journal . stories . life

30 ~ April 2024

Late April Overnight Backpacking trip: Little Jess had never encountered lightning and thunder so close when a midnight thunderstorm lit up the sky and shook the mountain. She jumped up terrified the first three thunder booms. I talked to her and she calmed down, figuring out she was safe with dad in the tent. Our wonderful new Mountain Hardwear Outpost 2 tent stayed dry and secure through the rain. The thunderstorm passed over and we woke to sunny skies the next morning.

(click on photos below for larger image . . . - Esc or clicking outside of image will close it)

More journal notes:

I received this thank you letter today from one of the 5th graders at an elementary school classroom I told stories in every month throughout the school year. What a nice thought it is that someday a healthy young man or woman might be up high in a wilderness inspired by the beauty of wild nature, and maybe remember an old man that used to tell stories of adventure and love for the Earth, and show photos/videos of mountain wandering with his dogs.. I cannot imagine a better legacy.

Even though the school year is ending, it inspires me to continue reading throughout the summer, to line up stories for the 2024/25 school year.

I finished my last story for the year yesterday, and so now I enter the time of the year where I have less human contact - no monthly stories in all the classrooms with all the students and their wonderful teachers. I often spend most of the week just talking to my border collies and chickens. Going to weekly dances breaks that up, which is amazing, but it is hard to have conversations there because of the music playing.

I have tried to make some more connections via dating sites, but that has not worked out very much. Part of the problem is that I am honest about wanting some conversation and periodic contact, but am not looking for a relationship. Not really what a lot of women want to hear. The other thing is I am aging out of the dating scene, which is ok.

The solution is a matter of accepting what is, and enjoying that I am still here and healthy. I have these smart and loyal border collies that make my life rich with their companionship.

My life has been hard at times. I almost bled out from being knifed when I was 24. I survived through a divorce and a broken heart from a long love. I lived through cancer a decade ago, and more recently some heart problems. Yes, hard at times, but I have adjusted. The dancing I do every week, the walks and hikes and adventures with my border collies, the storytelling in schools, all keeps me going, adds some spice to my days and weeks.

The thing that made it harder recently is that I had someone criticize me for all these things I have done to adapt to my life alone, which I don’t quite understand at all. Yes, I probably take too many selfies when out backpacking with the dogs; yes, I dance with young women, (although I dance with older women too); and yes, I do storytelling in schools, which takes up a lot of my time from September to May. It is very hard to figure out why I would be picked on for the life I have now.

Eventually, after recovering from the stress it all created, I came to the realization that the bottom line all this person wanted to do is bring me down a notch. That is as far as I will attempt to figure it out; because, and this is very important, you should never let anyone limit your joy. Life is short and there will always be sorrow intermixed with joy. The joy and beauty is what takes the edge off of getting older, and is what makes life worth living.

April 2024 backpacking

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart"