Vagabond Rules

Don’t Worry. Be Grateful. Be a Blessing.

These are the rules that I try to live by. My experience is that, if I do, things generally go pretty well for me.

When you get down to it, we’re all vagabonds, aren’t we? We arrive with nothing, wander the planet for a few years, then move on out.

We leave as we came, and the best we can hope for is to be happy while we’re here. That’s what these rules are about.

In the next few weeks, I’ll write about each one, and how I approach it. Overall, I’m happier than I’ve been in my adult life. Maybe I can help someone else be happy, too.

In the meanwhile, Enjoy the Life you’re living.

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Just When You’re Thinking “SPRING!”…

When people tell you how beautiful the Rockies are in springtime, dont be fooled. They’ll conjure up images of flower filled meadows and bright, sunny skies.

Yeah. They lie.

That photo up top was May 8th. Notice that the trees were basically free of snow.
The shot below was at 5:30 this morning, and it’s still snowing. I’d guess that we’ve received upwards of eighteen inches of the white stuff, this time around.


Yesterday, I heard that we were about to get dumped on, so I headed up from Denver in the morning. As I drove, the snow began and intensified on the way.

I hung out in Silverthorne until about ten o’clock, then headed up. The place I chose to sleep is a beautiful spot that overlooks a pond. Usually, it’s a nice location to park for the night.

By the time I arrived, last night around 10:30, the snow was already above Grace’s running boards. As a test, I made a brisk pass through, to be sure we could make it out. Then, I circled back around to follow my own tracks.

Pulling off the road and into the troughs that I’d made before, my left front tire caught the side. This pulled me out of the track and into deeper snow on a slope.

We stopped and I tried reverse, which moved us deeper still. Working carefully, I was able to get us into a different position, moving sideways, but not forward.

My initial response was, Oh, great! I’ll have to wait till morning and try for a tow from the snow plow. That was not an acceptable situation, if I could dig myself out, so I stepped out to get to work.

The spot that I’m talking about borders a steep, tree covered ravine. Beautiful to look at, but deadly to slip into in any conditions. Surveying our situation, I saw that Grace had come to rest about five inches from the edge. Thank God for stopping us.

A shovel is among the things that I’ve been saying I need to get, but haven’t. Tonight, that will change. In the moment, though, I had to think about what I had that might help.

Using a big stock pot, I was able to move large amounts of snow. To get down to ground level, I dug snow with my hands. Then I tried to move us out. Still no go.

I needed to get down deeper, underneath the tread of each tire. For this, I had the perfect tool. A hefty crowbar, about eighteen inches long. The forked hook was able to dig further into the stony ground and carve short trenches for the tires to move into.

This time, rocking from drive to neutral, we were able to move ahead. Suddenly, as though something pushed us from behind, we were up and back on the original track. Gratitude!

It took a while to sleep, after so much physical activity, but when I did, it was a sound sleep. My alarm woke me at 5:20. Snow had almost erased my path (along with evidence of my struggle), and the snow plow had made a berm that we had to get over. We jumped the berm and rolled down the road, with snow still falling.

All in all, it was a positive experience.
I didn’t die.
Grace performed like a champ.
At sixty-one years old, I can still dig myself out of a hole.
Yes – I am amazing (and so are you, if you’ll give yourself the chance).

Accepting What Is

Sometimes, things dont go as planned. When this happens, it’s easy to freak out. Last night, I could have had an Olympic sized meltdown over the situation, but what would it accomplish?

Most of the time, we get upset about things before we even know the whole story. Taking time to breathe and think can save an awful lot of negativity.

Now, at almost 2:00 in the afternoon and still snowing, some people are disgusted – It’s supposed to be Spring!

Yet, here we are, slogging around in the slush and the muck and the snow, and we have a choice. We can be disappointed, or we can accept it and move on.

This is what I have to work with. How can I make it positive?
Last night, stranded on the edge of a precipice, imagining possible disaster, I was able to get the positive result that I was after.

Before that could happen, though, I had to accept my situation and make a decision. Would I stay put and hope for help in the morning? or find whatever tools I could, and try to change things?

I’ll leave you with this thought: Chances are, you are much more capable than you think you are. Given the opportunity, you are amazing.

Thanks for following. Enjoy the Life you’re living.


Feeling Good…

Today, I woke early – about 4:45. It was a slow waking from a dream that bled into my awareness as the RAS allowed morning to creep in. The design of my book cover came to me during that time.

Also, a marvelous excitement for embracing the future washed over me in the dark. Possibilities materialized from the mist of my subconscious. This was prompted by a mind-mapping session last evening.

As I sat at dinner, munching a Lamb Gyro and the incredible fries at Silverheels in Frisco, I broke myself down into marketable bits. If the imperative is to provide for the present and the future, and to travel at the same time, I have to know what I’m offering. Yeh?

Climbing out my door at about 5:30, the difference between waking up in the dark and stepping out into morning gray is pronounced. Although I enjoy stars overhead, and sometimes blue moonlight on snow in winter, it’s another feeling to see the beautiful mountain scene around me.

A positive energy flows into me as I relax into a new day. Gratitude defines me in that moment.

At the top of this page are three Vagabond Rules – Don’t worry. Be Grateful. Be a Blessing. These are the precepts that I live by.

Enjoy the Life you’re living.

The Thing…

On Friday, I went to a conference of the National Organization of Trusted Advisors. It was a good day of learning and meeting new people, but in the midst of it, I had a moment of acceptance, of resignation.

Between sessions, I found myself talking to a young woman who was taking photos for the organization. As often happens, she was soon talking to me as though we were old friends. In the midst of it, she said,”I dont know why I’m opening up to you like this. You must have a thing.”

All my life, people have told me that I’m special or amazing, and it only irritated me. Think of sitting in a restaurant, reading a book. or talking with a friend, and having a stranger walk up to interrupt. In a minute, they’re pouring out their life’s story , which has no relation to anything in your own life, then they walk away.

That’s my thing. I let people release their thoughts, without judgement or advice. I just listen. How they know that I’m that person is something that escapes me, but they do, and they come.

Dont get me wrong. It isnt that I listen apathetically. I naturally participate in the conversation, but until now, I’ve always wondered why this happens.

A couple of weeks ago, talking with my coach, I asked that question. “You have a vibe that they can feel”, she said, “You’re in Paonia and I’m hundreds of miles away, and I can feel it just talking to you.”

So, that’s my thing, and I’m embracing it. Where that leads is anybody’s guess, but there it is.

Broken Phone Blues…

On Sunday morning, I woke up to find that my ancient old phone had finally given up and wouldnt turn on. Google offered some things to try, but nothing worked. It was just dead. So, I ordered a new one online. Now I wait……………

There are several sides to this phoneless thing. The surprising one is that it really doesnt affect the amount of time I have for other activities. In this time, I’ve discovered that I use my phone for about five things – GPS, google, text, talk, and photos.

Of those, the one I miss most is the camera. Although I have a couple of pro level cameras, the vast majority of my shooting is done impromptu, with my phone.

As an example, this morning I woke to a magical world. Overnight, clouds had settled themselves into low places between the mountains, and from my elevated viewpoint at the top of Ute Pass, I was able to gaze across the valley. It was splendid, but I didnt have time to dig out one of the big cameras. Ugh!

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On Saturday, I presented a talk to a small group on the subject You Are Enough. It’s about the ways that Self-Image affects our lives and how we can change it.

Our whole lives are built around the way that we see ourselves. Good or bad, we believe what we tell ourselves.

If we believe that we’re marvelous, we’ll act in marvelous ways and life will respond in kind. Contrariwise, if we believe that we’re useless, worthless creatures, that’s the way we will act and probably the way our lives will be.

We can change our self-image, though. By developing a mental image of your happiest self, you can literally change the way you see yourself. When you do, you’ll act differently and your life will reflect that.

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Thanks for following. Enjoy the Life you’re living.


The Good Life

Mountains outside Paonia, Colorado just before sunrise.

Saturday morning with no itinerary, I lay on the bed listening to the sounds around me. I was in the attic bedroom of a house where my friend was house-sitting. The air was warm and the bed cozy, so I was in no hurry. Gradually, the urge to get up came over me, so I dressed, made the bed, and went downstairs.

The house seems to be a renovated farmhouse, but it’s difficult to say for certain. A thing that I enjoyed on this morning was a large sunroom with windows all around that went from floor to ceiling.

Early light falling on a bench.

It was early and light on the snow was blue. Trees and fence posts were gray and faded into the distance. A layer of clouds still covered the mountains.

A beautiful mountain view.

There were books everywhere in the house. Shelves and tables held hundreds of volumes, which made me think that I might like these people. Also, there was a pour over coffee setup, which I made use of.

My friend rose later, maybe seven-thirty or eight o’clock, and we started talking over coffee. The conversation ranged from common friends to the journals that she makes and on to a ton of other things. All the while, I watched the light grow and clouds break up to reveal the fabulous mountains that surround Paonia. Finally, about one o’clock, we decided that we should really get something to eat, and I should get things ready to go back to Denver.

After we each had showered and I had gathered my things, we jumped into her car and she drove me around the outlying area. She said that the North Fork Valley is called the Banana Belt of Colorado, due to its moderate temperatures. This, I could readily observe, if I could look past the blanket of snow.

The Living Farm Café

For lunch, we went to a little place called The Living Farm Cafe. It’s owned by a farming family in the valley, and much of the food served there comes directly from that farm. I had Lamb Enchiladas, which were excellent, paired with a splendid syrah from local Stone Cottage Cellars.

Lamb enchiladas at The Living Farm in Paonia, Colorado

After lunch, we drove back to the house and I climbed into Grace’s driver’s seat, a bit sad for the leaving, but I know I’ll be back soon.

In the meanwhile…Enjoy the Life you’re living.