Pat’s Walkabouts: Pine Valley Ranch Park and The Pagoda

Pagoda 7

Looking out from the Pagoda – Photo © 2014 by Pat Ruppel

I’d like to introduce a new feature called “Pat’s Walkabouts”. For a change of pace, I will occasionally post photos and videos of places I visit around these Colorado Rocky Mountains of mine and wherever our travels may take us. You’re invited to join me on these adventures where we can walk about, explore and see the sights. I hope you’ll enjoy sharing these beautiful places with me.  Continue reading

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Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago, when we were up in the Rocky Mountain high country, just a short drive from where we live, taking pictures of the aspens in their transformation to Fall with the change of color in their leaves.

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Here, it’s 3 months later and it’s snowing and we’ve gotten almost a foot of snow overnight with temperatures today barely reaching 10 degrees.  Continue reading

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Ouch! I Think I Overdid It

Ouch, ouch, ouch! My body aches all over ― everything hurts. I think I overdid it working in the rock gardens for almost 8 hours over 2 back-to-back days. I feel it today, after being on my hands and knees, crawling in and around rocks. The weather is predicted to turn bad this weekend and, before the snow flies, I finally got in some perennials and transplanted at least 100 irises for next spring.

Iris rock garden

Iris Rock Garden Photo by Jim Ruppel © 2013

It’s challenging to grow things in the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 8,500’ with a shorter growing season and where the nights are cool ― not to mention the critters. If it’s not deer munching above ground, the voles will getcha underneath.  Continue reading

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“Go Feed the Birds” (from The Tracker by Tom Brown, Jr.)

This morning as my husband and I were walking out to the car to go to work I was surprised to see 4 deer pull their heads up and look directly at me only 20 feet from where we stood. I talked to them for a moment and they just stared not really bothered by this interruption to their morning. They were standing next to our parked car so we had to walk towards them to get in and my husband got as close as 8 feet. Then, as we were about to drive out, we saw the rest of the herd walking down into our yard with their buck. In total, there were about a dozen deer. What a way to start out your morning, huh?

Living in the Rocky Mountains, I always marvel at the wildlife as we see it more frequently living among them in their habitat. We’ve had bear get into our metal shed and tear it up, hear the coyote howl regularly all through the year, see the bunnies and fox. If we had a fresh snowfall the night before, in the morning the yard is transformed into a wonderland of tracks. It is such a blissful sight to take in.

When I was a little girl and saw Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, I always fantasized playing and walking and just being with the animals like Snow White. When I’d go to the zoo and see the wild tigers and elephants, I’d wonder what it would feel like to curl up with one of those big creatures and experience their energy and power. Dr. Wayne Dyer in his book, There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem [BARGAIN PRICE] (Paperback) quotes from Pantanjali (author of Yoga Sutras who lived C. First to Third Century B.C):

“When a person is steadfast in his abstention from harming others, then all living creatures will cease to feel enmity in his presence.”

Dyer talks about St. Francis of Assisi and how he would tame wild wolves that were destroying livestock by merely being in their presence.
Wild animals would feel the love that radiated from him; doves would fly to his hands. They all ceased to feel enmity. What a wonderful image. St. Francis didn’t have any special powers – no more than you or I. He just made himself available to and aligned himself with the Creator. ~~~ (Picture by Microsoft Office Clipart.)

There is a series of books I read sometime ago that I fell in love with. They’re about a tracker’s life and experiences in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. The tracker and author’s name is Tom Brown Jr. and when he was a child all he wanted to do was spend time in his beloved Pine Barrens. When he was around 7 he met another boy, Rick, about his age that liked the same things. Rick had an elder that taught them about the seasons and wildlife and how to walk in harmony with nature – his name was Stalking Wolf (Grandfather). In the beginning of his book, The Tracker, Tom describes what he felt about Stalking Wolf when he says:

“Stalking Wolf taught us how to be silent and watch what was going on. He had a special look that said he was giving us a hint to something that would seem obvious to us in a moment. When he saw that I didn’t understand why he had to be silent to see better, he said, “Go feed the birds.””

All the experiences and mysteries of the woods, birds and wild creatures unfold in these books as he learns to listen, track and move in harmony with nature.

Like St. Francis of Assisi and Tom Brown Jr., we can also learn to experience the wonder of nature if we approach it with reverence and are steadfast in abstaining from harming others, as Pantanjali said. Animals can discern your intention from the energies we give off. They can read our hearts and sense more about us than we know about ourselves. As we become more awakened, the animals will respond to our new beingness and we’ll walk among them in harmony and peace. Can you imagine that?!

Tom has a tracking school in New Jersey – Tom Brown Jr.’s Tracking School. He has written 16 books and I’ve listed a few you might be interested in:

The Tracker
Awakening Spirits
The Way of the Scout
The Quest: One Man’s Search for Peace, Insight, and Healing in an Endangered World (Paperback)
The Vision: The Dramatic True Story of One Man’s Search for Enlightenment (Religion and Spirituality) (Paperback)
The Search: The Continuing Story of the Tracker

SPECIAL NOTE: I apologize to my fellow bloggers for not being as active in reading your posts and stumbling and commenting. I just started a full-time job this week. I haven’t had as much time to keep up with the feeds and e-mails and I’m a little overwhelmed. I hope to get a handle on it as I get used to being back into the corporate world. Thank you for your continued support and patience.

Pat from the ol’ kitchen table