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NOTE: As mentioned in a recent post, the comments function of my blog no longer works. I tried to get the problem sorted out before going on the road, but to no avail. I finally resorted to setting up a new blog at another URL. It contains all of the posts that reside at this URL, but also has all of the missing comments and allows new comments to be posted. You can find the version of this post to which you can post comments here. I’ll try to remember to put up new posts here, but I suggest updating your bookmark to the new URL. — Additional Note: I am just catching up on putting these posts onto this secondary blog. They have existed at the new blog URL for several weeks – except this post which was just put up today.

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This is a brief departure from the account of my autumn trip. As mentioned in my last post, the dogs and I rolled into Bisbee the afternoon before thanksgiving day. By luck, we managed to arrive at the house just before a major cold front swept through the southwest. Had we delayed our journey at any point, we might have been faced with camping in very frigid temperatures. We’ve actually managed to do so in the past, but it’s not exactly pleasant. Anyhow, we are safely settled down for the winter in the same house that I rented the past two winters following Don’s death. For me, it is actually helpful to be returning to a place that I have come to know very well – both the house and the town. The past two years of our lives (speaking for the dogs and me), have been quite unsettled due to selling the farm, packing up, putting things into storage for a year, buying the old place in Nova Scotia, moving stuff into it, and just working away on a place that is in need of major repairs. Spending the winter in a heated house with running water, a washer and dryer, a stove and a fridge, and a full bath, seems like quite a luxury after many months spent living out of the van, or in an old house without those amenities. Being here seems like a good way to rest up before tackling another season of camping and house renovations. The dogs love it here. The afternoon of our arrival, they both jumped from the van and ran to the garden gate waiting for me to swing it open so that they could tear through and race around checking everything out before running to the front door waiting for me to turn the key. Since our arrival, they have been taking advantage of the space to stretch out on their sides to sleep – a luxury they don’t really have when we’re camped in the van during our travels. Being able to take a warm shower brings back a very old memory of how miraculous it seemed the first time Don and I turned on the new hydrant in our barn after two winters of slogging across the yard from our house, struggling through deep snow while carrying buckets of water for our horses.

The first weekend back here in Bisbee, friends asked if I would like to take in the annual Bisbee home tour, and also the Bisbee art chair silent auction. Both are fundraising events for several local charities. Although I was feeling pretty tired from weeks of travel and camping, I decided to go on the walk about town. This year’s house tour theme was on the old miner’s houses – which actually describes most of the structures in this town. It was interesting to see what people have done with these old buildings. Some choose to keep them fairly true to their origins, while others modernize the interiors, or incorporate them into additions that are sometimes larger than the original cabin. At the art chair auction, I put in a bid on the All About Dreaming chair – signed by “Fox” – I’m not sure of the artist’s name, but if anyone reading this happens to know, please leave a note in the comments below. It is the chair in the first and second photos of this post. I love collages and altered books, text, etc…, so the chair spoke to me from the first moment I saw it. As it was early in the morning on the day of the auction, I had no real expectation of actually getting the chair, but thought it was nice to help get the bidding off to a good start. That evening, I received a message to come down and pay for the chair the next day and it was mine. This was a couple of days before my birthday, so I’ve decided to regard the chair as a birthday present to myself as I did not celebrate in any other way.

There were about forty chairs in the auction, as well as some smaller clay sculptures of chairs. Above and below are photos of a few of them. There are a lot of imaginative and artistic people in Bisbee, as reflected in the range of art chairs that were up for auction.

And so, I am settling into the winter season of life here in town. As always, I still live very quietly, a bit off on my own with the two dogs. This winter, I’ve set up a small goal for myself – to try to spend a little more time around people. It remains to be seen whether or not that will happen as I’m such a hermit at heart. It was easy being a quasi-hermit when Don and I shared our lives as he was pretty much one too, but it is a rather odd existence now that it’s just me and the dogs. However, as the saying goes, can the leopard change its spots? I suspect that, once a hermit, always a hermit.

In other news, recently I decided to get some music back into my life. Since Don’s diagnosis in November 2007, I had not picked up my guitar or any other instrument. I have not listened to music, or hummed, or sang anything. I used to be a fairly musical person at one time, but have been silent for three full years. After arriving here, I decided to make playing music another winter project while I have some time to spare. I bought three instruments – online, of course – a new guitar as my old one, given to me by my parents, is at my mom’s house in Ontario. It has far too much sentimental value to risk bringing it along with us in the van where it might be either crushed or stolen. A very inexpensive mandolin, to replace my irreparably broken one that I’ve had since I was a teenager. And last of all, an inexpensive fiddle – just because it’s something I’ve always wanted to play, but especially after watching a wonderfully talented woman playing one at a gathering near Albuquerque last month. I spoke with her during a break in the music and discovered that she lost her husband around the same time that Don died. She told me that, for more than a year, she could not play or listen to music without it making her weep. She has also been doing a bit of traveling and camping with her dog, so there were more than a few parallels in our circumstances. Anyhow, that is the back story to why I have bought these instruments and have hopes to begin making some kind of music once again. So far, the fiddle produces mainly wailing cries that cause Sage to press up next to me, making sad eyes as she commiserates with my pain. The mandolin isn’t much better than the fiddle, but it has been many years since I had one to play. Meanwhile, after a couple of evenings of strumming and picking, the guitar is beginning to feel like an old friend. At least there is some hope on that count.

I have also made it my resolution to paint and draw again. When Don died, I packed my art supplies in a bag and dragged it along everywhere I’ve traveled over the past two years. I used to draw and paint all of the time – for myself, or creating illustrations to be used in the teaching manuals I once used to write. However, creating art has become yet another casualty of the upheaval in my life. Like the music, whether I paint anything this winter also remains to be seen, but with any luck, perhaps this will be the year that I pick up my pens and brushes.

Alright. Back to more photos and accounts of our travels in Utah and New Mexico. Those should be coming up quite soon.

Written by bev on December 10th, 2010

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