them coming up on 40 years since we first met in second grade. In some ways it seems like forever ago, and then again, it seems like yesterday. We had some time to take her dog for a nice walk along the river downtown, and the area has changed so much since I left it in 1990. It was great to see a bunch of improvements being made in the park and surrounding area around the river that flows through downtown.
It’s a good thing that I love road trips so much because I’ve put a fair number of miles on my trusty Subaru in the last nine months or so. Seattle > southern California > Seattle > Utah > Seattle > and about to get on the road and return to the southwest again. There is something about the open road that I have always found appealing, each day an unwritten book of possibilities and a visual feast for the eyes. There is a freedom in it, and I enjoy the journey as much as the destination.
Kanab is about an hour and half from the north rim of the Grand Canyon and a trip to see it worked out at the end of my volunteer time at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, so I made a short overnight trip to go see this big ol’ hole in the earth that was on my list of national parks to visit. The north rim gets about 1/10 of the visitors compared to the south rim, so the north rim was a bit more my speed given my limited time. I got there in late afternoon and had sufficient time to explore the rim trails around the lodge area and get a bunch of photos with the changing light as the sun made its way to the horizon. There is about a 1000′ difference in elevation between the north and south rims of the grand canyon, with the north rim being at about 8000′ and the south at around 7000′, and I was feeling the effects of the high elevation, which forced me to slow down a bit, because you know… oxygen and such. Funny that.
No trip to southern Utah would be complete without visits to both Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks. While they share some similarities, there are some striking differences, most notably that a trip to rim of Bryce Canyon is looking down into the impressive landscape, and a trip into the main canyons of Zion is looking up at it. My late March trip to Bryce Canyon NP is mentioned in a previous post along with photos, so let’s focus on my trip to Zion, which I took several weeks ago. It’s a short drive from Kanab, Utah, where I’ve been staying during my internship and volunteer work with Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, and I opted to make a mid-week trip and stay a couple of nights, so that I had one full day to explore the park.
Five weeks went by so quickly, and I was glad that I decided to stay for longer, as it allowed me to just enjoy every day of my final week, knowing that I would be able to visit all the animal areas again, just in a different capacity as a volunteer. My last week of the internship was with all the horses, pigs, and goats. And of course also with a cat that has taken up residence in the area as the unofficial mascot of this part of the sanctuary, ironically named Meow, as I never heard her make a peep. I had heard from many people during my previous four weeks that this area was a favorite, and that they were most surprised by how much they enjoyed spending time with the pigs. So I was pleased to start my week with a couple days with the pot-bellied group, and what a fun time it turned out to be!
Dog week had finally arrived, and I was so happy to finally get spend a week in Dogtown, especially in this magical place, as there are just so many, each with a unique and special story. I was fortunate to be assigned to a great area, one call Old Friends, which is an outdated name, since they have dogs of all ages, including a set of nearly 8 month old special needs puppies. Since I love diversity, it was perfect to have such a mixed bag of dogs to focus on for the week. And what a week it was!
JDN: This one’s for you. ♥
The third week of my internship was spent with cats. A bit different than my time with lions in Africa, but it’s interesting how similar the various feline groups are in mannerisms, as I’ve seen both domestic cats and lions have many of the same behaviors, just at very different scales and impacts. The cat and dog areas of the sanctuary are the largest in terms of total number of animals in these areas, and interns are typically assigned to one area for their week, so we just see a limited amount, but it’s still a great experience. I was fortunate in that I was able to spend in two cat areas, with a few hours in a third one, as well. Having been a cat owner, and being around cats my whole life, this area was familar in many ways, but there were still things to learn when it comes to caring for this many of them in one place. It’s a bit of an overwhelming prospect, really, but they manage the best they can, and for the vast majority of these animals, they have a better life at the sanctuary than from where they came.