Sunday, March 3, 2013


Many people comment on how well I am doing. They see me posting about going to the gym, biking 30 miles, hiking 12, swimming, obstacle course racing, bla bla bla. Yep, I am doing all those things. However, I am also fully aware that what I am trying to do is build a strong physical body to protect my vulnerable mind and so broken heart.

It started out all so simply. A friend was hiking pretty regularly after work. She was coming from a place of wanting to be active and to keep weight off. I could have cared less about my weight. Having always been very thin my entire life, weighing 158 should have concerned me, but it did not. In fact, when it came to me, myself and I, I cared not at all.

Gracie, 2-years-old
That said, one day I decided to take a walk--with my baby horse. She was overly attached to Nikki. She had turned two a few months earlier and I really needed to get working with her. So I haltered her up and decided to take a stroll with her off the property. 100 yards later, just out of eyesight of Nikki, she freaked out and started screaming for her. Nikki promptly nickered back. I turned the corner to continue on with her and she started back to the barn, not the direction I was taking her. Let's just fast forward. A few corners later she threw a complete tantrum and bit me in the arm. Without thinking, I kicked her in the ass hipbone and broke my ankle. Three weeks out of work and 10 pounds heavier, again, I didn't care.

late September 2011

A few months later, Denise, who I hadn't seen since Taylor died came to stay with me for a few days.  While she was here she asked when was the last time I had walked the dogs? pfffffft. Really? She commented about how sad they looked and we should take them for a walk. Now living in the national forest, walking is beautiful, in fact, everything here is beautiful. But since Taylor had died, I saw beauty no where.  It just ceased to exist. On that walk, Denise kept pointing out the faces in the oak trees and pretty wild flowers here and there, how happy the dogs were, and on and on. I felt like a zombie just nodding my head. When she left a few days later she asked me to please promise her to take the dogs on more walks. I very hesitantly mumbled ok. 

So I started walking. First, up and down the street. But I got sick of the cars and the dogs tripping me on the leashes and other people's dogs running loose and charging us and waving back to people who waived to me. So I took off for the hills.

The first "hike" was up a hill (huff and puff, huff and puff), down that hill and onward. I let the dogs off their leashes and they sniffed and ran and came back over and over again. I walked 20 minutes and then turned around and came back.  I could not make it up the back of the first hill without stopping.  I was so completely winded I had to stop several times to catch my breath.

I kept at that hill. After a few hikes under my belt, I was determined that I would NOT stop on the way back up that hill, no matter what.  It was sheer determination that got me to the top that day. It wasn't pretty, but I did not stop. And for the first time since Taylor died I felt that I had actually accomplished something (insert theme song from Rocky: trying hard now, getting strong now....). I have never stopped on that particular hill since that day. No matter how tired I am, I push up that fucking hill.

And that is how it all started.

And something else happened. I started to notice that the birds sang sometimes. And when it snowed a few weeks later, I remembered that I really liked snow. And when it rained, I remembered how lovely running water and streams sounded. By spring I had the smell of sage, and wild lavender. And I started to reconnect to the place that I had always found comforting -- the mountains.

Gotta love me some Denise.

NOTE: Denise told me later that she laid that whole "the dogs look so sad" comment on me to get me out of the house and interacting with something. She also knew the endorphines wouldn't hurt me any either. Sly woman, that Denise. She also brought me back to goddess. But that is a different post.


  1. I especially love that you continue to push up that fucking hill. <3 Love, Jennie

  2. We do love us some Denise!