Lock The Door, Put Out The Cat…

Years ago … actually it seems a different century…. I was in my first year of college, a small university between North Louisiana & South Louisiana.  The Cane River elegantly flowed through town.  I fell in cahoots with another young student who eloquently, and through his actions, emphasized the importance of foolishness and fun.  I’ll refer to him as  Caleb, a gifted, talented, banjo player who jammed well with other bluegrass musicians.  Some of the tunes I remember Caleb playing with fiddlers, string bassists, guitar-men, (and other musicians) were:

  • Foggy Mountain Breakdown
  • Will The Circle Be Unbroken
  • Midnight Train to Memphis

One tune was “Let’s Go Stepping”.   Emma Lou Harris sang a tune entitled “I’ll Go Steppin”, which was basically the same as the one I am referring to … but with some different lyrics.  What I remember was “Lock the Door, Put Out the Cat, Let’s Go Steppin!”  This past weekend, my better half & I “lined up our ducks in a row (an expression)” and finally got away for a three-day weekend.  I was reminded of this song with all the excitement of loading up the jeep, confirming reservations for a place up in Manitou Springs, a friend coming to the house to hang out with our dogs and our kiddos (we don’t have any cats).  So, here is what happened.  We went up to Manitou Springs, stayed in a nice place, had some good food, good coffee, good desert, and saw some beautiful places.  ‘Ever heard of the Garden of the Gods?  I’ve got me a new journal …. I never buy journals, because notebooks are beautiful things, and cheap.  But I’m pushing through a process, right now … And a special journal devoted to these specific dynamics / thoughts happening in the midst of this process seems to be what needs to happen.  It’s all about finding that rhythm … getting the tune down, locking the door, put out the cat, the dogs, and go steppin’.  See some new places, eat some good food, drink some good coffee, find our true North  … Then, that “last day” comes.  Often times it comes with a little dread.  But not this time.  We knew that we wanted to make our last day worthwhile … and we did.  But as we were driving homeward, my bride put excellent words to it (even though I’m paraphrasing): “It was so crowded this morning, while you were still sleeping … I went to the coffee shop.  The traffic was ridiculous (even in a small little place like Manitou Springs), the noise,  the crowdedness … Our waiter last night was a really nice kid, but one of the biggest air-head waiters ever … ”  The point is that where we live is where it is the most quiet, where there is the most restoration.  We’ve experienced this phenomenon before, but maybe never with so much clarity.   When we all came back together, again, we were so glad to see our kiddos.  They had a great time, while we were gone, and the dogs didn’t have any complaints, either.  It is definitely good to get out and see some sights.  And it is definitely good to get back, and sleep in your own bed.


It is Well, the Trail

 1993, August, Grand Teton National Park, on the Death Canyon trail to Static Peak, I came around a bend and saw the first bull moose I had ever seen (up close).  I don’t have a picture of this magnificent beast.  I will, however, remember that he was the biggest animal I have come that close to: the neck, massive; the rack, I estimated was six feet across; dark piercing eyes  exuding a strength that convinced me to turn around … on the trail … and go back around the bend, and decide what to do, next.  Here’s an image I found of a bull elk:  
*Note: one of my favorite blogs, “i didn’t have my glasses on”, and the recent post entitled “Trail” motivated me to write this post:  https://ididnthavemyglasseson.com/2016/05/17/trail/

The trail is a profound place to be.  I have followed paths through wildernesses that have enveloped me with fragrances; pristine colors; the wonder of trees; creeks, boulders … The trail is where I escape concrete, street lamps, and automobiles.  Some examples:

Specimen Mountain Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park;  Rolling Creek Trail, Pike National Forest; Mount Falcon Park trails, Indian Hills; Death Canyon Trail, Grand Teton National Park; Cedar Falls Trail, Petit Jean State Park; and Adam Falls Trail / Mount Craig Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park … for a short list.

Teton Crest Trail, Death Canyon Shelf, Grand Teton National Park

I’ll close with this.  There is a book worth looking into, entitled Last Child In The Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder, written by Richard Louv.  Second item, I want to acknowledge that I have had some serious “blogger’s block” (like writer’s block).  My continued visits to my favorite blogs have been a part of this “calling” out of my own wildernesses, to finally get a post written again.  Interesting how that works, bloggers helping bloggers.  We all have our trails, and sometimes they are difficult.   

Maxwell Falls Trailhead, Pike National Forest


Trailhead, Adams Falls, Rocky Mountain National Park