•?The late Pulitzer Prize-winning author Russell Baker wrote, “The worst thing about being a tourist is having other tourists recognize you as a tourist.” To that end, while I was waiting for a train in Germany long years ago, an American acting badly asked me if I spoke English, to which I replied, “Nein” all the while with an English edition of Time Magazine opened in my lap.

•?During this same pilgrimage across the pond, The Eagles had a popular song whose line, “Every form of refuge has its price,” spoke directly to my heart. Looking back, at that point in my life I had taken refuge traipsing around the UK, Scandinavia and Europe for months on end in a ’62 VW Bus. The price of my refuge was one of the best investments I have ever made in my life.

•?Judy Gage, my friend of 50 years, is a Santa Rosa fire survivor, a caregiver to her husband, a loving daughter to her 94-year-old mother, and a horse-lover through and through. When I sent her photos of icicles hanging off my horse Riddle, she sent me a photo of her washing her horse’s feet before stabling her for the night. Two very different ways to live the good life.

•?One of the saddest sounds I know is hearing the whine of a winch doing its job: pulling. Whether it’s a tow truck at the scene of an accident up on the pass or the winch on a large-animal disposal truck, like as not, something has gone terribly wrong. I’ve heard winches on both rigs. That sad, whining sound and the empty space left behind is forever etched on my heart.

•?When he wasn’t wearing a cowboy hat, Vernon most always had on a snap-down-flat cap which I’m given to don on all cold mornings, while the warming fire heats the house we built together. Though we didn’t literally pound the nails on my log home, we poured over the architectural drawings for hours on end, Vernon having majored in architecture at UC Berkeley before going off to World War II. Making those design decisions together was one of the most rewarding parts of having my home built. Thirty years later, I wouldn’t change a thing.

•?When I heard a man on Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge say, “You gotta wanna be where you are,” I so agreed. He was talking about the rewards for the effort of kayaking the coves of Lake Powell and I thought about the rewards for kayaking the coves of life.