"Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing." — Laurie Buchanan

Geographic Bucket List

Our son is coming for a whirlwind visit — Woohoo! As we plan how we’ll invest our time together, we’re referring to the “Idaho Bucket List” we received when we met up with friends at Story Story Night in downtown Boise.

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Published by Boise State Public Radio, the lengthy list includes:

  • Spend the night in a forest fire lookout
  • Picnic at Shoshone Falls on the Snake River
  • Pan for gold
  • Bike the Hiawatha Trail
  • Catch an Idaho trout

What sights or activities would you take visitors to see or do in your neck of the woods?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Inside or Outside

The historic Warm Springs district in Boise has a plethora of beautiful, ornate gates and doors that we admire on our daily walks, but my favorites are the well-worn, rustic ones that look like they belong in a Hobbit shire. Seeing them reminds me of a song we used to sing when I was growing up:

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One door and only one
And yet its sides are two
Inside and outside
On which side are you?

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Do you feel like you’re on the inside or the outside?

© Laurie Buchanan

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A birds-eye view of a particular section in downtown Boise currently looks like a knoll covered with hundreds of industrious carpenter ants. Heavy equipment and hardhats abound, but the piece that grabbed my attention is one of the sky-high cranes. To me it looks tall enough to knock on Heaven’s door.

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Whether Heaven is a geographic location with pearly gates and streets paved with gold, a gathering place for source energy, a reassuring figment of one’s imagination, or something else altogether, it’s the term many spiritual traditions use when referring to where one’s spirit/soul goes in the afterlife.

My father recently passed away and it’s comforting for me to think about his returning “home” after “graduating” from a lifelong class of learnings here on Earth.

A student of purposeful living, I’m ready and rarin’ to continue learning for several more decades. But if I find myself knocking on Heaven’s door anytime soon, I feel at peace with that, too.

Are you prepared to knock on Heaven’s door?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Zen Den

It’s that time of year in the Pacific Northwest when Mother Nature not only makes herself known in vivid color of riotous blossoms and 50 shades of green on every tree, but in storms that vie with the incredible Native American drums of thunder.

Willa used to get scared out of her wits when thunder crashed, banged, and boomed! Our Vet had us try homeopathic remedies, a calming prescription, and a “thunder shirt” — all to no avail. Then we created a “thunder bunker,” lovingly known as her Zen den.

Simple yet effective:

  1. We cover her crate with towels.
  2. She puts herself into it and we close the door just “to” — not latched.
  3. We listen for her to dig up her bedding, circle, and settle in.
  4. We turn on a large fan to cover the noise of the thunder and she sleeps through the storm.

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Literal or figurative, when you’re scared or upset, where’s your Zen den?

© Laurie Buchanan

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The Hugging Tree

In relocating last year we learned that Idaho is known as the “Gem State,” and Boise is known as the “City of Trees.”

Ideal for “tree huggers” (and dog lovers and bicycle enthusiasts), one of our recent walks revealed that it’s also perfect for hugging trees!

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In the years I’ve been observing trees, I’ve never seen anything quite like this. Notice how the left trunk seems to reach out and hug the trunk on the right.

Lifting you off your feet and whooshing the breath right out of you, it’s been noted on numerous occasions — by friends and family alike — that Len is a world class hugger.

Our son who’s coming for a visit in a few weeks has been put on notice: Be prepared to have the living daylights hugged out of you!

When was your last breath-whooshing hug?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Breezy Bay Morning

The sun, barely ripe on the bay’s horizon, offers the promise of warmth later in the day. The morning is still cool with a hint—an afterthought, really—of remaining mist. Hugging oneself in the muted hush of dawn’s solitude, we revel in the bone-deep pleasure of having the porch almost to ourself. The only other occupant are clothesline thoughts that open their souls—slowly—as mussels do when steamed.

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I’m struck by the clarity with which my dear friend, Canadian artist Terrill Welch, has captured the moment in Breezy Bay Morning on Saturna Island, a 36 x 36 inch oil on canvas painting that offers a private view where we inhale the glory of brine-tanged air, take in the contours of the land and distant bay, and if we’re willing, allow nostalgia to sweep through us, carried by a wave of retrospection.

Perfectly set at arm’s reach, the pulley allows us to retrieve memories, much like scenes in a play. Some evocative and positive, soaked in the freshness of purifying sunlight; others flap and snap in the gust of pre-storm turbulence. Seasoned, those of us who’ve lived any life know that reminiscing is often a bittersweet experience.

The world is chaotic. The serene setting in Breezy Bay Morning on Saturna Island offers a gentle porch view.

Every clothesline tells a story—even the one in our mind’s eye. What’s yours?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Game On!

Len is the recipient of a gorgeous bocci ball set from Heineken (yes, the beer people — don’t ask). A super cool gift because we happen to live just two blocks from a park that boasts a beautiful bocci ball court.

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Studies show that play for adults — not just children — isn’t a frivolous use of time. In fact, play is a vital component to health and wellbeing. Just a few of the many benefits include:

  • Stress relief. Endorphins (one of the brain’s feel-good chemicals) are released during play.
  • Connection. Shared laughter promotes a playful disposition and boosts our relationship with others.
  • Enhanced brain function. Play stimulates creativity and can even help to stave off depression.
  • Physical vibrancy. Play promotes vitality (energy) and stamina (endurance).

When was the last time you played?

© Laurie Buchanan

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