I make deals with myself, it’s how I get through summer and prevent myself from feeling overwhelmed. We take it one deal at a time, one day at a time.

I say, “If you can make ten rings, weed the entire garden and deal with the bills in the mail pile by Tuesday, you can go to Bozeman, ride your bicycle and have a hoot with your girlfriends for four days.”

I say, “If you can clean out the chicken coop, mow the entire lawn and clean all the floors in the house by tomorrow night, you can begin the next day with the ten mile mesa run you love.”

I say, “If you can get that batch of images edited and submitted along with invoices, sit still enough to return Becca’s phone call and stay patient and kind while talking with the WIFI people as you try to convince them that they just need to send out a technician to deal with the problem, you can go to McCall for a few days of quiet and cool.”

My little deals with myself keep me present in the moment, in the day I am living — they keep me illuminated and buoyant, they prevent deflation and exhaustion.  I try to be realistic about what I can achieve so I don’t get frustrated by time limitations or when there are life glitches or last minute schedule changes (which are the very soul of the fire season…last minute EVERYTHING…we’re an entire tribe on call in one way or another for six months).  My little deals give me something to look forward to, a bit of dessert, a reward for hard work.  They help me shed my stress because I grow focused enough on the tasks at hand that I suffer a delightful sort of tunnel vision.

Keep it simple.  Keep it necessary.  Make a deal.  Get it done.  Receive the reward.

Summer in a nutshell!

Gifts from McCall

Night Lights

7I9A0528 7I9A0534 7I9A0631It’s such an insane juxtaposition…but sometimes there is still beauty in the most terrible things.

7I9A0560 7I9A0567 7I9A0577 7I9A0578 7I9A0579 7I9A0581 7I9A0615 7I9A0619Sundown over the North Cascades and I wonder where he is.

My Flame

IMG_3673I suppose this is how I see him.  Exactly.  Rugged, capable beauty in a wild shower of flame and sparks.  Or perhaps this is my perspective of us; the earnest but volatile nature of who we are independently and corporately.  We are a pair of glorious, clashing and blending flames.

We just spent a full week together, which is something that NEVER happens during the fire season.  I came home from Alaska and we galloped to Pocatello to close on our house, pack up our life and stuff it in a storage unit.  We sold or gave away over half of what we owned and once the money was in the bank from the sale of our home, we drove and fished our way across Idaho until we parted ways in Spokane.  He headed back to Winthrop and work while I buzzed over to Montana to stage for a backcountry trip.  When we crossed over the Idaho-Washington state line we looked over at each other and said, “We have to get back.  We have to get back to Idaho.

I miss him.  I miss dreaming aloud with him.  I miss the tangible flame that has burned between us for over 11 years now.  Godspeed, babe (and soft landings), until our soul bones rest side by side once more.