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Opportunity to be Blessed

I share this not for a pat on the back, but to point out how attitude is everything.  I have found myself slipping in that area and must be mindful – today was a reminder.

Ran out to our local Dollar General (you know, that place where nothing is a dollar) for some bits and bobs because I did not want to go into ‘town’.

I’m in line and to my right it became clear,  was a man (with three little ones) having issues at the register.

I hear, “Sorry” a few times and step in.

Me: How short are you? (Because we’ve all been there right?)

Him: Oh, it’s not that – they can’t change a hundred.

Me: I can do that for you. (Because for one day I could after receiving a recompense.)

Him: Thank you so much!

I return to placing my items on the counter and hear him talking to his checkout person.

Them: Sorry about that.

Him: No worries, I had an opportunity to be blessed.  Everything happens for a reason.

Wow.  An opportunity to be blessed.  I’m so stubborn, I don’t allow such opportunities.  I DO count my blessings.  But, to hear it put that way – just – wow.

He had three very patient, well-behaved kidlets who now didn’t have to be dragged to one of our rural gas stations to get change then return to the shop for their suspended sale.

He wasn’t inconvenienced.  He was calm and kind and ushered his little herd out the door with a “Thank you again.”

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Now I’ll share a little about the drive to the shop.

I’ve alluded to how rural we are – and how dangerous the highway that splits our town in two is.

Apparently a little more dangerous further you go up the hill according to this sign.  Yes, it’s real – yes, I took this pic.  (I was a passenger at the time, let’s not dilute my ongoing rant with ‘But you took a pic while driving).

Back to the route at hand,

I mean, you have to be on point!  Guessing what the ‘non-locals’ may potentially do.  (Unfortunately, locals too.)

There are OH so many crosses up and down the road, the pass and the grade,  I’ve memorized most of them.  You’d think that would serve as foreshadowing to the drivers that I encounter, sadly they don’t.

So, ‘heading out to the shop’ is not as simple as it might be elsewhere.

If you so much as see a rabbit running across the road in front of you – there must be a thought process.

  1. Is it running FROM something?  Should I expect to break for a coyote?
  2. Is there a car behind me?  (Okay, that should be number 1 probably)
  3. Can I brake in time to avoid a collision, or do I need a plan b and where may I swerve safely?

We literally have signs.

BIG highway signs lit up asking the driver to take: CAUTION! CAUTION! CAUTION! Watch for animals!

Smaller signs:

 

That’s just when encountering a critter.

Then comes the actual road – and bonkers traffic.  Timing is everything.

I’ve learned to turn off my ‘give a fuck’ about people behind me at a stop sign.  I am NOT going until I am certain I can safely navigate the turn onto the highway.

I’ve been honked at once, and wanted to bolt out of the car and remind them about the crosses.  Go ahead, go around me – take your chances, and chances are when you’re hit, I’ll still stop and help you.  But, let’s avoid all of that and just chill the heck out!

Back to the animals, says the Queen of Tangents.

I seriously need glasses.

On the way to work Friday I saw someone switch to the left lane for no apparent reason ahead of me.

I squint and think to myself, “Is that a person?”  (On the side of the road, not the lane switcher LOL).

Now, I’ve known for a while I need glasses.  But when you have a laundry list of things you need, somethings that are important start sliding down that list.

I squint harder … “Is that a bush?”

I squint harder, now practically on TOP of the ‘thing’ – “Oh … a cow.”

A large, uninterested, grass filled mouthed cow.  In the ‘bicycle’ lane (I don’t know what it’s technically called out here) of our very dangerous highway.

I would love to tell you there was a great amount of distance between my first guess and my realization, but there was not.

Obviously doesn’t help my commute that I can’t SEE – so I may have to bump that up the list.

But, what I did see today – gratitude and calmness – was enough to open my eyes and return me to a mindset of the same.

Maybe that needs to be on a sign too.  Although, some would probably pay as much attention to it as they do the others.

I’ll just keep my eyes on my own paper and try to practice it myself.

 

 

 

 

 

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Of Mountains (and Men who make me climb them)

Was discussing something I’d misplaced with my boyfriend and suggested it might still be in his car the other night.  He replied with one of the funniest sentences of the weekend.  “Yeah, well, you did jump up and run into the house.”

Blatant lie.  I turned to him with a very straight face as I pointed out to him, (like a seasoned defense attorney having trapped the witness with solid evidence), #1, I do NOT jump.   And #2, I do not ‘run’.  Pfffft.  I rest my case your honor.

But, I DO hike.

It’s become a ‘thing’.  A thing I never used to do yet, after Christmas revealed, a thing I’m evidently going to be doing a lot more of.  Hiking boots, backpack, headlamp etc. came in cheery holiday packages.  Ho! Ho! Ho!  Mer-ry Walkin’!

Have to say though, that I truly do enjoy being out there.  Especially like it because it pleases my guy to no end.  I love seeing him smile.  Treasure watching him find a vein or possible ore on the ground and love it when he excitedly shows it to me or teaches me some geological ‘thing’.

And we ‘meander’.  It’s not like we’re marching at some wild pace.  We take in the surroundings and sometimes I’ll pass him up and vice-versa.  We do stay out for hours though, so a lot of ground gets covered.

Our latest hike started out like that:

 

Then … took a turn.  Or, rather, an INCLINE.

Him: “I really want to check out that rock – I see it from the road and pretty sure something is up there.”

Me: “I don’t think I can climb that …”

Him: “There’s a fence, see?”

Me: (Hallucinating a fence for the hell of it and putting my complete trust in him that it exists) “O.K.”

He’s navigating this mountain like a champ.  Me?  I’m praying each rock I grab is in fact anchored in some fashion and I’m repeating a mantra in my head that went a little something like this:  “Please don’t let me fall off of this mountain.”

Got to that point where I was half way up and screwed.  Because as much trouble as I was having going UP, I knew down would be worse.  My guy had assured me there was a way to cut around once we’d reached the top and circle back around to the car.  Much like that fence fable, I believed him.  There was no fence.  The fence that had been my deciding factor in even attempting to scale this beast, because once reached, I was going to cling to it as I went higher.

Might be a good time to mention I’m afraid of heights, so, there’s that.

A couple of times he turned around to lend a hand.  A couple of times he turned around to see me in the oh so flattering position of crawling on my hands and knees with brow knotted in fear.

Not entirely sure how, because there were a few times I was literally frozen in fear and couldn’t move without his encouragement, BUT, we made it.  (“We” made it, like there were any doubt he was going to.)

This was the view – and I ASSURE you, the pictures do not do the height or the fear justice.  It’s like trying to take a photo of a full moon on a phone.

 

Well, you be the judge.  This is the view from the top.

 

 

Oh, see that board?  That’s a ‘don’t step over me’ board.  Note next pic.

Right after this happened, I heard, “I KNEW it!”

He had found the mine he suspected was up there.

I found the nerve (after an extended visit with the sturdiest rock I could find)  to get up and peek at what he spied.  Um, to the left of him in that picture, guess what’s there?  Go ahead.  Guess.

NOTHING!!!  A sheer freaking drop.

This was the mine entrance … (would have been a better picture, only, I didn’t want to die).

I sat back down while he collected soil samples and picked at various rocks.  While I sat I wondered a) How we were going to get down because that sheer drop sure as hell wasn’t an option.  b) how much a helivac might cost and would I have to be injured or would they just collect me?  c) If I prayed really hard, would my friend put in a good word for me in case there IS an afterlife.

I eventually was able to stand and don my backpack again.  And, wouldn’t you know it?  There was a way to descend in a criss-crossy manner down the same flipping mountain that was 75 times less scary than the ascension.  Where was this route going up?   Seriously??  Cheese and Rice!

I did feel very happy once we were on semi-flat earth again.  Had that adrenaline rush of accomplishment and near-death.

Back to non-life threatening hiking.

We made it to the car and decided to check out an area further down that had mines to explore.

Now, THESE I am not afraid of.   I get to wear my head lamp and barbed wire be damned, plunge into the unknown.  Only thing that’s a little disconcerting is the fact that there’s usually bedding for a 4 legged variety resident.  We’ve yet to meet up with any occupants though.

 

The best part (other than being outside with nature and my guy) is the delicious exhaustion once back in civilization.

I always feel like I could keep going forever once I’m out there, but we were both nodding off on the couch once home.  Time well spent.

And –  AND!  I didn’t fall off of a mountain.  Halle-flipping-lujah!