The Skies of Iowa

Driving along I90 through South Dakota and then Minnesota and finally, into Iowa, the scenes change, but not that dramatically. When I reached my destination today in Waterloo, IA, the skies were the most interesting I have encountered thus far on my trip.

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img_0791After about an hour, the storm finally reached us. Thunder, lightning, and lots of heavy rain! It lasted a good part of the night.

The skies are such a mirror into how I feel and cannot be conveyed just by words alone. Always changing inside, from melancholy to excited, and on to serene and happy with Lympia, and also a sense of resolve. I have finally made it: I now can wake up without anxiety about how I might put my rig together without asking for help. I can do it! This task was causing me a great deal of anxiety over the last several weeks, thinking I might have made another mistake by assuming this was doable. Yes, it’s doable!

Laurie saw my anxiety when she visited me in Banff, BC. We had a great time! Here are some of the great sites we visited.  Some that are not shown are the Tea House at the top of Mount Agnes, the gondola ride up a mountain, etc. Lympia was in seventh heaven with Laurie’s abiding love and concern for her as Lympia sat at her feet. (Also with Amy, and so will others who come and visit).

lakelouis3Lake Louis, BC

Unbelievable glacial water color!

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Laurie and me at Lake Louis

mt-rundlebanffMt Rundle, Banff – the cliffs are shearlauriebowriverbanff

Laurie standing before the Bow River in Canmore, Alberta;  a river that combines with 2 others and finally reaches the Hudson Bay. 

canmoreA wonderful hike up the hill in Canmore to Grassi Lakes. Laurie actually swam in these glacial waters!

After my visit with Laurie, I went into Montana to see my dharma buddy, Sheila from the program I just completed, and her husband Joe. It was such a respite while I gathered myself for the long drive to Chicago where I will visit with Matt and friends from PEN (Tom’s org: Progressive Education Network). I will see him on Monday after the Toronto Film Festival where he is working this weekend.

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Just above Sheila and Joe’s house in Kalispell, MT

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Sheila in her home

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Joe, Sheila’s husband on our trip to Glacier Nat’l Park.

 

img_0757I learned from Joe that you can tell a glacier valley by the shape of the valley: soft and curved is glacial; a sharp ‘v’ is caused by erosion and rivers.

Absolutely gorgeous park and I am so grateful to Joe for taking me for a full day as Sheila recovered from a bad cold. Wonderful to reconnect with a dharma buddy. The three of us melded well as we sat each morning in a beautiful room with a view of the outdoors. When I left them on Monday, I traveled through some of the most gorgeous terrain in Montana and Wyoming.

After Chicago, I will visit with my dreamer friend, Janis for a couple of weeks in Montreal and Quebec. Realizing I never gave you an idea of who my dreamer buddies are, I offer these photos after one evening of eating and sharing. (I think it was a birthday celebration)

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Barbara, Bobby, Jane, Janis and Maya. (There are now newer members but sadly, I don’t have pics of them)

Colter Bay, Jackson Lake  – at my campsite        colterbayjacksonlake5

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The Grand Tetons!

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I will definitely come back next year and stay for a full week. There is too much to see and it is so close to Yellowstone, another favorite.

So, my overall mind state and health are ok; I do find myself inordinately sad when people leave from visiting. In fact, (maybe you can relate?) I even get sad when I’ve been driving with a vehicle I’ve noticed around, for many miles on the same road and suddenly they exit! I say to myself, ‘oh, do you really have to go?’ Pathetic, I know. And really, it’s not suddenly for them, is it?! This is to say I MISS YOU ALL!

But, I do have to say these last few months (it’s already been just shy of 3!) has really shown me how connected I am to you and how difficult it was to leave. There are events (even tragic ones) happening in the Bay Area I would prefer to be there for, but as I set this course, it was my intention to remove myself from the habits of the everyday and shake myself into a new reality. I believe this is what I am doing.

The experience of independence, really since I first came to California, is liberating. It is crucial I get this, I get what it means to be responsible for myself, to care for Lympia, and to go on with my life. There are those of you cheering me on, thank you. There are those of you who will also say, ‘It’s about time!’ Yes. We all have our karmic paths.

On my way to see Laurie in Banff, I stayed in a neat little town called Kamloops. Here are some photos of that visit.

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Black banana slug! So cool; isn’t she beautiful? I didn’t even notice what she was eating until later I saw what I would be posting! It looks like it might either be a tomato or a worm. 

kamloopscampFrom my campsite 

 

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Gorgeous birch as she unravels

After my time with Matt in Chicago where we will see plays, go on a boat tour to learn the architecture of the city, maybe listen to some music, go to a museum, I will spend two weeks with my dream group friend, Janis. Stayed tuned….

Lympia is adjusting well to the truck – she no longer shakes in the truck, only just before, when she knows we are leaving our temporary home. In spite of eating everything in sight – including guano, dog poop and old food found on the ground, she is very lean – thanks to the consistent hiking with Laurie. I think this is characteristic of rescue dogs – they were scavengers on the streets first and maybe fear they’ll never get another morsel of food again.

 

Beautiful visits with friends, gorgeous sites, a working vehicle (!) and a loyal dog. What more could I ask for? And tomorrow, September 11, my granddaughter, Isabella turns 9. Happy Birthday, my love!   Much love to you all, Elizabeth

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