Seeking answers

I felt like this photo was my reward for being at Zion today. I felt honored they let me get so close. 


I’m sorry it has been a while since I posted. I’ve been trying to sort through some things – figuring out my place in this world, etc. I’m feeling like this town is too small for me to stay in permanently, having lived the last 20 or so years of my life in big cities. And I’m getting the urge to possibly pursue seasonal work as Becky does from Interstellar Orchard. But I don’t want to give up on helping animals either.  So, blog readers, I’m totally open to any and all suggestions you might have on that front! (And yes, I have signed up again with Workamper News so I can peruse the possibilities there in addition to

But seriously. I’ve been feeling down in the dumps lately. Not sure why. It might be the weather, the ever-shortening days, the smallness and consequently isolated-feeling I get from being in this town. Maybe it’s because with the trees having lost all of their leaves, I can see just what a dump the property is behind where my RV is parked. Literally. It looks like the owner of the house just let a whole bunch of cars or other types of machines park themselves out back, to just rust away. It’s depressing and an eye sore. I’m told the guy is like 90 years old, though, so I just kind of ignore it and try to not look at it or dwell upon it. But it is an eyesore, to be quite blunt.

I was amazed at how close this family of mule deer let me get to them. 

I’m just having a hard time of it right now and it’s frustrating to not be able to snap out of it. I used to be able to rely on my workouts to keep my mood up, but lately, I just don’t even have that motivation to work out like I used to. It’s been several weeks since I went on a real run. I don’t count the one or two nights on the treadmill where I did walk/run/walk/run, etc. I’ve also been sleeping a lot more than I used to. I get bored to death at the gym with the same routines over and over. Last week, I went to the gym once. Once. That’s unheard of from me. And, most nights, it’s all I can do to stay awake past 8, which might be one of the reasons you’ve not seen many blog posts from me lately.

I went to one of my favorite (and cheap) places to go, today. Zion National Park. (It’s cheap because I have an annual pass so it doesn’t cost me anything more than the gas required to get there.) I made sure to go early enough that the sun would be out and feel warm for quite a while. I found a good spot on a bench outside of the Zion Lodge and read a book while occasionally looking at the massiveness of this tree, pictured below, and tried to figure out just how old it is. Any guesses?


I decided at one point to drive and park at the visitor’s center. Once there, I decided instead of doing the Pa’Rus Trail again, I  would do some walking toward the town of Springdale. Springdale is a small, artsy town that borders the park, and while it’s small, as you can see in the photo below, at least it has a large screen movie theatre. (That’s more than I can say for the town I’m in right now. But I digress.)

The town is definitely in its off-season mode. It seemed like almost every business I passed was closed. A coffee shop was open, as were some of the outdoor gear type places, but most of the restaurants were shuttered. I soon gave up on the idea of eventually people-watching, and started walking back toward my car and that’s when I saw this family of mule deer, up close and personal. I took so many photos – the ones sprinkled throughout this post are just a sampling.

Mama and baby. I was so lucky to get this shot with the baby’s big ears turned toward me. 

Another guy came over and started taking pictures too and we got to talking. Earlier today, he had hiked Angels Landing, and he said at the top he saw a California Condor, which he told me was made extinct in the wild in the late 1990s. He said they’ve only recently begun to be released into the wild in Zion and the Grand Canyon, so we agreed that it was pretty amazing that he saw one today. Together, we just marveled at how close the deer let us walk toward them. They clearly know they are safe there, and that’s a beautiful thing.

Seeing these deer lifted my spirits in a way it is hard to describe. I’ve always felt this connection to animals, like they just know I mean them no harm. I also enjoyed connecting with another human being over how it felt to be so close to them and to feel such wonderment together. It got me to thinking of ways I can help animals other than or in addition to what I do now for work. I’m still sorting it out in my mind, that and a lot of other things. I just know spring can’t come fast enough, for so many reasons.

Have you ever been down and just can’t snap out of it, even after a few weeks? What did you do to get out of it?


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25 thoughts on “Seeking answers

  • Terri-

    I was diagnosed with SAD when I moved from the ocean (Mexico) to the desert (Bouse). The first winter there was the worst I had ever felt. After talking to a terrific GP we concluded that every winter had been hard for me since my twenties. A little Zoloft and WAALAH! The season was bearable and I was on my merry way!

    Good luck to you and keep seeking solutions. And connections. They are there, I swear they are. But they are not going to be simple.

    (how about attending some high school basketball games, see if there are any cute, single older dads there??)

    Geneva Saint-Amour


    • I definitely think i have SAD but have never been diagnosed with it officially. I want to get one of those blue lights but I am trying very hard to not go into my savings to just make it from paycheck to paycheck and am actually also trying to save some $, believe it or not. I wish it was as easy as adding zoloft, but I would think the prozac would already be trying to take care of that, wouldn’t it? I am seeking solutions inside myself and outside too. I’ll eventually find them.

  • You made so many changes at one time, that it is probably hard for your body and mind to make sense of it all very quickly. The constants are Little Osito and the kitties. Treasure them; they love you unconditionally.

    Virtual hugs,


    • Judie, I did that last night – I sat on the couch with my chromebook, and Osito on my right as usual. Before long, Bonkers had found his way close to me and he just kept looking at me with those big soulful eyes of his. Then MAx came barreling over and sat on my lap, pushing the chromebook away. (It’s a patented move of his, he doesn’t care what might be in his way of his target.) We just looked into each other’s eyes for a while, and he let me do nose-to-nose with him several times. They really are what will get me through this time and this winter. Thank you.

      • Animals always know! ;-> it’s going to be a long winter, but you are accustomed to cold, and the snow will be beautiful to photograph.

      • I know I’m accustomed to cold but that also means I hate it, and want to escape it. That’s the plan for next winter. 🙂

      • I’m with you! I really detest this time of year, even though it isn’t really very cold here for most of the day. It’s 74 degrees on my deck in the bright sunshine right now, so why am I still whining? ;->

  • Hi Terri, and thanks for writing honestly about how it’s been lately.

    You’re exploring some things that relate to the move west–including the social limitations of the town, the physical surroundings at your home, the city things you miss doing, as well as the shorter days and colder weather. I know winter affects me and has for years, and am having my own round of issues related to taking on several major transitions at the same time. It’s a lot to deal with and it does take time. Whatever the feelings are, there is nothing wrong with having them.

    I like the way you found something uplifting in the connection to the animals, and the conversation with the guy who was there with you. It sounds like breaking out of routines and exploring new outlets may be important, as is building more social connections. (Easier said than done, I know.) You sensed the need to do something different, and there was some payoff in that. If I was living there, I’d be exploring Springdale, too. 🙂

    I am sending you a private message on FB with a few more private thoughts. If you’d like to kick any of that around, let me know. I’d be happy to discuss in writing or by phone.

  • Have you tried taking vitamin c and d? It does help some in the wintertime with the blues. Hugs to you. I hope you can perk up soon. Depression can be a vicious cycle. Will you get to see your family during Christmas? If not, maybe that is bringing you down.

    • I know, and you guys will always be my family too. Will try calling you tonight (my phone never rang yesterday when you called, only told me that you had left a voicemail.

  • It sounds like your physical environment is very important to you. (I’m the same way and being surrounded by unpleasant sights really affects my mood). You absolutely could do what Becky and so many others are doing, as long as the fur babies agree! 🙂

  • Terri,

    I really hate hearing that you are in the doldrums. You have so much to offer the world and you put yourself out there everyday for all of us who follow your life, your babies (furballs), the bunnies, and the adventures you have set upon. Without trying to sound cliche — “Take care of yourself.” Don’t be hard on yourself in the least if you need medication to help you through this rough patch you currently find yourself. Thanks for sharing the wonderful pictures. It reminds me of my visits to Lake Possum Kindom, outside of Dallas. The deer are not hunted there and will actually eat out of your hands. It’s so wonderful to see wildlife that are relaxed and content.
    I was reminded by your story of the condors, of this excerpt from “Moby Dick” which seems appropriate for this post: “… and there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest of gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces. And even if he forever flies within the gorge, that gorge is in the mountains, so that even in his lowest swoop the mountain eagle is still higher than the other birds upon the plain, even though they soar.” I send you a Big Ol’ Texas Hug!

    • Thank you, so much, David. I do appreciate it. It’s amazing what we also see in the sanctuary – a big 5 point buck just crossed the road the other day as if he didn’t have a care in the world. It was so cool to see he was so relaxed.

  • I’m wondering if you’ve settled on the right amount of your anti-depressant. Perhaps you should be talking to your doctor one more time. And I think you have also gotten some real good advice from the folks above. Change in routine, getting outside, maybe joining a group of some kind, all might help. At the very least know that you can vent here!

    • I’m going to give myself a little bit to get adjusted to the dosage I’m taking now (30 mg) which might take a few weeks, but you are right, and I might touch base with my doc back home, to be on the safe side. I did force myself to go to the gym the last two mornings and that helped. And I’ve begun writing down things in a journal at night that I am thankful for, and that helps.

      • Yep, they can sometimes get to me. I’m not super into the holidays anymore – seeing all the commercials, I kind of see through them for what they are – an effort to get yo to spend money you don’t have, just to fit in. But at least in the past, I could go home to see family. This year, it’s not an option.

  • Maybe you’re feeling the inevitable letdown that comes from a job that’s not what it was advertised to be. 🙂 In any case, hang in there and spring will come – enjoy that part of the country while you can, cause I have a feeling you’ll be moving on soon.

  • Sorry you feel down. It’s likely the social isolation. Maybe consider moving someplace where there are more people. Salt Lake City? It’s a city, but not as expensive by far than NE cities and you’re still surrounded by nature. Best Friends has an office there. Maybe inquire about a transfer if one comes up? Just a thought. Other things that help me are my art and meditation. Sometimes, just letting myself grieve or be sad. I think we tend to stigmatize sadness, loneliness and grief, but they are part of our condition and happen in cycles. The trick is not getting stuck there.

    • I have been looking into positions with the organization in various locations, thanks, Laura. I would definitely think I would be happy in some place that has even better weather, so I think Salt Lake would be “out” as a consideration. But you are right, we do stigmatize a lot of things.

      I have begun writing down things in the evening that I am grateful for and it is helping a bit. I am definitely trying to not stay stuck, as you say.

  • Terri,

    You are so open about your life and thoughts. Finding the right place to live is important. I’ve found that I like the NC mountains during the summer (hiking, waterfalls, music, etc.). I like Florida with the ocean and beaches in the winter. I don’t like cold weather.

    You commented about maybe traveling in a Class B motorhome. You might want to consider a Class C or an older Class A. The Class B motorhomes are nice and get great gas mileage, but they are expensive. If you’re not going to travel a lot, a Class B motorhome might not be the right choice for you. Just a thought. The Class C and Class A motorhomes are less expensive than most of the Class B motorhomes.

    As far as your depression, consider this: It’s very hard to maintain your balance on a bicycle when you’re not moving, but it’s easy to maintain your balance when you’re going somewhere. I think life is the same way. When you’re on a mission or are trying to accomplish something, you don’t even think about maintaining your balance.

    Just my two cents worth, Terri.

    • Thanks, Jerry, I hope I’m not too open to the point where people are yelling to themselves, “TMI, TMI!” 🙂 I was thinking to get a class B because it will be my only vehicle. I wouldn’t be able to afford a Class A and a toad vehicle. And a Class B is much more driveable, but I have no illusions about the price, it would have to be an older well-maintained one. So if I did go with a Class C, it would have to be a smaller one. I am trying to find out a way to learn more about engines in this neck of the woods also. A friend told me he would help me learn how to change my own oil. So that’s a first step.

      Very good point about maintaining balance while trying to complete a mission – I seem to always need a goal to strive toward – that’s why I thought workamping might work for me. Things would always be new(ish) and I would need to contemplate my next step at least a few months ahead so I would have finances and other stuff figured out in advance. And I could possibly get to see my family more (i.e. maybe do workamping in MI one summer to be closer to my sis and her kids.)

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