Tuesday, October 13, 2009

River Trail at Tortoise Speed


This seems like an appropriate stance to give a lecture on why it is good to slow the heck down.  I have done the River Trail on hundreds of  occasions.   We have ridden through on bikes and we have rushed along the flat to power walk  up the Boomerang.  Sometimes we have run, breathing deeply,  as we make sure not to trip over tree  roots. (those are really traps set by gnomes in case you didn’t know.) Walking along the trail in deep snow is not unheard of.  The owners  have mistakenly started out on cross- country skis and quickly crossed at the bridge to get on the groomed trails  because I am not allowed to go there; and they need me as a guide. We have hiked in happy moods and we have hiked when no one was talking to anyone else.  I thought we had done it all. Wrong.  We had never done it at tortoise speed.   Since my owner was still not feeling up to snuff, the other day  we hiked just to the Uncompaghre Forest sign and back and it took us over two hours.  It was heavenly and I recommend it to all.

When you are racing along you miss a lot.  Look at this frost pattern for example.  It was 12 noon and bikers galore were passing us, dogs ran by, joggers were doing their thing, other walkers were sauntering along and this frost was still surviving on the earth’s floor.  How is this possible?  We stopped to take photos and still no one else saw what we were seeing.  Even here, in Telluride,  we get caught up in our speed, our have to get things done quickly mode, that we miss the beauty that is spread out right before our eyes.  For those of us who live here the views  are free  but over time we become inured to what is around us.  Everything is so beautiful that we forget to notice our bounty. P1020989

This is how everybody else saw our patch of lace,  a little white spot on the ground.   Even I tired of it after a short while.  Up close it looks like strands of diamonds, doesn’t it?


We stopped to check out a few little  trees.  I know we can’t take these home, but I was interested in what size of tree I would like for tree season…..when they bring one inside and hang cookies on it  and everything smells delicious.  I’ve never peed on an indoor tree but the thought has occurred to me.  I  may be a girl but some great guys showed me how to get the job done on three legs.

This tree is way too small even for me. I like a treeP1020985 to jump out and say, hey look at me aren’t I great.  I would overpower something like this.  Luckily it’s in a safe place and has many years to grow completely undisturbed.

Now you have to hike a little further on until you come to the  decorated tree.  My sense is that it  is in memoriam.  I don’t know who started decorating it but we brought along a new decoration to hang on a branch.    I like red and my owner’s mum liked red when she was alive so we added an old fashioned Christmas ball in her honour.  Since a lot of stones were piled around the tree and tiny pebbles were placed safely on a nice flat stone, we added four of our own. One in memory of Marilynn Grozelle, my  mum’s mom.P1030022 One for Jim Pancoast, or Jim from the gymn,  a local who died last year.  He was a super guy who always treated us  kindly, and  remembered to ask after all of our boys.    We left one to honour the spouse of our new  friend, Monica, who recently lost the love of her life. We didn’t know him but  his praises have been sung far and wide.   And finally, it seemed fitting to leave a little stone to remind us of dear old Bo, my predecessor. It was a quiet time by the tree and we could hear birds and the river flowing nearby.  Suddenly, we were caught in a tiny shower of  golden leaves.  It was a moment of magic.  Restored, we moved on.

We saw so many things today that we have never taken notice of. For instance there are old tracks, most likely Galloping GooseP1030008 tracks, and we’ve stepped over them time and time again and thought nothing of it.  Some  old barrels are almost completely covered  with  earth  by the river’s edge.   Although we’ve noticed them before we never wanted to think about what chemicals had likely leeched into the earth through their rusted walls.   We are hoping they were gigantic barrels of baby pablum  for all the children who lived here long ago.  Our minds just don’t want to go further than that.

I love it when people get creative with rocks.  Usually when I see other statues of stacked rocks I think they are there to help us P1020995 find our  way.  It is impossible that anyone thought I, Casey, could get lost on the River Trail and yet they took the time to create this piece of art just in case. Clearly this  is a man with a small pinecone hat.  He made my day; he’s right sized!  There is a large stack of rocks on top of a boulder on the Wiebe trail also.  Many creative people have built villages of these little statues. They always make my day too!  To whomever did this, thank you.

We saw so much more because we were going  so slowly.  We had time to see the minute details of rocks, the very last dandelion, P1030020  little gnome homes built into the base of a tree trunk, old gnawed beaver logs.  The  leaves were obviously  having a contest to see which tree would hang on to the very last leaf in the forest.

The world is a crazy place.  Soldiers dying in foreign lands. Hatred.  People living  in fear. Hunger. Abandoned animals.  Polar bears drowning for lack of ice.  When these thoughts whirl through my head they make it hard for me to go to sleep. I may be a dog but I get scared  for the  next generation just like any human does.   Slowing down and  noticing the tiny miracles that  occur in nature can slow my pulse and calm my heart.  If, however, you find that you still feel morose, just can’t handle your sad thoughts any longer, do what I do.  Sit your butt down in some ice cold water, preferably near a waterfall.  After about ten minutes youwon’t feel a thing. See ya later.


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