Puerto Rico

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Puerto Rico is a place of colorful inspiration with the deep green tropical plants, lusty red flowers and the salty turquoise water encircled by miles of golden sand.

What an fabulous place to spend 7 days with two of my favorite people. The three of us together (professional violinist, Biblical scholar, and art historian) took on Puerto Rico!

Ah, the Caribbean… so romantic with its fascinating stories of deep sea treasure and marauding pirates. My eyes were peeled for Will Turner and Captain Jack Sparrow: “Yo ho, yo ho, a pirates life for me.”

We explored the city, danced the salsa, swam in the most beautiful beaches, hiked through the rainforest, admiring waterfalls and sliding down natural waterslides, tasted Mofongo (fried plantain) and Mallorca (sweet bread),  and drank the “world’s best pina colada” while quoting “where has all the rum gone?”

This place is a tropical paradise.

We stayed in San Juan, the capital. The city consists of two parts: San Juan and Old San Juan.

In Old San Juan, the blue/gray cobblestone streets ramble about the brightly painted stuccoed homes of yellow, green, red, and lavender. The balconies overlooking the streets are decorated by elaborate rod iron and wooden shutters. The doors of these homes are quite large mostly wooden with iron handles and hinges. We were walking along the street admiring the colors, when I caught glimpse of an opened door; I peaked in: cool tiled floors, plush furniture, and a woman sat reading in her chair. I wanted to join her.

El Morro, the colonial citadel, sits atop the cliff protectively overlooking Old San Juan and San Juan Bay. A mighty fortress, El Morro capably defended the city from many a foe including the attempt from the famous admiral of the English fleet during the Elizabethan era, Sir Francis Drake (to the Puerto Rican’s, he was a pirate). Constantly beaten by the ocean waves and hot sun, the fortress remains strong and a calming presence within the city.

Everyone kept telling us, “you must go to la Placita on Friday night. It’s the place to be!”

So we went.

After a short and expensive taxi ride, we found ourselves in a hopping square of people, bars, club, and restaurants–all opened onto the square and thus had a fresh airy atmosphere for dancing and conversation.

Our first stop dew us in with their live band and before we knew it, the three of us were dancing and learning how to salsa!

Who knows how long we were in that place.

Our next stop was the 70’s disco bar. We walked inside and immediately began dancing with a few Puerto Rican women to “I Will Survive”

And so the night went on. We danced and danced and met an array of people.

What a night! What a week!

Everyone asks, “what was your favorite part of Puerto Rico?

Hands down, the people…oh, and mallorca.

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“If I Go, I’m Goin'”

img_7341It was a Joseph Turner painting the evening of September 29th in the Bighorn Mountains. The sky’s color was in utter chaos: blue, orange, red, yellow, and gray. I was walking along the Mesa completely alone and although small felt as though I was a subject in this gloriously oiled canvas. It was a Gregory Alan kinda moment… the music timed the brush strokes. I was in a dream.

Like the colors, my heart was in turmoil–being pulled in so many directions.

It was my farewell hike. I was saying goodbye to the snowy capped mountains, the sea of golden aspen, and the lichen covered cliffs. It was not only the end of the season at the ranch but a season in my life. I cried.

It was time to move on and begin a career. It was time to finally “settle down” as they say or so I was trying to convince myself and had yet to succeed.

I began applying to numerous jobs all over in various fields of work and interviewing with large companies. They were cold and formal and seemed to lack warmth and excitement. “What am I gonna do, Lord” I kept praying. All the while, I craved the alluring loneliness of the Bighorn Mountains.

Last week, I received a call from the ranch. the owner was on the line. “We want you back, Laura,” she said. Immediately, I was back in the mountains, curled up on top of Fan Rock watching the stars, and listening to the sounds of French Creek rushing hundreds of feet below.

I couldn’t though…I needed to begin thinking of a long-term career.

Then she said that they could work with me and negotiate. We discussed what we both needed and agreed. “What do you say, Laura?” She said.

“Yes!”

My sister once told me, “Laura, the nature of a decision means giving something up. You just have to decide what is most important to you and what you are willing to give up.”

I am beginning to understand…

Here’s to 2017!