The beautiful things.

I have a good life. Not much to complain about when it comes down to it really, except for a weird tail-less cat trying to climb up my leg, not enough hours in the day, unfinished projects and cold toes.

But some days, during a break in the morning news, I cry at the Walgreens commercial.

And the commercial for a web browser that tells the story about a dad sending his daughter off to college. And then they video chat.

And anything with a cute baby or a puppy or a grampa or a soldier coming home.

And lately I cry at the weather report.

Now, don’t get all worried about me yet. I’m not sure I would be diagnosed with any emotional disorder, although Husband has diagnosed me simply “emotional.”

And he’s right.

I spend quite a bit of my life laughing though, so I figure I’m balanced.

But I admit, some days are worse than others. I admit it because I’m human and I know you’re human (unless you’re a dog and humans haven’t discovered your abilities to access the web without thumbs) and we all have days like these.

Days that send me running for the hills.

I’ve learned over the course of my nearly 30 (gasp!) years alive in this breathtaking and heartbreaking place it’s the only thing to do to recover my senses and gain my balance and center myself once more.

I remove my body from the television screen, the radio, the music, the computer and all of those heartbreaking, heartwarming and heart wrenching stories and just try to live in my own for a moment.

It hasn’t been easy to do this lately, between the life-threatening cold temperatures, scheduled meetings and darkness that falls too early in the winter, I’ve had to make a special space in my day for clarity.

It’s why I keep an extra pair of snow boots and a furry hat in my car just in case. You never know when you might have a chance to escape.

I found one yesterday afternoon. I had a few of those teary moments over coffee and the news while I moved through my morning trying to pull it together, get to the office, make it to the meeting, keep up on emails, plan for an event, meet a deadline and live comfortably in pretty work sweaters between four walls.

4:30 came around and I had a meeting at 6.

An hour and a half hours would do it.

I got in my car and pointed it toward a favorite refuge, the only other place in the world beside the ranch where I can look winter in the face and call it truly beautiful.

The Theodore Roosevelt National Park.


I’ve taken you there before on similar weepy days in the  fall when I’m overwhelmed and worried, on summer days when I’m tan and moving to the next adventure, and winter.

I really love it in the winter.

And it never lets me down.

So in 15 minutes I was there, turning off of the highway and following the snow coated road toward the river and the buttes,


stopping to capture how the sun looks above the frozen water and if I might catch the bison grazing somewhere in the snow.

I drove slowly to admire the lighting. I rolled down my window a bit to feel the fresh, 20 degree air and pulled over where the road ends, next to a trail that can take you to the top of it all.

I checked my watch. I had 20 minutes before I needed to turn my car around and head back to my other world. I was in my town coat and dangly earrings.

I switched out my fancy boots for snow boots, covered my hair with a beanie and trudged on up there, slipping and sliding and panting because, well, I just felt like it.

I felt like climbing.

Because this is what winter looks like in the badlands.

This is what it looks like from the top of it all…






all 360 degrees of it, surrounding me and telling me it’s ok to cry.

Especially for the beautiful things.

10 thoughts on “The beautiful things.

  1. Such a beautiful embrace of winter and all it has to offer with its silent chill. Thank you for this reminder that I too need an adventure that says simply, “Its okay to cry.”

  2. Ok, now I’m REALLY jealous, I was a little last night when you said you’d been at the Park, but seeing your photos, just breathtaking! I grew up about 5 miles north of there and I never tire of going there or seeing pictures of it…thank you for sharing.

  3. I can see why you go there! It’s always good to know where to find a good place to cry, and laugh, and wonder at the beautiful things; I’ll be scheming on how to get there to see what it brings out in me.

  4. I love the Badlands, too. It’s one of the few places where man’s presence is minimal. Winter gets me down, too–the fires in Chicago, the overcast. And, I cry also when I think of young people going off to war. But, my art and my friends on FB bring me back–or I can go to my church and just enjoy the solitude.

  5. Oh, man-o-man did I ever need to read this today. I was climbing that hill with you, sister.

    Life overwhelmed me last night and I gave into a good cry – a hard, gut-wrenching, confuse-the-hell and terrify the hubbs kinda cry. My yes are still swollen this morning.

    Your beautiful post reminds me that letting go, giving in, and feeling it are all part of being human, of being female, of being real.

    MJ

  6. I love the Badlands and your photos bring back memories of times spent there. My daughter has moved from Watford City so don’t get the area as often as I want to. Your blog lets me visit and remember.

  7. Pingback: Winter crazy. « Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

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