Posted by: highmountainmuse | September 19, 2009

Alan Mode

A dog with a job to do:  Keeping an eye on things as Bob rides the mare along with her foal

A dog with a job to do: Alan keeps an eye on things as Bob rides the mare along with her foal

More commonly seen:  Alan snoozing.

More commonly seen: Alan snoozing.

In the summer, our home is a guest ranch, with an opening of the mountain and our simple life to some of the most wonderful folks you can imagine.  Think of it – who would choose to spend a week away from the pressures of the city, the sounds of phones ringing, messages buzzing, traffic zooming by… and come here, high in the mountains, off grid and off the beaten path, far and away, to do… what, you may ask?  Perhaps nothing.  Or perhaps nothing more than stare out the big picture window at the clouds floating over the mountain tops, the hillsides turning gold, the morning frost melting off, or the evening light casting longer and longer shadows behind the horses grazing out on pasture? Perhaps alternating time with casting into the Rio or hiking the peaceful trails or joining me for a horse ride.  And then a nap.

We call it Alan Mode.

Alan Mode is the state of rest, of unwinding, of letting go, modeled after the good old dog, the master of chilling out, laying low, enjoying the simplest pleasures of companionship, purpose… and slumber.

I imagine Ron didn’t realize what he’d start when he said it, but we’ve latched on to this expression and added it to our standard of speaking:  Alan mode.  It epitomizes that zone people get into when they visit the ranch. Hey, it epitomizes what we strive for as well when our work is done.

Alan is a fine example and teacher for the art of relaxation.  Of course being deaf has its benefits.  Napping uninterrupted is one of them. 

Oh, and by the way:  after eight months, Alan has also finally mastered the use of his dog door.  See, you can teach an old dog new tricks…


  1. We human beings sometimes must teach ourselves to go into Alan mode.In a stressful life, it might not be simple to go there. But when you do have the opportunity to go there, there is not a better place than Lost Trail Ranch.

  2. Actually, Alan mode to me seems most common when you’re least expecting it (Well, you’re always sleepy on Monday mornings.) We all have to unwind, and that’s perfectly fine with Alan and the other creatures with this extraordinary talent.


  3. Since i have retired i have been trying to do the same thing .Now i have a name for it .After working 48 years its hard .But as Allen has proven you can teach a old dog new tricks .I hope i am as fast a learner as Alllen .8 months to learn a new trick is about my speed .Tell Alen to make room for me on that sofa .

  4. It’s funny. Sometimes we write something we (ok, I!) am afraid none of you will understand or relate to. And that obviously is NOT what I want to do here. So it’s neat to see that even though you may not know or have met Alan, you know someone or a dog like him, and you understand. I guess Alan Mode is something we all need to work for. As Alex said, “an extraodinary talent.” And isn’t it odd that we often need to work so hard to achieve something so simple? Enjoy your retirement in Alan Mode, Don! Well earned, well deserved. I think that’s part of it. If we haven’t earned it, it is not as sweet!

  5. Glad I could help give a name to the great state of mind I get every time we visit the Ranch. It’s a great state to strive for even here in the city. I’ll keep trying daily!

    We are home now and already miss the cool temps and beautiful fall colors.

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