It is always wonderful when we return to the lake from the West. As we crest the top of the final hill, before making a steep descent down into the Flathead Valley, I find I sit up tall in my seat to catch that first view of the lake, nestled between mountain ranges. Ahhh…home– right over there on the other side. As we drove past Dayton Harbor, we could see a tall sailboat mast listing sharply to one side with the boat heeled over–evidence of the historic storm we missed while we were in the San Juan Islands. Two boats were reported to have sunk, five or six were damaged beyond repair, and there were stories of volunteers who kept watch at marinas all night long, wearing life vests and safety gear, and tied together to keep from being blown into the water by ten foot waves. It was so fretful to be away, knowing our own sailboat was still out in the lake, and having left our little cat, Chatpeau, who was still obviously missing her brother who disappeared over a month ago. Every year, as the weather turned cold, they always slept curled together, never separately, and when they were nervous, they would walk next to one another with their tails entwined. Carol tried to get down here last Saturday to check on her, but the highway was blocked by downed trees. On Sunday, Don and Colleen came to the rescue with a chainsaw, and reported back that our road was clear, the sailboat still upright, and a fat and happy kitty was safe in the garage with plenty of food and water. Oh, was that happy news, and our holiday felt so much lighter and brighter.
One of the silver linings of this historic storm were the texts we received from old Colorado friends and various family members, asking how we were surviving the wind and waves and record snowfall. I’d respond with a photo of our beautiful autumn day on San Juan Island, sunshine on sparkling blue water, and thank them anyway for their concern, and then we’d share bits of information on how we were all doing. For all the downsides of digital addiction, the connections that are made across time and space between loved ones, is a special thing.
It’s hard to believe that yesterday morning we were on an island, out in the gorgeous Puget Sound of the Pacific Ocean, and then we drove east over the Cascade Range, across the vast Columbia Plateau, over Idaho’s Lost Trail Pass, then down home to the valley, in time for a beautiful sunset at water’s edge of our lake, whilst snuggling a purring black kitty cat. And, then, at bedtime, the yellow new moon hung low over the water and cast golden light across my bed. It was a grand homecoming. And, here is October. I am hoping that it will go slow, one leaf at a time.