Slow Down

IMG_8378I took a walk recently with the dog around the backyard. I occasionally like to walk the perimeter, especially this time of year. At some point a number of years ago I planted many daffodil bulbs in various spots, as I recalled fondly the large patch we had below our home facing the Kanawha in Charleston. The flowers would bloom in May and June, rising out of the large patches of ivy below the Oaks and Maples. My brother and I used to be sent down the old stone steps with scissors to bring up fresh flowers to brighten the kitchen. Last year, perhaps because I waited too long to turn on the sprinklers, only a few of the flowers bloomed in our backyard here in Missoula.  I have not yet turned on the sprinklers this year, though I see the neighbor has already taken a whack at his lawn. Why do neighbors do this?  There has been no growth whatsoever.  I am certain we will receive more snow as we always do, and if the sprinklers are on they’re sure to freeze. So, this year I may take a water pail out and be sure the plants are in better shape.  Another fine thing about daffodils happens to be that for some reason the whitetails leave them alone. This is not so for tulips and other spring bloomers.  I noticed a few of the shoots poking through this week as there have been a few warmer days.
          As one may well notice, these little blurbs are not edited. This is characteristic of most journals and in that regard, such is life. Poetry (or, for me impromptu writing) often reflects one’s emotions and/or thoughts during a period. Perhaps a glance into a dark underbrush, watching a fish rise, taking a breath before a wondrous descent, seeing a dog’s retrieve, or simply looking at the clouds. The problem with (and honestly to me it’s not a problem or I would not post) writing an online journal is clicking the publish button prior to proofreading one additional time and catching things like shoot (plants) and chutes (Stupid Chute, Brighton UT). Or, ought (be morally right) as opposed to aught (anything whatever). One understands. I reckon after years of posting an online journal, this become less of an issue. However, I will say that Missoula Sheepheads (my former journal), during its lifetime, was principally on the Down Low (DL), as Dave once put it. The DL meant largely no last names as to draw no attention through search engines and not to have the race reports and other stray jargon in the limelight. This was to me a true journal with a large heaping of humility. Quietly mountain bike racing, fly fishing, rando racing, hunting, canoeing and so forth with friends and family. Well, in the age of selfies, I reckon a change was going to occur (there seem to have been countless) at some point and thus the present overt journal, concocted more recently.
          With the rising of the shoots comes the inevitable drive to ride in the mountains. This is especially acute given my lack of skiing (all types) this year.  The passion to ride mountain bikes developed following a partial patella rupture during the 05/06 ski season when a local Orthopod suggested I ride and pt out of the injury.  Imagine a Doc who recognizes the injury through an exam and an x-ray without requiring an expensive MRI and not stipulating anything further than a simple regimen of rebuilding. Atrophy as well as I’d begun to ski on one leg.  I bought a mountain bike from Max, who was wrenching at the time at a local shop (now a patroller who also heads the avy program for a hill in SLC). It’s interesting to note that most of these characters, outdoor types, have moved to areas such as Kalispell, Bozeman, Salt Lake and Boise. Hm?At any rate, cycling in the mountains became something to both get in a decent workout and clear the mind. The racing became a sidebar, an excuse really, to spend more time in the hills (“training”) cultivating further mountain bike technical skills. It was that simple. Fully relishing all nature had to offer. So, now when the shoots sprout, the tendency is to want to get out the bikes and ride and race again. However, as I learned during the last few race seasons, each weekend now is more oriented towards what is important at the moment; not training, but enjoying junior soccer games and volleyball as well. If I’m able to take in an occasional ride, great. Yesterday was the first Thursday night ride I’ve done (the group’s second this year), always quality time. I’ve also been getting in an occasional jog or pulling on the C2 to maintain some level of core. This has largely been the routine since the ’09 race season, when I enjoyed Leadville following one last Cascade Cream Puff. Photographing soccer tournaments and to some extent the volleyball also has been a joy; however, watching and being a part of Todd, Erin and Seth’s routines has been what it’s happily about. Recall the days of travel with your parents during sporting venues and I’m certain you understand – priceless.  Todd did some mountain bike racing as well as the LR (Little Rogue) back in the day, prior to futbol madness setting in!  Great memories in this area in Salmon, Idaho and other distant jaunts which generally included a tent and fly rods. Quality time fishing the Lemhi, the St. Joe, the Missouri or whatever stream happened to be about the venue.
          Getting back one Sunday evening recently, I believe we had been to Helena for soccer, I noticed once again the elk high in the hills above the neighbor’s farm below our backyard. At first I simply stood there observing like I have so often done over the last decade, not bothering to take a photo. Then, I realized, why should you not once again photograph such a magnificent sight? So, even though my lens can just reach out and maintain semi-decent focus, I snapped off a few. Maybe I’ll write another poem, too!

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