A Porch of My Own

A Porch of My Own

Saturday, August 22, 2020

My Happy Place

I’ve been in a funk for a couple of weeks. It’s a lot of unconnected little things. Nothing major, and with so many people having big issues with the pandemic, I really am lucky. Still, sometimes you just get down. 

Fall is in the air in the mornings, which I love, but it’s always tinged with sadness. It’s my favorite season and it was Rickie’s also. All the things he liked best happened in the Fall. So it’s always the hardest season to get through, even though it’s still my favorite. We’ve had some beautiful mornings and you can just begin to see some of the trees thinking about turning. Not yet, but somehow you know it won’t be long. There’s a nip in the air. Not enough for a jacket, just enough for a shirt with some sleeves! It doesn’t last long and by noon it’s warming up. 

Monday I’ll be 71 years old and I’ll have seen 10 more birthdays than Rickie did; he was 61 when he died. A few I got before he was born because I was 3.5 years older than him. I never take these years for granted. I hope I’ve made the most of them, these years he never got. I’ve tried to make them count, for me and for my family. And while I’m always appreciative of the time I’ve been given, it always makes me sad that Rickie didn’t get these years. That he didn’t get to see the kids and grandkids grow, didn’t get to see all the beautiful places I’ve seen here. 

I’ve tried to keep his memory alive. Because he wasn’t given these 10 years and I was. To tell his stories. To tell what he believed in, what he stood for. What he’d tolerate and what he wouldn’t abide. To remember his laugh and to remember his tears. To remember how he loved his family. To remember how he tried to make us strong. So that when we had to we could go on. 

Today I decided I needed to get myself out of this funk. So I grabbed my little backpack and hiking pole and headed for what is my happy place here. Down a gravel road in a beautiful valley. Pagosa Peak and Eagle Mountain looming over the rolling fields where cattle graze. 

The Piedra River Trail was the first trail I hiked here. It has some nice memories attached to it. Even to how I came to know of it. I ran into a kind fella older than me downtown by the San Juan River my first Spring here and he told me about it. It’s a beautiful trail that runs along the river. There’s another trail parallel to it but higher up the mountain, the Ice Caves Trail. So named for some places where the mountain has split and there are crevices in the ground where ice accumulates and lingers for months. 

Last year was hectic and I never had the chance to hike this trail. So I’ve been wanting to go all summer. It was always put off because I was waiting to see if someone else would go with me. But everyone had things to do, or for one reason or another, it wasn’t right. So I kept waiting and today I just decided to go myself. There are always other people on the trail so if anything happened someone would see you. Except the first time I hiked it there was no one there at all. 

I met some lovely people on the trail. A couple of women older than me, a lot of young women hiking in small groups, some couples, some friendly dogs . A young dad who was amazing. He had 3 kids between maybe 7 and 11 years old and he had a 3 or 4 year old in a carrier on his back. They had already hiked the Ice Caves Trail and were doing this one. I had seen them coming off the Ice Caves Trail when I began my hike. We visited a bit and he asked about the trail ahead. I left them down on the river’s edge with the kids wading in the water. 

There is one section where the trail is rocky and it runs right on the edge of the hill. If you slide off you aren’t going to drown in the river or be carried off because the water is only inches deep in most places. But the hillside is very rocky and you’re going to get hurt. In one place the trail had washed out and there was solid rock that slanted toward the edge. Going downhill is harder for me than going uphill because of my knees. I had an elastic knee brace on and was using my hiking pole, which is really helpful. Still going down I ended up actually doing a little jump to get over it. So I was a little worried about going back. 

But I went on to the most beautiful part for me. Where you can get down to the water. We saw a bear track there one time and all the grandkids get out in the water and stand on a round boulder to take their picture. It’s so dry now that boulder isn’t surrounded by water at the moment. 

As I headed back and got to the rocky part on the edge I saw a lot of people had come in since I’d gotten there. I had to step off the trail several times to let people by. I recognized the wife of the last couple as someone I was acquainted with. They’re a bit younger than me, I think, but in my age group. I noticed her husband went first over the part where the rock surface was. She actually bent over and held onto some rocks to get by. They came by me about 10-15’ away from this place. I said hello and remarked that if I was still there when they came back it was because I couldn’t make it over that slippery place!

Now here’s where men don’t live up to my expectations. It’s not that I’m a needy person. And I’m used to doing things myself. I think of myself as a capable person. But at that place a helping hand would have been nice. And Rickie would have said, to a total stranger, here, let me give you a hand so you don’t slip. But I’ve learned lots of people aren’t like Rickie. Or like the late husbands, Paul and Dale, of my friends Deb and Kerri. I know that’s what they would have done too because all of these guys were always looking out for others. And all the male kiddos in my family would have done the same. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned since Rickie died, it’s that what you expect people to do when you’re alone is not what most of them are going to do. Not only in this situation but in all other kinds. 

So here’s what the man said to me, and in a scornful voice - “you really ought to be with someone.” As if somehow it was a failing on my part that I wasn’t. Well, yes, old man, shouldn’t we all. Life would be much easier If we all had partners. But it is what it is for those of us alone. If we wait for someone to drop what they’re doing and go with us we’ll never do anything. Because we were only the number one priority to our partners. And we don’t need you to remind us of that. 

Then he said he’d listen for my yell in case I went over the edge. 

So, I went ahead and jumped over that spot and it was much easier going that direction, which was up, than going down. And there’s a lesson in there somewhere, I’m sure, about keeping moving upward. 

I stopped shortly after that to take a drink and a young man that had been in the line with everyone making their way over that part of the trail asked me if I was ok. He had heard the exchange. I thanked him and told him I was. So on this trail today I salute all the young people that were friendly, helpful, took time to visit, and noticed a 70 year old woman, making her last hike before she turns 71. 

I was the only person alone on the trail that I saw. Sometimes you’ve got to walk your trail alone. Because it is what it is. 

Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Good Life

I used to say “life is good” all the time. And it was. Since Rickie died I’ve never said it again and it’s been almost 6 years. I had this shirt when he was alive and I haven’t worn it since then either. One day I put it on and it made me cry so I took it off. Folded it up carefully and put it back in the drawer. On the bottom of my t-shirts, under the Jimmy Buffett concert tee. 

I’ve always known it’s the little things that make life good. The painted bunting at the bird feeder, the tiny flower you don’t notice if you aren’t looking down. The full moon lighting up the yard. Dinner from the grill and a cowboy margarita, kale and garlic from the garden. The sunflowers, poppies, and larkspurs coming back each year. Floating down the river on a lazy summer day with the grandkids. Laughing with Rickie over some silly thing. The first norther blowing in and dropping the temp 40 degrees. 

And it’s also some of the bigger things we had in our life. Big to us, not to everyone, things it took us years to acquire and many sacrifices. Having the property in the middle of Texas with the tiny cabin and bunkhouse. Plans to retire there. Modest vacations to New Mexico, Colorado, and in Texas. We never made a lot of money so these things stretched our finances. But we gave up other things to have them. We planned to live simply when Rickie retired and spend our days working on our place, floating the river, having dinners in the yard with friends, taking the tiny camper we had bought on trips west. Rickie would continue hunting and doing some fishing with the kids that wanted to. We’d sit by the campfire and on the porch and watch the longhorns and wildlife go by. 

Life was good. 

But my life is good now. I live in a beautiful place and I share it full time with part of my family. Some of the kids and grandkids come to visit. We have new adventures. We do things we never did before. The family has been lucky so far with this virus and at least right now, no one has been sick with it. 

I have beautiful moments in my life. Like when Bix ran downstairs and into my Bear Den, the part of the house I live in, with his binoculars. He yelled “get your phone to take a picture, there’s a deer in the yard!” Walking him to the school bus stop back before school was moved to distance learning. Planting a garden with him and teaching him what I know. Setting up a stock tank with fish, something we both love having, a memory from the ranch when we always kept goldfish in the stock tanks. 

Giving the grandkids the opportunity to learn to ski and snowboard, being able to set them up with gear and a lesson to get them started. Seeing them ride down the mountain, bringing their friends, seeing the mountains through their eyes, hearing their stories. Going down the sledding hills, everyone laughing and screaming, faces flushed from the cold. Sitting by the campfire surrounded by snow, a billion stars overhead, making s’mores like they’ve done since they were small. Their friends calling me Grandma Sue. 

Riding horses up in the mountains, single file up the trail. Hoping you get a glimpse of a bear, and hoping you don’t! Looking down at the town nestled in the valley. Rafting down the river, ripping with snow melt. Something I never thought I’d do. Hollering when the 42 degree water splashes over you and glad you heeded the advice to put the waterproof pants and jacket on. Hearing stories from Ben, the best guide ever, some of them even true! Another lazy trip with the kids paddling beside us in inflatable kayaks and Ali taking over from Ben steering the raft for a bit, the end of summer making the float easy going. 

My first hike in the first Spring here, alone by the Piedra, no one else there, directions given to me from an older man I met on the downtown river walk. The man who said he’d been here 19 years and you couldn’t dynamite him out of here, giving me hope that I’d feel at home here too. The bartender I didn’t know who offered to send her dog with me so I wouldn’t be alone in case a bear was around. Though I didn’t take her up on that I’ll never forget it. 

Hiking on the trails, some along the river, some in the woods. Feeling your skin prickle when you find the huge bear footprint in the mud by the river. Walking a little faster when you pass the perfect spot for a mountain lion to pounce. Everyone stepping from rock to rock to get a picture in the middle of the river. Skating on the ice in their hiking shoes when it’s frozen over in the winter. Watching them scoot up and down the steep river banks and the boulders as big as a truck. Then trips hiking up to Treasure Falls, the first falls we saw here, pointed out to us by our shuttle driver Cindy the first time we went to Wolf Creek to see what skiing was all about. 

Riding the train up to Silverton with a friend, hanging out the window over the mountain edge taking photos. The Pumpkin Patch train and the Polar Express train, two of the special ones for kids both young and old. The air crisp and clear on the Fall one and Santa and the lights at night for Christmas.  Cutting our first trees down here in the National Forest after a trip with friends to learn the ropes, taking them home and decorating them. Celebrating and decorating for Christmas the first year I was here, for the first time since Rickie died. 

Squeezing as many beds into the house and into my sister’s condo as we can, making room for the grandkids and friends that come. Everyone doubling up and no one complaining. Trips to Durango and Telluride and Ouray. Trying new drinks at the local breweries and bars. Walking the 5k and seeing the hot air balloons rise above the river. 

Hearing everyone’s stories at the end of the day, told with animated faces and much laughter. Especially the ones that didn’t go quite right. Like the time John and Nic went skiing in a blizzard without a lesson and the time Celia tripped over a kid that fell off the lift. He was fine but she had to make the trip down the mountain in a rescue sled. The time I dismounted from a horse and my foot hung up in the stirrup and I just fell off, laughing the whole time. 

This has been my life here in Colorado. As I look back at it so far, I feel so lucky and so thankful to have lived it and to continue living it. It has been more than I could ever have hoped for after the dark hours, days, and months after losing Rickie. I’m so grateful to my family, who hated to see the ranch go but who have embraced this new adventure of Colorado full speed ahead. No regrets. No “should haves”. No “why did yous”. Just jumping into life with both feet and a holler and a smile. 

These are tough times right now for many people and I feel very fortunate that our family has been mostly well so far. There is much heartache in our country. And in our family some are facing difficult challenges. But today I felt the need to look back over the last few years and acknowledge the many blessings my family and I have had. To acknowledge the ways that life has been good to us. It’s been full of many small wonders and some big ones. Sometimes you have to stop and reflect on that, to ground yourself in it as the world spins around. 

Monday, May 11, 2020

39 Years Ago

39 years ago today I broke a promise I had made to myself to never, ever, if I lived to be 100, to ever get married again. If I’m truthful, I was somewhat uneasy in my mind when I did that. Rickie and I hadn’t known each other long. I had gotten married the first time when I was 17 and I’d been a single mom almost 2 years. I wasn’t very trustful of getting married again. The choice was to stay with the known life as it was or to take a risk for an unknown life. But something told me in my heart this was a chance at happiness and it might never come again. Those chances come and go to us fleetingly and sometimes we have to make life changing decisions in an instant. As Guy Clark says, “life is just a leap of faith, so spread your arms and hold your breath, and always trust your cape.” 

And so I did and I’m thankful for that every day. I wish we’d had more time. I wish we’d been able to have some retirement years together. I wish a lot of things. But I never have to wish I’d made a different decision 39 years ago. 

Rickie touched the lives of all of us who knew and loved him. And he changed us in ways we don’t even realize sometimes because those changes have become such a natural part of us. He gave us courage. He showed us there’s always an option, there’s always another plan. Reach for what you want and if it doesn’t work out, try something else. Don’t settle just because it’s safe. Don’t beat yourself up when you fail. Shed some tears, then pick yourself up and move on. 

He taught us to notice the little things along the way. The tiny flowers and the tiny moments. That nature heals. To always have a garden even if it’s just some planters on the patio. To kill your own snakes, both literally and figuratively. To notice the sunsets. To treasure the changing seasons and see the beauty of each. That it’s often the changing that is the most important. 

That we don’t need a big house to be happy and that that should never be the goal of life. To seek out a place that gives you peace and try to find a way to be in that place. To work hard. That a job well done is the best reward. To take pride in keeping your place neat and tidy.

To forgive hurts even when people don’t say they’re sorry. That people can seek redemption and find it. That we did the best we knew how in the past and as Maya Angelou said, when you know better, do better. Don’t beat yourself up where you failed, but try to do better in the future. That we are the sum total of our lives, and if we judge to judge on that. Especially when judging ourselves. 

To just stop and look around you. That sitting on the porch watching the birds is a fine way to pass an afternoon. To help others if you can. To be thankful for what you have. 

And even with his death he reminded us once more to treasure each day. To treasure each other. We never know when we’ll run out of time. 

And, in true Rickie fashion, the best advice in life I can give you is to live it. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Early Morning Conversations

Usually once a week I take Bix to school instead of him riding the bus. He gets to stay home a half hour longer and I get to have interesting conversations with him. Our reward this morning was seeing our first Canadian geese of the season flying in! I’ve been looking for them and some flew over the school while we waited in the line to unload. Bix remarked that they flap their wings a lot and fast. I told him that’s one way to tell they are geese. Or ducks but the geese have the longer necks. As anyone who loves the natural world knows, you never just say oh, look, geese. You always have a conversation about them, a teaching moment. We watched them while we waited and are going to start checking the lake on the way home for sightings. Winter isn’t over but it won’t be long now! 

We also talked about while the cold snowy winter can get tiresome, it keeps us from having some of the annoying things we had back in the warmer Texas. Like tarantulas in the house and scorpions in the bed. I told him how a scorpion in the bed had stung me 4 times one night while I slept. I woke up in burning pain. He wanted to know what I did. I told him I killed it with a shoe and took Benadryl. I explained these scorpions won’t kill you unless you have an allergy but they are painful. We also talked about the cold winter keeping other annoying bugs away, such as roaches and the long centipedes we also had in Texas. And we discussed snakes and how Texas had so many poisonous ones. He said he bet you could even find a cobra in Texas! And how the cold winter gives us the beautiful moderate Springs and Summers, and the gorgeous Falls. 

We agreed there were pros and cons everywhere. And you have to sometimes deal with some of the parts you maybe like less in order to have the best parts. I hope that plants a seed in his 8 year old mind. That you can settle for the mediocre so you miss the more challenging parts, or you can accept the more challenging parts in order to have the best parts! Like they say, you have to climb the mountain for the best view. 

But this morning we were just glad to see the geese return. And with them the sure promise of Spring and all the best that follows! We do love the snow and enjoy it, but this time of year we begin to yearn for it to melt and warmer weather to return. Soon the lakes will be filled with the geese and some will stay until next winter. They’ll have their babies and we’ll watch them swim behind their moms. And the cycle continues, the Spring made more beautiful for having survived the Winter. 

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Little Things

These things that were on the screen porch at the ranch aren’t valuable except to us who collected them. Skulls of a hog, a fox, and an armadillo, dried stink gourds, rocks with fossils, pieces of rusty metal and barb wire, bottles, feathers, and bird nests. But I packed them up when I left and packed them again when I recently moved to a different house closer to town. I moved them myself to the storage unit and moved them from there to this new house.  

Sarah and her family and I share this house and I have a partial garage that is connected to my new Bear Den. It can’t be used as a garage because the previous owner took half of it in as more living space in the walkout basement. So I’m developing it into what we’re calling the Cantina. It’s a cross between the screen porch at the ranch and a place to hang out. It has my table because I didn’t have room for it in the Bear Den but didn’t want to turn loose of it. It has some of my sign collection, my growler collection, a cabinet that Justin’s mom gave me before she passed away, and a little rustic black cabinet that Sarah and I bought in Junction back when we just had the little camper there. It cost $30 and we used it to hold our tiny 13” TV that could only get one channel out of San Angelo and sometimes not that. It was before internet and satellite. We just had an outside antennae that blew around when it was stormy. 

I can’t finish the room yet because there are a few things I need to get out of there still. My washer that is waiting on hookups in a closet under the stairs and some things waiting to be donated or picked up by others. Still I was able today to unpack the 10 boxes of ranch stuff. One box went into the shed attic, and a few things were moved to the lean-to on the back of the shed where I’ll hang them when Spring comes. But I got most of the things on this wall. 

They hold no value and to most people they aren’t even attractive. But to me they are the triggers for many good memories. How Rickie and I sat on the porch as he showed me the rock he found with little tiny shell fossils from back when that area was under the sea. The canister of deer jawbones that he used to teach us how to age a deer. The hog skull from the one feral hog he shot from the back porch. When my friends and I went to the ranch the next weekend for a girls trip we found it cleaned to the bone by the other hogs. 

The turkey feathers from my favorite wildlife there remind me of how many we had on our place, sometimes over 100 in a group. The time the electrician was installing the breaker box on the side of our little cabin, the result of a 15 year dream, and he felt someone watching him. When he turned around about 75 turkeys flew up when startled by his movement. How he was awed when he told us that story. 

The whiskey bottle I found under a cedar tree left by hunters when it had been a working ranch. The wreath we made from cable that had once held an old wooden deer stand, long collapsed when we bought the place. The tiny green wooden camper that I kept to always remind us of how far we had come from the early days and how lucky we were to have what we had. A plaster of paris deer footprint Sarah made the first year we had the property. The washer pitching game Rickie loved to play with the grandsons. The brush he bought for Gus and Woodrow, who soon decided they weren’t going to stand for being brushed. Some green marbles made from coke bottles that were salvaged when a train carrying them crashed; we bought those at a flea market in Boerne one year on the way out to spend the Thanksgiving holidays at the ranch. The dinner bell that would call Gus and Woodrow up from the pasture. 

The memories of a life well lived and well loved. If you tried to sell them you wouldn’t find a buyer that would give you a nickel for them. But I love them enough to pack them up when I’m leaving new furniture and appliances and cabins behind. And when I get older, if I do, and my memories fade, I hope I can look at these little things that made a good life for Rickie and me and for the ones we love, and recall the stories attached to them. And the feelings attached to that memory, though it often comes with tears attached. And remember how lucky I’ve been to lead the life I’ve led. 

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Five Good Years

In the last couple of years leading up to when Rickie was supposed to retire he said to me many times “if we can just have 5 good years retired together, I’ll be happy. No matter what happens after that. Just 5 good years.”

On November 3, 2012 I posted this on Facebook -

“Opening day. Rickie in deer stand. I'm trying to be quiet in the cabin. Remembering back to the early days on opening weekend when Rick and his friend John C used to come out & occasionally our son John. We had the tiny trailer then and most of the time not hunting was spent around the campfire. I didn't come; it was just the guys. Those are good memories for them. Now we're all 20+ years older and have more comfortable quarters. But still. Who knew time would pass so quickly.”

The thing I feel luckiest for with these memories of the horrible camper we had then and of the times spent at the ranch in the early days, is that even then we knew we were lucky and blessed with what we had and with the opportunity we had to be there. I don’t have to look back and say “I wish I had known then how special those times were.” We all knew. And I still try to realize the wonder and the opportunity we have now with the Colorado home. Both then and now I know, in spite of the heartbreak, that we lived our dream and not everyone gets a chance to. Though I have to say also we took advantage of the chance. None of it was an easy choice and we sacrificed a lot to make the dreams come true. I don’t regret a minute if it. 

This time of year when so many memories of family times at the ranch come up, I’m always sad for what we lost when Rickie died. And wonder if I should have stayed and just died of sorrow there. But I’m reminded of an old joke I heard years ago. A man was on top of his roof with flood waters all around. Someone came by on a raft and asked him to get on and he said no, God will save me. Then someone in a little boat came by and tried also to save him. Again he said no, God will save me. A third time someone in an air boat came by and asked him to get on. He replied as before, God will save me. Then he drowned and went to heaven. He asked God why he didn’t save him. God said “I sent a raft and two boats, what more did you want?” 

Sometimes we have to save ourselves whether we think God had a hand in it or not. And here I sit in Colorado watching the snow softly fall outside, having walked with Bixby to the bus stop, fixing to work on unpacking boxes in our new home, hearing from new friends this week, meeting new neighbors, having Colorado friends help me with the move, and looking forward to Nat and Austin and their friends coming over tomorrow. 

We know what’s behind us but we never know what’s ahead of us. In 4 days it will be 5 years since Rickie died. We didn’t get one day together of the 5 good years he hoped for. And sometimes when I think of that I can’t breath. But I’ve survived the 5 years, some times just barely. I didn’t stay at the ranch just to die of sorrow. And I’ve made some wonderful memories and spent some treasured times with the people I love. Was it 5 good years? It was 5 bittersweet years and I have treasured every one. As we did in the early lean days, I know I’m lucky and blessed to be here. 

And I’m glad I got on the boat when it came by. 

Friday, September 6, 2019

Ever So Softly, the Seasons Change

Bixby’s got his Pampaw’s naturalist gene. He said “whoa!” yesterday when he stood beside this 3’ tall grass on the hill. He wanted to know why the seed heads hadn’t fallen off, as he ran his fingers along them gathering the seeds. I told him it wasn’t their time yet. I told him turkeys like to eat them but our turkeys here have more unpopulated areas to go to so we don’t see them in the yard. 

This morning, heading to the car to go to school, he took my binoculars to spot the robins in the snags, on their way south. Yesterday we saw flocks of Canadian geese and talked about how they’re headed south too. 

I was out early this morning putting the recycling out. The temp was 56 but it felt cooler. Those wonderful mornings when Autumn starts to slowly roll in, like fog over the ocean. Next week we’ll be in the 40s at night with highs in the 70s. 

The scrub jays in the Gambel’s oaks by the chicken yard gate were raising a ruckus about something. A couple of nights ago a skunk sprayed one of Bixby’s dogs in that area so maybe the jays were fussing and cussing at a skunk. 

It’s the time of year when the bears go into eating overdrive, the time called hyperphagia. Piling on the weight in preparation for the long winter sleep. They’re very active now. A realtor friend of mine went out to look at some property this week and was lucky to see a mama bear crossing an open field with 3 baby bears running full speed to keep up with her. 

Soon the aspens will change, as will the cottonwoods along the rivers and creeks. One yellow, one more golden. I’m reminded of a night in Albuquerque years ago when Rickie and I were there. We had gone out to eat that evening and as we came out we faced the Sandia Mountains and the Rio Grande, lined with golden cottonwoods. A full yellow moon hung over the mountains and the cottonwoods shined like billions of gold coins in the light. The beauty overwhelmed us. 

Later this year I’ll take a drive over to Chama and turn north. The mountains there are full of aspens and it’s a beautiful drive. A train runs up into that area from Chama. I understand they serve a turkey and dressing meal halfway on the trip. That ride’s on the wish list for one day. Friends here report it’s a great trip. Rickie and I had a good life and experienced many wonderful things, but here in Colorado I find myself wishing he could see all the things I now see without him. 

And maybe he can, maybe he sees them through his grandchildren. When Bixby takes the Durango train to the pumpkin patch, when Natalie rides her pink board down the mountain, when Lexi runs out into the falling snow and holds her face up to catch the flakes, when Zac rides a horse high in the mountains, when Jeremy hikes to the edge of the ridge. When we all gather around the campfire in the snow with the stars brilliant overhead, making s’mores as Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas plays softly on Celia’s phone. Maybe he sits beside us, marveling not at the world’s wonders, but at the wonder of these grandchildren he loved, that they find the same joy and love he had in things both big and small. 

Maybe that’s where the the true wonder lies; the generations, as the seasons, ever so softly easing into a new one. Carrying some things with them, leaving some behind, adding their own beauty to the change. I hope you take some time to enjoy this season, the ending of one, the beginning of another, when everything slows down. It goes by fast. Don’t let it slip away unseen.