Photos of Moab UT

Here are the photos I promised. It’s only a small sample of those we took.


The desert seemingly goes on forever, flat and barren.


And then, on the horizon, the red cliffs appear. I have no idea why the camera decided to take a black and white photo — wrong setting? Not enough contrast on an overcast day?


I love this one, with the rock in the road. They don’t bother with signs saying “watch for falling rocks.” If the cliffs are close to the road, there’s always a layer of stones and pebbles and bigger rocks right at the edge of the road.


With no snow, you can see that the soil is red. It’s a different feeling all together.


The deer crossed the road in front of us and went right for the bush, completely ignoring us. The nearer deer has a radio collar.


I hate saying goodbye to people. I have known this for years and years but never looked closely at the why’s.  This is as good a time as any to examine my feelings, having just said goodbye to my friend in Arizona.

At airports, I see other people accompanying their friends or family members right up to the security line, while I insist on a quick goodbye at the curb. Others do not seem upset – or maybe they are, but are hiding it better than I can.

Of course it goes back to my childhood. There were lots of partings which I was not prepared for and I was expected not to talk about them afterwards. Sometimes I was given explanations and some of those explanations were outright lies.

Let’s start with the pets. Two dogs left our house, supposedly because they tried to bite my brother. I was told they were going back to the breeder who lived in the country and that they would be taken good care of and would have puppies. Both times I was told this after the fact, so there was no chance for a goodbye. Today I know that’s an unlikely story. What breeder would sell a dog as pet quality and then want to use it for breeding?

For three summers my brother and I were allowed to have kittens. At the end of the summer, they just disappeared. I cannot remember what we were told, if anything. I have no memory of these animals being used as sacrifices, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised.

When I was little, I was lucky enough to have a safe, loving woman take care of me. When I was four, I was told she was retiring because she was too old to take care of children. I also remember thinking that she could not lift me up any more and so I promised her that, if she stayed, I would not get any bigger. That’s where my memory stops. I don’t know if I ever saw her again.

That summer, I was sent to my grandfather’s house. The only people I knew were my grandfather and my little brother. When I came back, there was a new apartment, a new person to take care of us, no dog, my father had been drafted, and many of my toys were missing. And then school started. I was too stunned to cry.

Now these events explain why I dread loss and either cling to people and things or let go of them casually, pretending to myself that I do not care. It doesn’t, however, totally explain my dislike of goodbyes.

It could be magical thinking: if I don’t say goodbye, the person will stay. It’s the act of saying goodbye that makes them leave. Or, since my mother believed that children would be less upset if the parting were unacknowledged, it might be an attempt to spare myself pain. Or I might prefer to get it over with quickly, rather than draw out the pain.

Or it might be all three, and even more.

Twenty-Four Years of Slow Change

I came back as planned!

The trip was fantastic. My best friend and I got along great, and it was a wonderful reminder of the days we travelled together early in our friendship. I felt very loved and very loving.

Not everything was the way I imagined, but that usually is the case. Some things were — the desert in Coober Pedy is every bit as beautiful as I thought it would be. I wish we could have stayed a lot longer. Tasmania was gorgeous. Wombats look like I thought they would, and guess what — Tasmanian Devils sorta look like small wombats. We saw a duck-billed platypus, a whale, dolphins, seals, a pandemelon and tawny frogmouths (I’ll let you Google them), a koala, kangaroos and emus with chicks along the road. That was far more than I expected.

The low point of the trip was when a hungry kangaroo in a petting zoo clawed me and then ate all the food I was giving him, and the paper bag, too. The ones I had seen before were sweet and gentle and well fed. I couldn’t hold it against him — he was a wild animal and seemed to be given mainly hay. With a diet of hay, I would have lunged for goodies, too.

My back was horrible, and remains so. It feels worse, probably because I don’t have new experiences and all that beauty to distract me. I’m having a hard time accepting that this is my new baseline and I will have to make a whole lot more accommodations. My guess is that this was my last big trip, and that makes me very sad. Funny how my body is going downhill even as I get better psychologically.

Rereading what I just wrote, I notice that there are no references to ritual abuse or its after-effects except for the last word of the preceding sentence. A while ago it would have been all about RA, and Australia would have been barely mentioned. When I look back on the day when my memories first exploded into consciousness, I cannot believe the change. If you had told me then that I could ever feel like this, I would have thought you were lying in an attempt to keep me from killing myself.

I wish I could tell those in the early or middle stages of coming to grips with ritual abuse that it can get better, miraculously better. I can tell them, but I can’t make them believe it, any more than I could have believed it in the beginning. There was no room for hope then, there was only the grim daily struggle to stay alive. And, oddly enough, what I did to stay alive led, small step by small step, to where I am today. There is so much to be grateful for, so much to celebrate!