My mom and pops went to Jamaica for a week.
While they were basking in the rays of 80+ degree weather, jumping from cliffs, swimming with the fishies and enjoying one or two cocktails while floating in a pool, husband and I had everything under control back here at the ranch.
Well everything except the severe winter weather advisory that led to a 24 hour power outage which resulted in the mis-fire of mom and pops’ furnace when the electricity was finally restored. And it just so happens that husband’s favorite pastime is fixing things (he has to do it a lot considering the walking disaster he married) but after one to two hours standing in front of the mysterious mechanism, scratching his head, tinkering with wires and searching for that elusive reset button while standing inside a house that was reaching thirty degrees, even Mr.Fixit husband and his electrician father on the other end of the phone line were utterly defeated by the thing.
So husband moved on to the next conundrum: removing porcupine quills from the snout of their dog left in our care. And I went for the space heaters and the phone to call the furnace guy.
And then we sat in their hot tub and drank their wine and called them names behind their backs.
But all’s well that ends well. Especially when you find that hidden furnace button, save the dog and throw away the empty wine bottles in time for your parents to come home with tanned skin, beaded hair and a new accent.
And so we went over to their house on Monday evening to eat steak dinner and hear their stories and look at their pictures and see that video of the cliff jump.
And now I’m colder than ever.
Remember when it looked like this around here?
Remember when these things grew out of the ground, looking all colorful and happy and bright?
Remember when I could open the windows and let the breeze blow through the house while I milled around in my short shorts and tank top?
Remember when I slid down the clay butte in my pajamas in the middle of the night and scraped up my ass and my hands and my feet, but at least I didn’t get frost bite?
Waaaahhhhh…hurry up summer!
Don’t get me wrong, no matter the season I am so inspired by this land around me. It changes every day and comes up with different ways to awe me, but this last week I have been dreaming in color. The colors that I haven’t seen for a while.
So after sitting at my desk all day yesterday staring at the computer screen trying to complete a project while banging my head against the wall learning a new program, my eyes were squinty, my throat was dry, my hair was standing on end and I smelled like bad attitude.
So I bundled up and went outside to take some photos. Because I have found photography has become my new therapy– it’s teaching me to look for the beauty and interest in the small, ordinary big-picture things.
I pulled on my long underwear, strapped on the old snow shoes, tied on the neckerchief and stepped outside into my wild backyard.
Maybe I’ll see those elk in the fields pops was talking about.
Maybe I’ll see a deer or a rabbit or coyote or, if I walk far enough, maybe I can catch a glimpse of those bison on the hill.
Maybe I’ll walk up to the horses. Maybe I’ll sit and listen to the wind, maybe I’ll…
…freeze to death.
Shit, it was cold.
I made it about a quarter of a mile before I really realized it and then, once decided, couldn’t run for cover soon enough. But I was determined to be inspired.
So I started the pickup and loaded my fluffy self up in there. I was going to take a drive. I was going to find me some wildlife, some sparkle, some shine, something to lift my spirits.
I drove down the back road, radio off, peering from side to side, slowing at the corners, looking in all of the washouts and coulees where I know the deer lay, where the birds might be, where the elk might saunter through, hoping for a jack-rabbit, a cow, a neighbor, anything to cross my path…
But it seemed that it was just me out here on the empty road, in the quiet cold air, in the cab of my pickup feeling, I’ll admit, kind of alone in this season that seems to be dragging us all to our breaking point…
So I turned around to head back home in the…
But just as I was giving up and resigning to the season and the endless wait for spring– getting after myself for being one of those northerners who complains about the winter weather as if I wasn’t expecting it, I was put back in my place by one thing that makes me fall in love with my world over and over again…
the one thing that never lets me down…
And as the sun moved down over the horizon, it slowly gave to me all the colors I’ve been missing, all the sparkle and shine and inspiration this pasty northern girl needed at a time like this, saving me from myself once again.
And so it will be summer again. And this…
will finally get dressed already…
But until then, I’ve got the sun and the sky. And the sky’s got my back.
Oh, I know Jamaica has the sky too, but I just think it feels and looks better out here…
…you know, where the frozen ones don’t take it for granted.