Spring

Today is the spring equinox and as it turns out, my fourth anniversary with WordPress who’s software greeted me with a nice electronic congratulations 🙂 Can’t say I even remember signing up, but four years ago today was exactly nine days before Tricia went into surgery to try to save her spine from the tentacles of the cancer she was so bravely battling. Unfortunately although they called the surgery a success, she never walked again. I don’t even remember blogging the first year of my membership here. Every day consisted of pushing her wheel chair about a mile down to the coffee shop and back. The coffee shop had the only chair on the planet, as far as I know, that she could be comfortable sitting in. The sun would stream into the windows there and that warmth and comfort was about all there was to look forward to. By the next spring she was gone and I was starting life anew… Thinking back that first year alone in the campground was crazy! I’m sure I had plenty to blog about then, perhaps I should go back and read some of my entries 🙂 I remember every weekend through the spring and summer I spent hauling the remnants of our lives together off to an auction house in Denver.

Sangre de Cristo Spring

Sangre de Cristo range on the first day of spring

Today didn’t feel much like spring though, yesterday the windchill was -1 and today the real feel was 10 accompanied by a couple of inches of blowing and stinging snow. That didn’t stop me and Big Dog from making the trek down to the mountain, it was cold but with a couple of inches of fresh snow and some beautiful sunshine it was a splendid day 🙂 The alpenglow was some of the most pronounced that I’ve seen yet, but I shot that yesterday and felt like sleeping in a little today. By the time we got there the view to the west was obscured a bit from blowing snow and haze in the air from the spring snowstorm, but the view of the Sangre de Cristo range was stunning anyway. Although not award winners, the pictures from today are pretty and a good record of the first day of spring for 2018!

Snow on Pikes Peak

Fresh snow on the foothills of Pikes Peak

Was hoping to see some deer out early this morning but no luck with that. I wasn’t paying much attention on the return trail and missed the turnoff which produced a view of the Pikes Peak foothills and some blowing snow off to the east that I haven’t noticed before. Some wispy clouds in the morning sun added to the scene which kind of made the day 🙂 However, plans to get out on my mountain bike were definitely dampened by the wind and snow, maybe next week!

I hope that this spring brings hope and joy to everyone, especially my readers and that all your plans for the warmer weather come to fruition! I know many are struggling with all kinds of issues and it is my fervent prayer that with the onset of the warm sunshine peace and prosperity will seek out and find each and every one of you 🙂

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New Chapter in Life

Been house hunting for almost a year now and finally have one under contract. Financing is iffy though and I have been forced to document my sparse regular employment record. Apparently being a business owner does not count one iota when buying a house. th, 2015 when she passed… So there is a gap in my recent employment record which the loan guy is trying to explain to the underwriters who want some kind of proof of “my story”.

So as I fight to put turn the page on this terrible chapter of my life in this town, I am being forced to dredge up old records and remember the time when I had to downsize 25 years of marriage accumulation to a 21 foot camper in three weeks. Pretty much all the records along with everything else we owned had to be disposed of and I left our cabin with the shirt on my back, the pets, my laptop, the camera and some pictures and DVDs. I really wasn’t wanting to remember that right now. The pets were old by then, so in the last two years they have mostly passed as well. Only Maggie and Fonzy my two black and white cats, remain of the original seven critters who made the journey to the mountains with me.

Fonzy

Fonzy

But as a reminder that life moves on I noticed that some beautiful wildflowers have bloomed in the little cemetery out back where four of my four legged friends are memorialized with pretty quartz stones I found on the hillsides here through the years.

Dot & Puppies

Dottie all grown up with her new pups

 

Also, little Dot that I met last year has had a litter of puppies that I went over to visit yesterday. They are only a week old, eyes not even open and so tiny they almost don’t even look like little doggies! Well, the cutest thing… When I knocked on the door and Dottie saw me she started jumping up and down and screaming with excitement as usual, but when I stepped inside instead of jumping on me she turned aside and stopped and looked at me. So I went closer and she went a few more steps… obviously wanting me to follow. And she had a look on her face like, “come and see what I got!”. She took me right in to show me her new puppies 🙂 Cutest thing I’ve ever seen!

In the meantime I have had to go to work full time to qualify for the home loan and even though I’m fighting it there is an interesting phenomenon that I don’t have a name for yet. When people ask me what “I do”, of course I always say photographer. But when you work full time, the job consumes you, a person becomes what “they do”. You are either working, resting from working or getting ready to go back to work. So I’ve noticed that I don’t even feel like a photographer anymore and I’m taking fewer and fewer pictures. I still bring the camera along but I see things to shoot and I’m like… naaa, I already have one like that.  I also am having fewer and fewer ideas along with less and less motivation to continue. I am fighting hard against it but now I feel like an “unloader”, which is just a job, not even a profession and I don’t want to lose sight of my dreams.

Dot

Dot when she was a puppy

Well anyway, back to the point… I so badly want to start a new life chapter in a new town in a new home with new fur babies and new friends. A place where everything I see doesn’t remind me of some hardship. Perhaps then my inspiration will return, maybe this brief foray into the past will quickly be over and just a necessary step in putting a bookend on a lost decade with a whole new life in front of me 🙂 Lol… or maybe it is like the song says, I have a “Gypsy soul to blame and you were born for leavin’.”.

As everything from thirty years of marriage and my life as a software engineer was passing away, this verse from the book of Ezekiel often kept me going, and continues to as I prepare to start over again … Ezekiel 36:11 And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the Lord.”. The verse along with Dot’s new puppies seem particularly appropriate 🙂

Steve Krull is a prolific sports and nature photographer selling prints and stock images online as S.W. Krull Imaging at various sites and agencies. Click this link to view all the products and services offered by Steve Krull and S. W. Krull Imaging. Additional services include, wedding photography, portraiture and model portfolios, and event photography. Additional products include fine art stock imagery, prints and gift items


One Year Ago

One full year has gone by since  the passing of my wife and companion of 27 years. Much has changed in that year, but much is the same. I find that I miss what we had together, especially during our years in the Denver area. I miss our home, our friends our holidays together and having someone to hang out with on bad weather days. I remember the fun we had just walking around Park Meadows on rainy days, looking at stuff and going to the food court.  I miss walking our dogs in the parks near our home in Parker and hiking in Castlewood Canyon State Park. But after a full year, I also find that I can go days at a time without looking back, only forward at what might be yet to come.

Tricia MemorialOne thing I find interesting and maybe even good news that might be helpful to others navigating the grieving process, I can now visit places that remind me of our life together without feeling the sting of loss. At first I just wanted to escape, to go someplace where every restaurant, every park and every shopping mall didn’t remind me of our life together. But after one year, these places have become mine, not ours. One year of new experiences, new friends and new memories have made their way to the forefront of my mind and I feel at home in the town where fate landed me. The people in my life too have changed… no longer do they greet me with sadness when they see me as the broken half of a pair, but as my own separate and distinct identity.

Out of necessity, I have completed the massive and ruthless downsizing that took me from suburban husband with a good sized house, yard and garage to single and nimble photographer ready to roll on the next big project at a moments notice. The mountains are starting to respond to the advance of spring and the signs of renewed life are all around. With the change of four seasons now behind me I am ready to move on, to create a new life for myself and experience new things and to contemplate new possibilities. But I know also that I will never forget her and the good times we had together, I wouldn’t want to.

Order

Sitting here at Starbuck’s in Englewood passing the time until lunch and thinking about how far I’ve come since that fateful day last March. I am amazed at how many things had fallen into disrepair and neglect from the battle we were forced to fight against Tricia’s cancer. Almost three months have gone by and I am now starting to see some semblance of order taking shape. Both my vehicles are maintained and in working order again, most of the move and cleanup are behind me, physical strength returning to these old muscles and my stock photography work is proceeding full steam ahead with almost 500 images added this spring.

A new normal is emerging as I build a life for myself that doesn’t include space for a spouse. I have noticed a subtle change in the way I think of her as I go about my new daily routine. At first everything I did that reminded me of her just hurt but now I don’t think of her all the time while I am doing my new things. Now I actually like to take some time out and go somewhere or do something we used to do together just because it makes me feel close to her again. Close without the pain. Kind of a peaceful reconciliation I guess I would call it.

Kayaker

Kayaker competing in FIBark 2015

I have somehow found the strength to start doing some of the things that I have been meaning to do for many years, like photograph the Garden of the Gods 10M race and go to FIBark in Salida. I am starting to feel less like an unemployed nurse and more like a photographer again. And today, up here in Denver, I am just enjoying being in a place that I called home for over 30 years. Lunch with Dennis today will be at one of our old favorite places on Santa Fe, the Platte River Grille. Haven’t been there in probably 10 years and am looking forward to having a burger on the patio under the amazing blue Colorado sky on this beautiful summer day.

Back to the Future

Back to the Future

These trips to Denver are really messing with my head. Up until now, my life has been neatly divided into distinct periods of time mostly based on jobs or accomplishments. Thus was my move to the mountains and the start of my nature stock photography endeavor. Tricia’s passing has of course blurred the lines and I have had to make numerous trips to Denver to tie up loose ends.

Well of course my old friends are still there, including Dennis whom I worked with for many years at the computer mainframe company I was employed by for most of my software career. When we first got together for lunch after at least six years it was like we had lunch together yesterday. Nothing has really changed, nothing forgotten, six years gone by like it was nothing.

At first it felt strange going back there because all I could think of was my memories with Tricia, but now that time has put some distance between me and those memories I find myself getting back in touch with the place. Today as I stood out front of the restaurant it felt like it had been just a week since we met there and shot the breeze waiting for the doors to open at 11:00. The place has not changed at all, everything is exactly as it was six years ago, including the bartender and all the waitresses, who all look exactly the same.

Lunch was great and soon we were headed for home, me barreling down five lanes of I25 in bumper to bumper traffic just like a pro race car driver, except of course that there is no point in passing anyone as there is nowhere to go but behind someone else. The city looks pretty much the same, the same buildings, same exits, same names on the buildings. As I passed through the south end of town I started looking for my exit, Lincoln Avenue… until of course I remembered that wasn’t my exit anymore. Then I started thinking how much I felt like I was in an episode of Back to the Future. Am I the guy who lives like a hermit in the mountains, or the guy cruising I25 and hitting the cool restaurants in the big city? Weird.

Then it occurred to me… God and destiny didn’t build those partitions around my life, I did. Tricia’s cancer has shrunk my world over the last few years but now we are both free of that terrible scourge. She is dancing in Heaven and I am free to be whoever I want to be. Today I was the city guy, tomorrow I will put on my backpack and climb Bald Mountain where I will not encounter another person for hours. It’s all good.

Memories

Haunted by memories, that’s what I’m noticing these days. At first I didn’t notice it too much because I was already feeling bad anyway and I was busy with my nose to the grindstone moving out of the old place and into the new. Now the pressure for the move is off and I am finding time to do some other things that I enjoy. However, I am also finding that all the places I enjoy and all the things I like to do are reminding me of the partner I no longer have.

The Colorado Springs area was always our special place. We lived in a subdivision south of Parker and it was only a quick 45 minute drive down highway 83 to the Springs and many of our favorite things to do. We loved coming down here to avoid the Denver traffic and do our shopping. We had some favorite restaurants and enjoyed going to the health food stores for our groceries. We especially liked Manitou Springs and Old Colorado City where we would walk the downtown and enjoy a coffee somewhere. Then of course we finally moved down here and settled in Woodland Park. We didn’t have too many good memories of this town though, pretty much just hardship and suffering since the day we arrived. It is also a small town, so it didn’t take to long to find and do pretty much everything fun to do here.

The other day I was out and about and needed to stop in and use some wifi to upload my pictures, so I stopped in at the coffee shop where she liked to go. At the end it was about the only place she could go, as there was a recliner chair there with a footrest attachment and huge south facing windows. The sun would shine in and she could sit in that chair and get warm. The cancer robbed so much of her energy that she was always cold, but at the coffee shop she could sit there and enjoy some warm time. So anyway as I sat there I could not help but notice the empty recliner and it was too much to bear. I finished my uploads and got out as fast as I could. The library is the same way. Before she got too sick, she loved going there and looking at magazines and picking out movies. Now I don’t like going there and I don’t even like watching movies anymore. My friends were our friends, the church was our church. Today I went to the Greek Grill in the Springs that we used to go back in the “good times”. Same thing, but I was hungry and needed something good, so it was worth the pain. The girls at the counter hadn’t heard and both cried when they asked about her and I could only shake my head.

I don’t know how to deal with this, except that I am getting rid of everything as fast as I can in case I just have to leave this place. I wonder how many other people have just had to leave somewhere and get a completely new start? I wonder if it would even work. I wonder if I stay here long enough if the bad feelings will pass. Sometimes I wonder why I’d even want to stay here. Time will tell.

Thirty Days

Thirty days has passed since Tricia went home to Jesus and the knife edge of the pain has dulled a bit. Four weeks has been enough to organize my new place and develop some semblance of a new routine. My cats too seem to have settled in, found their favorite window perches and have started to play again. Buddy took it hardest as he was her lap cat and the one who took it upon himself to try to make her feel better. But he too seems to have found a new normal and finds comfort in helping me watch TV in the evenings. There is still much to do though, now that I have all my belongings moved I see that there is still way too much and way more than I need. They say the fire danger is high already, I think I will look at it as if there were already a fire in the vicinity threatening this location. I want to be ready to just hook up and go.

The main thing I have noticed though is that with the passing of just thirty days I am able to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Towards the end of Tricia’s life there was total focus on her condition. There was so much going on all the time and the need so great that there just wasn’t time for anything else. Now I notice that I have time to rise above it all, to look at what came before and to think about what will come next. Life is still one day at a time, but I don’t need so much attention on the now that I can’t think ahead and behind.

I can also feel strength returning to my legs. Being able to just walk out the door and onto the trail each morning has been a good thing. I think today I will tackle the upper loop. Next week I should be ready to climb to the top of the ridge and maybe all the way to Bald Mountain. Last year about this time I had purchased a book on the Lost Creek Wilderness and was looking forward to doing some exploring. Last year it wasn’t meant to be, but I have found the book and maybe this will be the year.