Thursday, March 29, 2012

Guest Blog—Picture Rock: Scenes from Life in a Colorado Mountain Town

Picture Rock, Installment One


By EZ Ryyder

The Estimated Prophet turned the key and the Rover started.  Glancing back to make sure the dog was clear or that a moose wasn’t directly in his path, he backed up and got rolling down the backside of the hill.  I sort of looked back too.  Just to double check.

North Road goes north, as it should.  At the turn, the road drops away and gets pretty muddy.  Most people avoid a stretch like this at this time of year unless they have four-wheel drives.  Even then, it is so narrow and the runoff has cut ruts so deep on the edges that there are two-foot ditches where the plowed up banks used to be.  When it’s dry, it’s still a pretty tight squeeze to let two cars get by.  You’re only going about five miles per hour and you wave or nod as you pass each other.   It’s close.  Now, with the mud, if you move over at the wrong spot you will sink to your axles.  Even with the Rover, you’re in for a poke in the mud. 

It’s sunny and the snow is melting. 

There is a low fog trapped by the redstone walls and even though the sage is barely showing, it smells rich and pungent.  Dripping and trickling, snowmelt water runs down the road in narrow veins and where they merge, the path washes out.  I keep an eye out to be sure the Prophet doesn’t drift away with thoughts somewhere else.  He never does.  But you never know. 

Down past the old horse ranch the road plunges through a little gully and then climbs right back up the other side towards a long ridgeline.  At the top of the hill you could see the divide across the mountain valley if it weren’t for the fog trapped by the hillside.  Where the road crosses the highway it turns to pavement but don’t think you will go much faster.  The dips and holes will shake and buck your shocks and springs until they squeak or your fillings rattle out.   Slow going all around. 

So, you might as well look out to see if there is anything moving where the forest meets the meadow. You could see a flock of wild turkeys or a coyote.  Maybe an elk.  I don’t think you will see the bear.  Definitely call out if you do.  I haven’t seen him in a while. 

Once, he snorted at me from behind a big boulder when I was riding my mountain bike.  Actually he growled at Marley and the dog veered off.  We just kept going.  The next day I went back without the canine patrol and walked around that big rock to the back.   Just to see if there were any signs or tracks.  There was a dug out corner where the bear was digging and some tracks.  That was early last fall.  I know he is still around because he was at Mary Anne’s feeder just last week.  He’s a big old brownish-black male and I’m pretty sure the Prophet was on the hill first but maybe not. 

Rolling down to the river we come to a stop by the “put in” spot.  It’s still early in the season and the runoff hasn’t really even started.  With hardly a word, we pull our waders on over our jeans and lace up our felt bottom boots.  I tie on a Griffith’s Gnat while the Prophet selects a twisted midge.  

Stepping into the water, I can feel the 38-degree water welling around my feet and below my knees.  I’m not getting wet but I’m glad the water is still slow and low.  Before long, this river will rise and come crashing down the canyon like it’s nobody’s business.  For now, I work my way upstream to a quiet hole surrounded by lodgepoles and aspens.  The Prophet heads down stream.  He always walks downstream.   He’ll still be fishing long after I’m done.  I’ll find him a couple of miles down Redstone Creek with the sun shining on his shoulders, his rod dancing above the water.

Next: Installment Two, Jam

© EZ Ryyder 2012

EZ Ryyder spends his time a little bit farther down the road.  Past the city limits.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Guest Blog—Spring Cleaning for Your Mind and Body

By Lori Flynn

Full Circle Yoga

Spring has arrived and brought with it a transformative energy that can be found in and around us. In tune with nature, our stored energy from winter introspection is now bursting at the seams to be nurtured and materialize in one way or another. 

With spring, comes the participation—willingly or not—in noticeable internal and external shifts. Some of us find ourselves moving, buying a new car or switching jobs, while others start new relationships, pick up a new instrument or just generally seek new ways of “be”-ing. Whatever the change of seasons has brought your way, there are some crucial areas of life to nurture that will help you maximize how this time of shift and transformation can best serve you.

Be Selfish – when we board a plane and are given the emergency instructions we are told to secure our oxygen mask before helping others. That is the kind of healthy selfishness needed to nurture change in ourselves. Make time for you: walking in nature admiring spring's abundance, setting aside a space in your home for meditation and quiet reflection, or visiting an art museum are all soulful solo activities that connect you to your source, allowing you to really become in tune with where your path is taking you. We all want to participate in our chosen communities; there is no greater gift we can give “the whole” than showing up as the best version of ourselves.

Fuel – Just as walking in nature helps to neutralize our human emotional frenzy, having a diet as close to nature as possible is one of the best ways to honor our minds and bodies. Take inventory of what you’re eating and recognize that food is your fuel. Cultivate a relationship with your food when possible; grow veggies, visit an organic farm, get to know your local farmers. Eat mindfully; set aside a time and space in your home or in nature to eat your meal and fully enjoy it; honor all the elements of nature and humans that participated in getting your food to your plate. Most importantly, opt for food and drink with as little alterations from nature as possible.

Exercise – Movement helps us to relieve stress, clearing our minds and allowing us to establish our center. Not exercising? Start now. Bored with your current routine? Try something new! Possibilities are endless year round: hiking, skiing, yoga, stand up paddle boarding, dance, running. Remember, what works for others may not resonate with you; try a variety of things in order to find something that fits…or embark on an adventure to try one new thing each week.

Sleep – Get some. Preferably eight hours per night. While ongoing research has yet to nail down the exact reason that we sleep, we really don’t need to know the reason for it to know that it’s good for us. Theories include body-based muscle recovery and brain-based information integration—both of which are crucial for maintaining and establishing wellness.

Create –Find an outlet for your creative energy—drawing, painting, dancing, journaling, cooking—and let your right brain do the driving. Keep the energy flowing!

Lori is a musician, yoga teacher and gypsy currently residing in Lyons, CO. Visit her on Facebook or at FullCircleYogaOnline.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Get a Good Night's Sleep the Natural Way!

Getting a good night’s rest is so important to your health, which is why the topic of quality, restful sleep has been in the news a lot recently.  Sleeping better obviously helps you feel more alert, but it can also improve your productivity, keep you on track with your diet, help you live longer, and make you a happier, healthier person in general. And did you know that people who have been awake more than 16 hours perform the same as those who are legally impaired in a roadside evaluation? Yikes!

More sleep keeps you healthy and can result in weight loss because of the production of two specific hormones during REM sleep. Leptin and gherlin are hormones that regulate the appetite and our feelings of “fullness.”  If we have too little sleep leptin levels plummet, resulting in the feeling of not being satisfied after a meal.  At the same time, gherlin levels rise, causing us to feel more hungry.  Recently scientists have discovered that high levels of gherlin not only make us gravitate toward food, but also crave higher carbohydrate, fatty foods.  Being awake longer does not necessarily mean we are burning more calories, however, so we gain weight.

Although some people turn to medications to fall asleep at night, there is new research that shows this may not be the best way to manage sleep issues. In a recent study, use of prescription sleeping pills was linked with increased risk of earlier mortality, including cancer deaths. The study found people who took18 sleeping pills or fewer per year had more than 3.5 times higher a risk for death than those who didn't take any sleeping pills.

What can you do to sleep better without prescriptions? It shouldn’t be a surprise that regular exercise and a healthy diet can help you get better sleep, but there are specific natural foods that also aid in quality sleep.  Recently, Dr. Oz featured five foods on his television program that can help you get a more restful sleep—including tart cherry juice!

Tart cherry juice made from Montmorency cherries contains a high level of melatonin, a naturally occurring compound produced by humans, animals, plants and microbes. Melatonin has several important functions in the human body, including in the sleep cycle. In our modern lives, many things are thought to disrupt the natural cycle of melatonin production in our bodies, including artificial light, electronics, jet lag and shift work. Drinking one or two 8 oz. servings of tart cherry juice everyday provides a steady supply of melatonin that can help you get a deeper, more restful sleep.  

Here in Cheribundi Land, we like to drink ours late in the afternoon, around 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. How about you?