"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

04 February 2014


Some of the righteous icicles along the back of the House of Owls and Bats. A bit of trivia; those back windows were once in a train car...

Sabina knitted me a new cap. The fucker is warm!

A couple days back, whilst snowshoeing, and having a throughly good time of it, I asked Sabina, somewhat rhetorically if she'd wished she'd been doing this sort of thing sooner. Something I've caught myself thinking from time to time. I already know my answer.

There was acknowledgement of that, but also of our respective past lives. A reckoning perhaps we needed to have our experiences within the borders of the great metroplex, good and ill. Do what we wanted and needed to do and find what we wanted to or needed to find. There was also the matter of finding one another, so to speak, although, that speaks to the subject of destiny, and I have a very hard time believing in fate.

I believe I can live with that. After all, I once gave my position on the concept of regret. One thing I wanted to be if I grew up was one of those well-rounded cats who'd perhaps done a little of everything and possessed some of the more esoteric knowledges. Joy to the world and watch what you wish for. Of course, Jezebel, my daughter, and Sabina would say that's because I tend to try, consciously or not, to be different, sometimes just for the sake of it. Were I try to argue this point, any one of them would chuckle and say of course in an attempt to drive me mad.

Fucking women...


It's been almost two months since I'd been to Grizzly Gulch and a little longer than that since I'd taken Milarepa out into the Backcountry with me. Like Whistler, she always knows when I'm going on walkabout. When I don't take her, she's been known to yip and howl her disappointment at being left behind. Sometimes, I feel bad about that.

She was out back as I stowed gear in Old Scratch. I could hear her sounds of anticipation. As I walked toward her with a leash, I caught myself speaking to her the way mother would have, albeit slightly paraphrased.

"Who's the cute puppy? Who's the cute puppy who wants to go on walkabout with me?" She danced and jumped all around me as I dropped the leash to snow-cover ground. "Perhaps you need to sit."

Out of the three of them, Milarepa is the least disciplined. I got her before my mother could ever even start to train her for dog shows, herding trials, or being a working dog. I never took the time to train her to my mother's regiment, and perhaps that was bad of me. Be that as it may, me dropping a leash in front of her and telling her to sit gets her attention.

A walkabout with the tall lanky bastard? Perhaps into the outback? Suddenly, she becomes rather well-behaved as her attentions become single-pointedly focused.

At fifty-five pounds-of love!-my daughter would say, but also youthful exuberance, Milarepa sets a cruel pace when we first start out. My trek poles are used more as like shepherd's crooks. I think of my mother, remembering her working with dogs like Whistler and Chevy, but also their parents, and even their parents before that. We got the first brood-bitch when I was thirteen, and the first litter was born when I was fifteen. That's when my mother started raising the breed in earnest.

It never takes long for Milarepa to calm into a good walking rhythm. Every so often, I'd tell her how good she was being, but, often, we walked in the silence that only falling snow can cause. Any time I would stop, she would sit, patiently waiting for me to usher her on again. We only encountered two other people on the trail.

Who's the majestic and adorable mountain puppy?

Although, I've heard the stories, I've never had a negative encounter on the trail. My exchanges are short and pleasant. The two we encountered joked they'd broken the trail for us. I offered my thanks, knowing I sometimes return the favor, most often, to strangers I never see.

It was one of those times Milarepa got ice-balls on her feet. Any time that happens, I remind myself I should research booties for her. Although, it doesn't always happen, so I don't always think about it. Still, the discomfort she was experiencing was justification for turning around. A mile in, it wasn't like I'd not given myself a good workout. Having snowshoed two days before and knowing I was going to the next day, I didn't feel bad. My days were rounded out with more walkabouts than not. Exactly the way I like my life these days.

On the way down, I mused the discussion I had with Sabina just two days before. I thought of the magic of this place I live now and the mystic of the last place I left behind. Watching Milarepa walk ahead of me, I thought about my mother and life back on those farmsteads in the badlands growing up. When I first came to the mountains and started going on my first walkabouts, my mother said she was happy to see her nature boy was back. Truthfully, he never went away, but he had to experience a few different worlds, lives, and landscapes to become the rounded individual that would truly appreciate where his feet finally landed.      


  1. Great post, Robbie...truly. I always love to read about your satisfaction in finding your place in the world...it gives me hope.

    And yowsers, what a gorgeous dog...

    1. Thank you. Hope is always a good thing to have. The most precious of commodities.

      Had my mother not gotten sick, sick, we would've bred Milarepa for at least one litter, then I'd have spayed her. Had that come to pass, I'm sure the pups would've taken after their mother.

  2. Those are some hella-big icicles. Damn. And I like the introspection when you ponder the topic you brought up with Sabina. I don't believe in wishing anything had happened sooner, because I don't believe those things were MEANT to happen sooner.

    1. One of said icicles has grown to an almost column now. It's pretty impressive.

      Now you're getting into the whole fate verses free will debate. I don't necessarily believe in the whole meant thing. We could go rounds on that until the stars fall from the sky, but we'd probably still just agree to disagree ;).

  3. What a wonderful post.

    The city pooches are sometimes wearing booties, both, I suspect, for ice-balls and the salt/chemicals dumped on the sidewalks. Might not be a bad idea for Milarepa!


    1. Some mountain dogs do and some don't. Milarepa's ice balls seem dependent on the type of snow and temperature. Be that as it may, booties are being put on my list, I think.

  4. I've got some righteous icicles of my own today. I think I might be winning. Of course, they'll be gone tomorrow. And, hopefully, so will the snow.
    And she's such a beautiful girl, that Milarepa.

    1. I suspect our icicles'll be around until March. The snow around the house, perhaps April. So it goes.

      Thank you, she is a looker. Looks, which have sometimes saved her when she's done something bad.