A warm vacation in a cold place…

So I made it home alive. I know some of you were worried seeing as the last time you heard from me I  was putting chili in a Tupperwear container and requesting your prayers on my way out the door to hit the slopes of Minnesota on the shore of Lake Superior–headed toward music, mayhem and dangerous winter sports.

Yes. I am all about the danger.

So I left the cozy little snow pile that is my corner of the world for another cozy, bigger snow pile across a couple states.

Because sometimes all a girl needs to make it through the winter is a beanie and a much steeper, icy slope to slide down.

…and one of her BFFs…

…a BFF who will sport a union suit and pose with you by the fire just because it’s funny…

And a little sister who will do the same….

…a little sister who I just realized looks a lot like Burt Reynolds…

…oh, and some tinsel…

…and a couple bands who play the fire out of every stringed instrument I’ve ever loved…and then throw in a clogging percussionist just to make sure my heart is nice and melty…

…and of course, some beautiful scenery….

So yes, I made it back to the ranch alive and I would like to tell you that the only time I fell during the entire ski trip was down the steps going out of our condo.

And up the steps at the bar.

And down the hill to the hot tub.

Hmmm, having put that in print, I’m now thinking that’s not such a good thing….

Anyway, other than that, and a couple bruises on my butt from where the lift smacked me multiple times (that damn thing catches me off guard) I am doing pretty good…

…which is more than I can say for my fearless, snowboarding, determined sister…

So I am working on the back to real life thing as we speak. But I have to tell you, the chili was delicious, the company hilarious, the drive treacherous, but we made it across the great state of North Dakota and on up to northern Minnesota, stopping through the most adorable towns where the local men still drink coffee at the Cenex and talk about the weather and the ice fishing and wonder out loud where the road-weary, frizzy haired, bundled up North Dakotans were headed, besides the restroom.

Oh Minnesota, town after town, just like the real life Lake Wobegon.

I love it.

And I love a good road trip that takes me down highways and dirt roads and through towns that remind me of why we need to get out and see and touch and breathe and live in this world.

Because I love where I live and all its familiarity, but I love to leave too, you know, every once in a while.  I love the art of packing up my favorite sweaters and socks and jeans and shoes and then realizing that three bags is a ridiculous amount of luggage to bring for three days, so I learn to love the art of unpacking some sweaters and shoes and adding in some leg warmers and six hats and nineteen graphic tees and a banjo…

I love planning our meals and closing up the house tight and singing at the top of my lungs to the music coming out of dashboard speakers. I like sitting close in the cab of a warm vehicle while the trees and farmsteads and snow fly by outside our window as we anticipate our destination and eat handfuls of Cheetos and Skittles and Snickers bars.

 

Don't judge me, I'm on vacation...

I love that sitting in a car for hours on end is a valid excuse to eat handfuls of Cheetos and Skittles and Snickers bars.

And I love to arrive in a place I have never been and make it my home for a few days. I like to reside in a schedule that includes decisions like: “Should I take a nap?” “When should we eat?” “What kind of cocktail should I invent?” “Should we sit in the hottub tonight?” “What games should we play?” “When should we hit the slopes?” and “Do I really need to shower?”

I like the feeling of making plans with traveling partners hand picked as the cream of the crop who have the same intentions of a casual adventure laced with chips and cheese and fresh air and not picking up after ourselves…

…you know, the people who applaud and laugh until they pee a little when you slide on your ass all the way down a slippery flight of stairs in your first attempt to enter the mountain air to hit the slopes. Yes, they laugh hysterically at you and your fresh bruise, but only after they make sure you are not bleeding profusely.

And as much as I like to be surrounded by the people I adore who I can count on to peel my sorry ass off of the frozen ground and carry my stuff as I limp it off, I like the idea of going somewhere on a mission, somewhere I am surrounded by strangers on the same mission to see, to listen, to take pictures and conquer mountains and have a cocktail or two and laugh until they pee.

Which got me thinking a bit about time well spent as we were making the twelve hour drive back to the ranch on Sunday through a few blizzards and the darkness. Because when most people around here visualize a vacation, especially in the dead of winter, they think of going somewhere with sandy beaches and warm sunshine and Cabana boys with bottles of sunscreen waiting for them. I don’t think many consider driving themselves and a bowl full of chili to someplace slightly colder with a bit more snow and then actually choosing to hang out and frolic in the weather.

But you know, I couldn’t have been warmer by that fireplace sharing stories and dealing cards. I couldn’t have laughed harder as husband tapped his toes to the beat of a bluegrass band and smiled for the camera as all of the worries about a new house, a business plan and work on Monday melted away under his blue snowsuit.

I couldn’t have been more at ease dangling my legs, attached to skis, on a lift moving me up a mountain…

…well, I take that back, I could have been more at ease, but for a girl who doesn’t like heights, I think stifling my screaming was as good as it gets…

This is my "I'm not scared" face...

And I couldn’t have been happier knowing that there are places, wonderful places in this world with snow covered trees and lakes that lick miles and miles of rugged shores dotted with small towns full of great, simple people who don’t ask for much but a little time to play. I couldn’t feel better knowing that there are people who have music inside them who choose to share it with joy and foot stomping gladness out of their mouths or a banjo or tapping feet and into an evening filled with listening ears. I couldn’t be more intrigued by the idea that the big wide world is mine to see, mine to hear, mine to fall down and lift up and get lost in…

And I can load up my car with my chili and my sweatpants and my shoes and my union suit and my best friends and be there if I want to…

…and come home again to a paradise of my own.

6 thoughts on “A warm vacation in a cold place…

  1. Glad you got away. Glad you survived with minimal injuries.
    Hey don’t forget to think about Haiti tomorrow on the one year anniversary of the earthquake–maybe even say a prayer—-
    Posting from Port-au-Prince,
    Kathy

  2. I showed your Christmas card and pictures to my counselor and she was blown away by the beauty. Superior is beautiful, but, your farm is the best. So glad you’re back. Now, if we can get Lindsay’s family back and little Sylas, everything will be perfect again.

  3. Pingback: Margaritas/mimosa…and get me on a horse… « Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

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