Hey Lou Writes

The Grey Matters


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To Me, A Perfect Day

Blog Everyday in May Challenge.

Day 9, Thursday: A moment in your day (this can be just a photo or both a photo and words)

I have a few. This morning (yay for days when work starts after 10 A M!) we made our coffee and breakfasts, sat outside, and got to work. It was lovely. To me, a perfect day.

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The little flowers are growing! We’re going to make a boarder around the outside, to grow more and make it pretty :)

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workin’ up a sweat!

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We watered and Greg planted corn on the sides. Woop woop.

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my favorite lou

I hope your day is off to a good start, too!

<3 Lou

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APPEAL

APPEAL

By Melinda Williams

“They’re going to stop us, too,” Cindy said.

I didn’t want to believe her. But she had been right. The moment was so long ago… so in the past. Yet, I thought of the statement daily. Her words, the ones that really came true. How could I have expected anything else to happen?

It wasn’t too cold or hot. The temperature outside was like the kind a person can’t feel. Body temperature. And yet, each person felt what else was in the air. Unrest. Drought. No movement. The world had gone still and although the air was nice it held within it a danger that did more damage than cold or hot ever had. It wasn’t carrying coolness that would hint of a rushing river nearby. It held no humidity to stick to the skin and cause musty nights on the porch. When I thought of Cindy, she was glowing with sweat from dancing with me. I hadn’t seen her in three years. Continue reading


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It’s The Little Things In Life

It’s the little, everyday things, that make life good. Today was such a good day. Nothing exceptionally exciting or amazing happened, but absolutely nothing bad happened, and a few nice things happened. My morning consisted of making breakfast and coffee with Greg, finishing up our spring cleaning, and listening to great music. I then joined Greg for his lunch at work, took some stuff to Goodwill, and returned back home to do a little more cleaning. Next Alex and Meredith came over, we had dinner, and that was pretty much it.

Amazing day. I can’t help but smile. Here are a few images I captured:

My new boots made me happy. They were affordable and comfy… keeping me warm all day long!

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Yay, boots!!

Our beautiful backyard! I came home, hung some clothes up on the line (how cool!!) and enjoyed the weather. Birds were flying above me… I just love being home <3

My backyard... I'm so lucky!

My backyard… I’m so lucky!

This tree is in my backyard. It’s crazy… it’s so picturesque!!!!!!!!!!

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The coolest tree ever

Yes, it’s the wild west here in Albuquerque. We have tumbleweeds! I saw this one on my way home an snagged a pic. I’m glad it didn’t blow in the wind and stick to the front of my car!

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huge tumbleweed!

Meredith and Alex made me laugh as we sat around and ate dinner!! Love it!! BFFL (best friends for life!) (I just made that up…. I think)

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alex and mer

My husband, Greg, sittin’ by my side and looking great! Could life get any better?

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Lou

I submit that it cannot!!

Can you see why it was an awesome day? I had a lovely scenery to gaze upon, fun friends and family at my table, and a tumbleweed blowing in the wind! It truly is the small things in life.

I hope you enjoyed your day, too!!

<3

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The other Lou


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Naturalism and Elk Hunting

NATURALISM and what HUNTING taught me.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Nature is a beautiful thing. The trees, the way they sway in the breeze, the fresh air, sounds of birds chirping all over the place… the cool and crisp morning that wakes you up. It all amounts to that stereotypical way many of us view nature- as a very peaceful, harmonious place. That’s so very true on many levels, but then again, there’s the side that is pretty downright vicious and mean and relies solely on survival of the fittest.

WHERE BOTH BEARS WERE SIGHTED!!!!

Take for instance, seeing my first BEAR. This might sound fun, like a movie or something, but I’ll tell you right now- it was scary. Greg saw two bears! I am thankful I only encountered one. After a day of calling elk in and not seeing any movement, I took the arrow off of my bow, made to leave the area, and when I stood back up there was a HUGE cinnamon bear (which we learned is technically a black bear) not more than twenty-five yards away. I began whispering to Greg (Fantastic Mr. Fox style, here) “Oh, cuss, oh, cuss, oh, cuss…” and hyperventilating. Greg kept calm, reminded me he had his pistol, while I’m shaking and trying to get my arrow back on my bow. The bear looked at us with its stuffed-animal-perfect -teddy-bear-face, and then disinterestedly walked away. WHEW. Talk about dodging a bullet, and that bullet is being eaten by a freaking bear.

Katniss style- my view when I hold my bow :)

NEVER before in my life had I been

a) in the wilderness for a full day of my life, from sun-up to sun-down

b) in a close proximity with something that could take my life in one swift move, or

c) so afraid for my actual life.

The whole aspect of nature and naturalism suddenly became close to home. I understood it better than ever before.

Amazing

In Jack London’s To Build a Fire, naturalism is quite clear. The man screws up, and the dog remains alive because of instincts. When my dad harvested his elk (woohoo!) I asked him if perhaps that cow elk’s “family” would miss her. He told me with confidence that no, nature is pretty indifferent to that sort of thing. The rest of the elk would move on without her and a new mature cow elk would take her place in keeping everyone together.

Now isn’t that a reality check? Nature is INDIFFERENT. None of those animals actually gives a care about us. They might care about each other, but that’s because as a group they are more likely to stay alive.

In Stephen Crane’s The Open Boat, nature is personified and glorified until the men realize it’s going to kill them. All of a sudden, nature isn’t such a beautiful and peaceful thing.

“If I am going to be drowned- if I am going to be drowned- if I am going to be drowned, why, in the name of the seven mad gods who rule the sea, was I allowed to come thus far and contemplate sand and trees?” (Because nature is indifferent!) …….

This man feels that nature wanting to kill him would be unnatural after all of the hard work he’s done in his life. It isn’t fair. He knows others have died the same way, but can’t help thinking it’s still unfair to HIM…

…”When it occurs to a man that nature does not regard him as important, and that she feels she would not maim the universe by disposing of him, he at first wishes to throw bricks at the temple, and he hates deeply the fact that there are no bricks and no temples. Any visible expression of nature would surely be pelleted with his jeers.”

Later, perhaps the best line of the entire story: “She did not seem cruel to him then, nor beneficent, nor treacherous, nor wise. But she was indifferent, flatly indifferent.”

It’s easy to lash out at something that “doesn’t care about us.” But isn’t it also a comfort to know that it isn’t all about us? That there’s a bigger picture of this Earth? That the world around us has many concerns and ways to survive? I think it’s humbling. I think it’s a reminder to work hard and stay as strong and fit as we possibly can. It’s a good incentive, don’t you think?

Before this hunting trip I tried getting into shape. I was doing it for my body (mostly just how it looked…) and so that I could keep up with my dad. My thoughts on physical health now? Stay in shape for that time when nature may get the better of us. When Greg and I were splitting our second protein bar out in the woods I kept thinking, “If I had to live on these…if I had to sleep out here…if I had to kill my own food for each and every meal…COULD I?” Would I survive? I went back and forth between “Yes, of course I could survive that. I’m tough” and “I would die right away.” (kind of like this…)

A good thought: even if nature is indifferent, there are people in my life who aren’t. Human love is unbeatable! My dad and my husband were there. They cared about whether the bear killed me or not. My family was praying for us while we were out in the wilderness. I have God, who cares about me more than any person, too. He created a nature that may be viewed as indifferent, but I care about nature even if it is indifferent to me.

Perhaps that’s why humans can’t simply live in peace. There will always be war (unfortunately) and destruction and people will always disagree. I love the idea that peace is possible. I am hopeful for it and I pray for it. But at the end of the day, I think it’s a very unrealistic thing to wish for. We are a part of nature, as much as living in our homes with our technology may feel like a separation from that. If we are a part of nature, it means it’s normal for us to have some tension and chaos and for moments to be anything but peaceful. If the world broke out into panic and all technology was gone, or food ran out, or some other disaster hit EVERYONE, I’m pretty sure we’d all be feeling a little bit more “survival of the fittest.” Even the most peaceful of person would want to survive, want their children to survive, and would go to almost any means in order to make that happen. This is what I truly believe, but I’d like to hear other thoughts.

Being that nature is so beautiful, I think that it would be a disservice to forget the other side… the side that isn’t so forgiving. That, in its own way, is beautiful too.


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Living Deliberately

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life…” Excerpt from Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Yes, I went to live deliberately for two and a half days, and I didn’t even have to screw over an Irishman in order to do it. (if you don’t know what that means, take a closer look at Walden…)

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Raglan’s Roost!

I wish I could live out in the woods deliberately, as Thoreau so beautifully stated. I came close this week when I had the opportunity to spend time at a cute cabin, complete with a name carved on the outside, “Raglan’s Roost,” with friends. The two nights spent there were great. I felt full of energy, even with the two pounds of bacon (and who knows how many pounds of cheese…) consumed by only four people. I felt inspired the entire time. What is it about watching the bird and squirrels eat peanuts from the comfort of a rocking chair? The air smelled sweet and fresh. The sunlight woke us up.

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The View!!!

“Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.” Walden, too…

I really did feel this way. Cheerful… like Mother Nature was inviting me to have a great day with her. I like living simply. I tried not to use my phone, which was easy because we had no service. I didn’t have my Kindle, but a real book of short stories. I wrote… on PAPER!! Let me tell you, I have a love/hate relationship with that. It’s nice to get an entire paragraph out quickly by typing fast. It takes time to write and the thoughts need to come out more deliberately. I think twice before each sentence. It was a good thing to get back to, if even for only two days. I rarely think to write with a pen and paper at home. It struck me how this all of a sudden made sense. Why not write on a real sheet of paper? I’m up in the mountains, after all. It simply felt right.

This is where I did that writing!

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Coffee on the Porch :)

I drank way toooo much coffee.

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Coffeeeeeee

We took two hikes total and walked along a river bed!

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Lou and Lou standing by river drop off

I wound up with two small scratches on my left ankle. NOT BAD!!! Greg and I were both worried I’d come out with way worse.

About to Hike….

The uphill hike… WORTH IT!

Beautiful. Simply stunning.

Did I ever mention that I love cows? I do. Happy cows make my day. Unhappy cows make me cry.

When we were out by the cabin we heard a loud “mooooo!” and little did we know, the cows were just down the hill from where we were. The dog we were with chased after them and so we hiked down the small distance and saw not one, not two… but a FAMILY of cows!!!! They’re honestly a little bit intimidating. I knew they wouldn’t charge. But I still ran away from them.

Some Cows….

The whole family! This is where I got nervous. They came much closer!!!

At the end of the day we played games. Thanks to Misty and Mackenzie (who invited us to the cabin in the first place) we now have a fun game called Chicken Foot under our belt. Get some dominos and have a ball! Call us for a fun night playing this! We’ll teach you how!!

Chicken Foot

And we played some scrabble…. Which I have never won in my life. I did score a 22, though. My highest scoring word yet. We were using a dictionary from the 80’s that didn’t yet have the word “Qi” in it, so my real glory moment was dashed to smithereens. It’s okay. I got over it.

What I had to work with…

The big question is this: Does being out in the wilderness really make a big difference creatively? I think in some ways, yes. I had peace and quiet, along with plenty of time to sit and ponder life. Being there made me want to be healthy so that I could keep up with what nature had in store for us. It’s not easy to climb a mountain or keep your balance in a river. It’s so fun to do it, though! When I sat down to write I wanted to look at the birds instead of my paper, truth be told. Nature is quite distracting, but in a great way. Sometimes it’s good to be distracted. We need to let our minds clear out of work and stress. I had to focus on the pine scent that came with the breeze and the sound of a raven in the distance, which was a great break from the constant rambling in my head. “Have I written enough today? Will that agent send me something other than a rejection letter? Should I self-publish? I’m hungry.” It calmed my nerves to simply settle down and notice the simple things in life, like a huge ground squirrel being chased by a tiny squirrel half its size. I find that I live more “deliberately” when I have something to do. I think of my ideas when I’m at work!

I’d like to know if people feel their best, creatively, or otherwise, when they venture out into nature. OR is it your comfort zone, like being at home, that makes you produce your best work? Does it depend on what the goal is? Does in depend on the day? Week? Year?

Let me know! :)

 

TRIP MADE POSSIBLE BY THIS AWESOME FAMILY!!!!!! We love the Bishops!!! :)

Misty and Mackenzie and of course… Jenson!