Find My Favorite Books at

Monday, June 16, 2008

The 4th Coyote

He was loping up the hillside from Highway 203 to the tall grass at the edge of the road near where I live...As I've often noticed about wild animals, he didn't pay much attention to me - until I took my foot off the gas pedal. I hadn't even started to break, although the stop sign was coming up fast, and I've seen the occasional police car in that very same spot. He went into high gear, ears back, and disappeared. Like smoke.

I was heading to the laundromat early on a Sunday morning to do my weekly chores when I saw him. I remembered Filip's comment that I should sing the Wolf Honoring Song to the next coyote I saw but my Lakota is pretty bad, and my singing is awful so I just spoke the words out loud.

"Around the edge I am walking..." That's where the coyotes stay. Edges. I wonder if that has significance for me? Are my frequent coyote sightings this spring about edges? I've been living on my edges since I came west. And I mostly love it.

Coyotes do well on the edge. I've been doing well, too. Perhaps they are the welcoming committee. I expect I'll be seeing more of them.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Here's what happens when you've been WARPed....I let fellow WARP07 grad Laura Hersh paint my face at graduation on Saturday. It was my first face-painting adventure.
Pretty cool, huh? Who would have expected such wild behavior from me? Nobody...that's who.
That's why I'm particularly happy to have taken the chance and changed my life. It's very empowering to do something that you don't think you can - and that no one expects. Change is good.
As I listened to WARP08 spokesperson Carolyn Temes tell of her adventures, I realized that it's neccessary to do wild and crazy things. She's about my age, and struggled with the program, as I did. She came through it with class and courage. I hope I did as well.
It's a grand thing to take on an adventure that some folks think is too risky, too wild, too crazy. It's a grander thing to come out the other side with the confidence that success brings.
As I watched Carolyn introduce her family to her clan, I saw that her sister, her husband, and both her children were looking at her with respect and awe. That's a good thing.
Life brings changes, challenges and opportunities. Take 'em on...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Graduation Tomorrow!

It's really hard to believe that the class of WARP08 graduates tomorrow. It's been really interesting to watch from the other side...I'd love to do it again with the benefit of knowing how the
year would change me...change my life. I think I'd have enjoyed it more if I'd known how it would turn out.

On the other hand, the not knowing had great value for me...and I expect I'd have chickened out if I knew all that would happen in my WARP year. It's been hard not to tell some of my stories, and I know that the best ones would stop some people from coming to check out the program. The very best ones are only shared with those who have been here...

The pendants on the rock were made by staff and former WARPies while the current class was off on survival trip...The cedar wood was collected, shaped and polished by instructors and WARP grads. The cordage was made (reverse wrapped) by 5 women who have done the program...It's nettle and dogbane. I think it turned out well. We felt just a little guilty sitting in Angie's kitchen sharing snacks and wine while the "kids" were out in the woods. Just a little...we knew they'd be fine. And they were.

Tomorrow the community will throw a party in their honor. The class of 08 will then go out into the world to make a difference. I can't wait to see what they accomplish!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Memories, Part 2

As I mentioned last week, the current crop of Residential students have made it through the year (including scout camp and survival trip) and will be graduating on Saturday.

It does not seem possible that it's been a full year since I did it. When I look back, I don't recognize the woman who came here from Missouri. She does not exist. I wish it was possible to show you the will just have to trust me on it.

I love my job in the office here at WAS. I would never have guessed that I'd be happily living in Washington, working with the coolest people I've ever met. Life is good. I just got the OK to do the Tracking Intensive this fall...which means I'll get out more and have further adventures. I love that tracking is one of the key elements of what we do here. It's really, really nice to work with people who get excited about the simplest of things...tracks in the mud, a photo of a Grossbeak on her nest, a bone found on the sandbar...For most of my life, those around me thought it strange that those things matter. Here, it matters a lot. And that's probably the thing that made the difference for me. The things that get me excited matter to everyone I work with and most of the people who walk in the door or call on the phone. Life IS good.

My Favorite Fiction Authors and Books

  • Suzanne Arruda- the Jade del Cameron mysteries: "The Mark of the Lion" "Stalking Ivory", "The Serpent's Daughter", "The Leopard's Prey" and "The Golden Cheetah"
  • Ken Goddard - "Balefire" and others
  • Stephen White - the Dr. Alan Gregory books are all great. "Kill Me" is my favorite.
  • Harlan Coben - anything he writes is great
  • Elizabeth Peters - Amelia Peabody mysteries

My Favorite Nonfiction Authors and Books

  • "Coyote's Guide to Connecting With Nature" by Jon Young, Ellen Haas and Evan McGown- 2nd edition coming soon!
  • Gavin De Becker - "The Gift of Fear"
  • "Deep Survival" by Laurence Gonzales- the best survival book I've ever read! Not a how-to, its more of a who does,and why.
  • Candice Millard - "The River of Doubt -Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey"
  • Anything that starts with "Peterson's Field Guide To..."
  • Tom Brown, Jr. - "The Tracker" and others
  • Mark Elbroch - "Mammal Tracks and Sign" and "Animal Skulls"