Montana Wolf

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Going Batty... Sojourn to Aspen and the Colorado Book Award Finals

I arrived Prescott, worked two days... well, completed paperwork... and took off for Aspen with a good friend who offered to drive. A chauffeur-for-tour-guide exchange, an amazing gift, given my recent hectic (some would say crazy) schedule.  And we took the dogs, which prompted me to hand-saw a cat opening from one of the bins into the living area of La Perla for HOBO. The night before I was to leave I met my neighbor Bill who offered to check on Hobo and give him lots of love. I'd never left him alone for 5 days and we'd only been at the new parking spot for a week. I was nervous but felt that if any cat could pull it off, it was savvy, ineffable HOBO.

The trip to Aspen was north over Wolf Creek Pass with a stop at Valley View Hot Springs. Yes, I know. I'd just visited. But the Brazilian free-tail bats weren't back yet and my friend had never been there. We landed, unpacked and walked from hot pool to pool. At sundown we made the hike up the mountain to a major glory hole from mining days in the Sangre de Cristos. We stood on the edge of the gargantuan, dark opening as the 250,000 bats began to fly up, out and over us, into the valley sky. Years ago I'd sat on my land at Dancing Raven a few miles south, drummed as the sun went down and watched these bats on their migration south. What a reunion this was. They began their journey at nightfall and continued into the night. We hiked down the mountain in the waxing moonlight and walked to the hot springs stream to watch the lightening bugs. The only place in Colorado where the blinking bugs are found.

Greg on Independence Pass
The next morning we were off to Aspen for the CO BOOK AWARDS. A gallant golden eagle greeted us as we dropped into the San Luis Valley. Perched huge as could be on a fence post a few feet from the gravel road. We traveled over Independence Pass, between Granite and Aspen, with an above-timberline stop on the way. We started down the other side and another Golden flew low overhead. Omens. I felt so very good about my chances to take top prize at the Awards. My friend Carol (and her friend Theresa) from Dolores joined me in Aspen. As did Lori from Denver. My friend Greg musta felt like he'd died and gone to heaven in the presence of the Goddess-gang. I felt so full and good, loved and supported by friends near and far, including Facebook and email friends.

Before the Awards
Harrison Fletcher, another contender, approached me before the announcement; said he had read Drive Me Wild and loved it. "I wish we could both win," he said sincerely, as he bid goodbye and returned to his seat. As our names were announced my stomach flipped and excitement prevailed. The winner was Harrison for his wonderful story, Descanso for My Father. I was thrilled for him and would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. And yet, there I was, sitting in Aspen amidst glorious authors and their books.

Maroon Bells
We could have finished the day listening to Jackson Browne in a park; or jazz in another park. But I needed nature and the Maroon Bells were one of my favorite places in the world. We packed up the vehicles, food and champagne (compliments of the motel since they didn't have my room ready), a huge bouquet of flowers from Carol, and headed for the Bells. We picnicked, hiked and took in the awe. For myself, I let the recent past moments soak in.
  We completed the day with a steak dinner on the balcony of Jimmy's in downtown Aspen and a
Carol and Teak after Ophir Pass
private bubble bath jacuzzi in the room. Ya, fun. We caravanned with Carol and Theresa back to Dolores, making the turn onto the Ophir jeep trail for a 4-wheel drive sweep of the Rocky Mountain Peaks. Raucous/rock us.

I could not have imagined a more outlandish, heartfelt trip. The generosity and fun of friends was a life-swelling. And yet, I know the magic is not over. What were those eagles about? The bats? The fireflies?  What was the special light that emanated from the Maroon Bells and into my soul?

Carol and I - Our Sedona Moment
I begin regular schedule with my job in the Prescott Forest tomorrow. I worry about the energy shift from the latest book. And time to write the sequel. I tense, and then I remember the card that appeared on my table at the Awards in Aspen, a picture of me with the  quote the Colorado Humanities had asked me to write for that special awards day, when I'd quickly scribbled:

Writing is nothing less 
than the declaration of spirit; 
the scratchy act of ink to paper 
in tune with the cadence of the soul.

Cowgirl up, Muse. I'll be back, Aspen. With Hobo.

Road Dreams


You can order Drive Me Wild: A Western Odyssey in paper or ebook from Amazon, your favorite bookstore, or your favorite ebook platform. And while yer skipping around the web, savor my new website.

Blessings and thanks to ALL. For the wild...

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on the marvelous, loving journey! And thanks for sharing it with those less mobile in this moment.