Montana Wolf

Friday, June 3, 2011


I look in the rear view mirror, through time. A ribbon of asphalt extends from the mist and clouds of British Colombia south to Kino Bay, Mexico. The Bahia by the sea ... my recent winter home at the edge of the ocean where I finished my book. A large Ziploc of jingle shells jiggles n giggles from the cupboard next to the bed. Only now do I begin to feel the top of my foot, overcoming the nerve-deadening toxins of the sting ray cut. The foot still swells daily. Five days before I departed Kino friend-Wendy asked if I wanted to accompany her to a party. Sure, I said. Shall I bring someone? You can, she answered, but I wouldn't if I were you. Thus, I met Dan that night, the host of the party. It was one of those looks across the room that changes the course of life. We talked; he asked to come see me the next day and did. He asked to come see me the next week in Bisbee, and did. 

 From Kino to Arizona and Bisbee/Naco: I miss my little corner of birds where I parked on Emilie and Paul's land. I learned how easy it is to create a sanctuary, and wonder if climate change doesn't make the winged ones more desperate for whatever assistance they can garner in a desert in its 13th year of drought. Emilie just posted a blog ( on the fire in the near-by Chiracahua Mountains, one of the most bird-rich regions in the country and host to Mexico's Elegant Trogan and myriad hummers. It was a good five weeks on the border. Daughter Hope showed up for Mother's Day and we hit the Sonoita Rodeo, had fun at the Sonoita bar and streamed across wide open Arizona spaces. And, Dan showed up for four days of getting to know ya. Ya.

From Arizona to the Four Corners of SW Colorado and a week with sister-friend Babette. What a gift to weave tales, laughs and cigar smoke. I closed out bank accounts, visited my chiro and finished mundane business. And I discovered that the Ex-named-Tom was intent on stealing my Bengal cat, Pooka. We had decided to leave her with him a year prior. Now that both our lives had shifted, it was time to reconnect and decide her fate. I wanted her back if possible, but I was also open to leaving her behind if that's what was best for Pooka. But EX didn't answer emails or phone calls. Class act. I coulda pushed. I talked to my lawyer. I knew where he lived in the ancient land of pottery shards. I decided, instead, to let it go. There would be no pussy custody fight. His Karma. Theft: it's a metaphor. The universe does work in mysterious ways and I have this sense that she'll make her way back to me.

I picked up Dan at the Durango airport and we began to travel north to Idaho where I planned to visit friends, check out relocating and be closer to Dan's home across the border in Creston, British Colombia. Position myself, if you will, to check out our friendship. We soon found ourselves in the sandstone canyons of Moab; we stopped in Willard Bay, north of Salt Lake City to bird, where we met the sweetest guy from New Orleans: he'd stopped driving a truck after 30-some years, bought a Harley and with his wife's blessing, took off on his solo dream of driving across the United States. I relished his thick Cajun accent and lanky, bearded body adorned with the red bandana and black leathers.We had a glorious time with friend Phyllis in Twin Falls ~~ took in Shoshone Falls and our fav Mystic hot springs. Onto Boise to see Johanna who was in recovery from a raucous graduation party the night before. Didn't stop us from hitting several thrift stores, however. By this time the travel plan was morphing. I'd figured on a stop in Sandpoint and set up my life, 90-minutes south of Creston. Now I found myself accepting Dan's invite to stay on a gorgeous piece of land outside of Creston overlooking the Kootenay River and ringed by mountains. "Whad'ya think he was gonna do, Christina, drop you off in Sandpoint and say, 'See ya later?'" chimed girlfriend Carole. "Whad'ya think I was gonna do," said Dan, "Drop you off in Sandpoint and say, 'See ya later?'" I laughed. "OH CAN A DA" echoed through my ears. Catchy tune I still remembered from my landed immigrant days during the Viet Nam war.

I have been in Creston almost a week. It is a gorgeous little town, lush green with trees, lawns, orchards, vineyards and flowers galore. Five minutes and I'm in tall pine and cedar trees walking up mountainsides. It is a primo bird migratory area at the southern tip of 100-mile long Kootenay Lake. How do you spell 'heaven?' Yesterday Dan and I hiked up to waterfalls where I was reminded of prior trips to BC and the realization that Canuck trail makers don't favor switchbacks. Trails here go straight up, and I wasn't acclimated to gaining altitude in high humidity. The wildflower show, however, was the perfect excuse to catch my breath. Larkspur, paintbrush, lupine, wild violets, shooting stars and waist-high skunk cabbage carpeted  mountain and creek sides.

On the toe-crunching trip down the mountain I spotted a Fairy Slipper Orchid at the side of the trail. A shocking sight, for she usually prefers secluded haunts. This flower spirit is also called Calypso, so named for the sea nymph of Homer's Odyssey, who detained the willing Odysseus on his return from Troy. I can relate. The endangered flower's stunning beauty stopped me in my tracks and had me on my belly with my camera. Part of me is still there with her, laying on the mossy ground.

The other part of me continued into town with Dan, where we treated ourselves to dark chocolate and blueberry gelato. When he attempted to withdraw $20 from the ATM it spewed out $80 into the air. As one who reads signs and omens I venture to say I'm right where I need to be. My Mexico tan fades with every passing day, I must drive across the border to my Idaho mailbox and I've switched my Verizon phone plan from US to North American. My southwest friends write of wind, dust and wildfire as I am covered in gray puffs of cloud and frequent rain.

I never stopped saying EH from those earlier Canada days.


  1. Many folks have emailed and facebooked to say they tried to comment but couldn't. I'm trying to break the ice here ... see if i can make it work! Thanks, everyone.

  2. gabriele rissmeyerJune 23, 2011 at 8:44 PM

    Christina...You are amazing...Thank you...I just finished your book Living on the Spine...I found it in the free box in Crestone...Just spent a week there myself after being left by my traveling companion...Fortunately, I only do fortunately, I spent the most amazing week on Indian Pipe Way experiencing the wind, creek, birds and SILENCE...We have so much in common and I fell finding your book was such a gift...