Finally, at last, I am home, settling in for Christmas. It was a fun trip to Colorado and Santa Fe in celebration of our 30th anniversary– where it all began. We saw old friends, important friends, who were all there back at our beginnings, including Susie, who was the person who introduced us to one another that fateful day at a bike race. And, wow, was there a lot of sunshine down south! But, on our final day in Santa Fe, we woke up early, surprised to see it snowing, and spent the morning sitting by a roaring fire in the Kiva fireplace, and began dreaming of home.
It was a long road home, as it always is, but once we get to the familiar two lane highway through the cold Ovando Valley, and then to the forests of the Seeley-Swan, we breathe easy. We are nearly home. It was only recently that Susie stopped asking me, “So, do you guys think you are going to stay in Montana?” If she knew what it feels like to be on this lonely highway, watching the temperature drop into the low-teens, remembering the times we’ve been stopped by cowboys on horses moving their cattle, or the time I saw a grizzly run across the road, she would know I am at home here.
We marveled at what it was like to watch the sun rise on the flat eastern prairie from New Mexico through Colorado, hours before it does up here in the north country. While we were soaking up high doses of Vitamin D, our Flathead Valley looked to be under an inversion with freezing fog everyday. Facebook photos showed people going up the mountains to find some sunshine. Driving back yesterday, we thought the spell had been broken, but fifteen minutes from home, there was the big gray cloud that seals us in and we could barely see across the lake. I put the stained glass window, decorated with fairy lights, back in the pantry kitchen, turned on the trees and lit the candles. Don walked through the woods to the neighbor’s pond to find smooth, clear ice, almost thick enough for ice skating. Now, we get ready for Christmas merriment and pray that the ice doesn’t melt, and that snow comes, so all our grandchildren have a Happy, happy Christmas, in our house, filled to overflowing with loved ones!
“Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!”
― Charles Dickens