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a series of moments. episode 2.

28 Mar

Shit.

The weather was clear. So clear, that yesterday’s bluster had blown the clouds and the howling winds out and had allowed for the contrast of the bright blue skies and orange-red rock that Moab was so known for, to stand king.

Crap.

That means I have no choice.

When I moved west I’d made myself a pact. A pact so real and so in your face that it felt a little like it was pointing at me, laughing hysterically, as I mulled over my escape from this particular situation.

You see. This pact I’d made myself (to myself and only myself…over one glass of cheap red wine too many…) went something like this…

“Never say NO”.

Welp with that in mind and with my hyper-confidence of the weather’s likely overblown conditions to take control of this big, fat, mistakenly uttered, “YES”, I’d somehow agreed to jump out of an airplane with only a parachute attached to my back.

No. Not at the normal altitude of 4000′ above the ground. Nope. That was for lameos. I had agreed to a jump that was something like 12000′ feet above the ground. Because what’s another 8000’?

Shit.

The wind had completely blown my grand plan of avoiding this bravado declaration of YES, out of the ballpark.

I truly had no choice. And this morning? This morning I was jumping out of an airplane. Above the arches and deep canyons of two of the USA’s most celebrated National Parks.

I mean. There had to be worse places to recognize that your grand scheme of “never say no” had failed you and that you were about to jump out of a tiny airplane that featured a pair of cheesy orange flames flanking its sides.

As my mind raced about all of the possible vomit-inducing scenarios that all seemed to bring my happy little life to a painful splat-like death, our chariot pulled up. A tiny man in a jumpsuit rolled up the side door and greeted us with a grin as he wildly waved us on to the plane.

I slid my straddled posture down the bench that spanned the craft from stern to bow until I was nestled, somewhat uncomfortably close, in between my jump partner’s legs.

As we roared down the runway, my body leaning deep into my jump partner, Keith, he whispered into my ear,

“Get ready for the craziest thrill of your life.”

And with that, we were airborne.

I was breathless with the shock of the altitude. Breathless with the cloudless morning and the sight of the sun winking off of the swiftly moving Colorado River below us.

Within what seemed like seconds, I was jerked abruptly from my breathless daydream with the bellow of the jump door being rolled up and a gust of cold air filling the small cabin.

Crap.

Here goes nothing.

Without warning, Keith started to scoot me along the length of our perch towards the roaring exit of our plane as it soared 12000′ above the hard, dusty, red desert floor.

Before I knew it, there I was.

Legs dangling out of the side of the airplane; the desert landscape and mighty Colorado River suspended below my sneakered feet.

And with that, in the time it takes to take a breath, we were airborne. Free-falling back to the Earth that cradles us. The Earth that nurtures us and provides us with life-giving resources and memories.

It was so loud; it was almost like I was rushing through a tunnel of silence. I couldn’t hear anything but the roar of the wind as it whipped by my ears, pulling my cheeks back with the velocity of the speed at which we were falling.

Gravity took its toll and we flipped and flopped and tumbled back towards solid ground and with a single, sudden jerk, we stopped. And we floated, suspended high above life as we knew it.

And as we floated, drifting back to Earth, I giggled to myself. Giggling that for better or for worse, somehow after the craziest, most thrilling moment of my life, never saying no still hadn’t failed me.

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a series of moments. episode 1.

21 Mar

I’d been waiting on this moment for a year.

Since the day she had made her grand entrance into this big, beautiful world; full of spunk and stubbornness and life.

She wasn’t mine. She wasn’t even blood; but she was the daughter of someone I had always considered to be my soul sister, so in some ways she was mine.

Mine to love and to spoil. Because what is life without a whole lotta love; love for those around you and of course, love for yourself.

And mine to teach.

To teach that playing outside is best done when you can wear pink and get dirty all at the same time. To teach that sometimes a good curse word and a hearty cry are the best cures for a bad day. And mine to teach that feeling is important. So important. Because without all the feels you would never be able to discern the good from the bad, the truly scary from the scary-thrilling, or the happy from the sad.

So there we were.

Me, waiting on this moment for a full year. A year since she burst onto the scene, ready to take on the world, head-on.

And her, unknowing of the ride that she was about to embark on.

We studied each other for moment, me standing in the doorway of her home and her, from across the foyer. And as I knelt down to my knees she grinned, her dimples deep and joyful. Then she shrieked and toddled my direction ready to be swooped up and smothered in smooches.

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twitterpated.

23 May

There is this bird who lives next door to me.

I say next door but in reality I am not entirely sure which of the trees in my yard serve to house his humble nest; but I like to think of us, the bird and me, as neighbors. As friendly cohabitants of our quaint mountain cul-de-sac.

I don’t hear much from him during the midday hours but each morning, just as the Night pulls back its starry curtains to make way for the Sun, he pops out to sing a cheery good morning; announcing to the neighborhood that it is time to rise from our cozy cocoons and greet the day.

We are visited by his sweet song again each evening as the Sun lowers her brow beneath the mountaintops. He is often the final voice softly calling out through the dusky pinks and oranges that paint our mountain landscape; as though he is the conductor for the symphony of stars as they make their way high into the night sky.

His song is so much sweeter than that of the other neighborhood birds. Nothing like the harsh cackle of the Jay as it swoops in and out of the trees or the intrepid buzz of the Hummingbirds as they zip through the air in search of some nectar; rather I find that his joyful little voice calls deep into my soul offering a bit of sprightly music to the start and finish of my day.

hey hey!

18 Apr

Whaddya say?

Cubs are gonna win today!

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duh.

12 Apr

I’ve been feeling a little unsettled these days; as though the edges of my usually clear-cut silhouette are blurred, just a bit out of focus.

Restlessness is common for me this time of year. The end of the season brings a let down that, though I have been counting down to since the end of February, always hits me like a ton of bricks. It’s like I am still sprinting to the finish, but the finish already came and now I am just running in place…waiting on the next race.

I had that realization of running in place today, walking back to my office after my final meeting of the day. It was our bi-monthly Breck Leadership team meeting; a quick catch-up with other Breckenridge senior leaders that is generally centered around resort happenings; though by happenstance, today’s discussion was centered around accountability.

Accountability. Seems like a fairly simple concept. I mean we all need and hopefully have a support system that we trust enough to hold us accountable for our actions, our emotions, and for reaching our goals. But for some reason the concept of holding myself accountable was shocking.

I’ve always considered my leadership skills to be on par with or above the abilities of those around me. But it dawned on me that while I’ve been busy running in place, I have forgotten to hold myself accountable for my own actions, emotions, and goals. I have been so busy trying to find the next race that I haven’t stopped to feel and see the big picture of life around me. Of the importance of being kind and available to my staff, and my friends, and my family. Of the beauty of the mountains in the springtime as towering thunderheads roll over our stately peaks and back into town. Of the excitement (and frankly, terror if you are as frightened of mountain animals as myself…) of a baby moose and its mama lumbering down Main Street greeting a new day as the sun’s bright rays dip down and touch the valley floors.

I let myself get wrapped in not feeling, or perhaps feeling too much, that I forgot to take a step back and breathe and tune into the feelings and emotions coursing through my body. Because as important as it is to keep up with day-to-day demands, it’s just as important to hold yourself accountable for running away from day-to-day demands.

Besides, running in place can be pretty lonely. Not to mention, very dull. It’s way more exciting to come face to face with a moose as you leave your garage than it is pretending as though that moose doesn’t exist.

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a legacy of love and a legacy of kindness.

5 Apr

When I was younger, death was just a concept; a state of being that other people sometimes experienced. It was as though I believed that those closest to me were untouchable; living just beyond the reaches of Death’s grubby fingers.

Alas, the reality of life came crashing down five days ago when the world lost the most wonderful man. This was a man who set an example for all of us when it came to loving and living without abandon and was famously known to those closest to him as, Dampa.

Dampa was so many things to so many people but for me he left behind a legacy of love and of kindness. Dampa was a man who loved so hard and was so loved by everyone he had the opportunity to wrap up in a giant bear hug or ambush with a big ‘ol smacker, right on the lips. He laughed big, he lived big, and never forgot to tell our Damma–the love of his life, his sons and daughters in-law, and his grandkids just how proud of them he was.

We’ve always been a close bunch and Damma and Dampa are the glue that have held the relationships together. Though we are spread out among the far reaches of the United States, and though we span many ages, you could always count on Dampa for news on the goings-on around the Florida Simses or the Oregon Simses or the Chicago Simses or the Virginia Simses, heck even the recent Colorado Sims transplants. He would call all of us a few times a month to hear about what’s going on in our lives, share an anecdote or two, and encourage us to check in on our cousins and aunts and uncles because it mattered that we loved each other and it mattered most that he shared in that love.

I love you to the moon and back, Dampa. Thanks for teaching me to always be kind and to love until it hurts. Enjoy the view from up above.

paige and dampa

gold on our hills.

30 Sep

Fall is fleeting up here at 9300′.

It blows in overnight, flexing its artistic vein as it paints the hillsides in shades of gold and red and fiery orange.

It drops gilded carpets of Aspen leaves on forest paths as though laying down a golden carpet fit for mountain royalty.

I like to pretend that I myself, am the aforementioned royal visitor. I stroll between seasons on a long Aspen leaf lined carpet into my kingdom of statuesque trees, waving to my Mountain sentinels as I go.

I wrap myself in Mother Nature’s earthy perfume and memorize the tune bellowed from deep within the woods–the hum of the bees, the whisper of the wind, the trickle of water, and the cracking of wood as my woodland neighbors wander invisibly among the swaying trees.

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