"It is all very beautiful and magical here--a quality which cannot be described. You have to live it and breathe it, let the sun bake it into you. The skies and land are so enormous, and the detail so precise and exquisite that wherever you are you are isolated in a growing world between the macro and the micro, where everything is sideways under you and over you, and the clocks stopped long ago."
The Ansel Adams quote that graces the opening page of my new 2012 datebook says a lot about the feel of my Teton Christmas. But it also says a lot about my life right now--a quality that cannot be described. So lately as you've noticed, the blog has been thin.
But I did, in fact, drive the trusty Kingfisher across Wyoming to spend the holiday with my friend Holly at Grand Teton National Park. Because her days off were before Christmas, and a storm was coming in, I drove early and had perfect weather on my way up. Alas, in the end, I didn't get as much pure Holly time as I'd hoped--but for good reason. Much of the time I was there her delightful boyfriend Dan was also around, as well as his very enjoyable children and friends. I cooked and cooked and cooked, which made me happy too. I stuffed the turkey with chicken sausage. I imagine that just like only an Easterner would think to put a cow skull on the front of her car, only a vegetarian would think to stuff meat with meat (oh wait, Romania). Anyway, it worked.
Those on my facebook have heard the snowplow story, but it's worth repeating. Our Christmas morning (Thursday), after we devoured a pound of premium bacon, Dan's son Garrett made us delicious waffles from a gluten-free mix I'd taken. We dressed them with butter, cherries, maple syrup, and whipped cream. Just sitting down to enjoy them, we noticed the snow plow coming around the road through park housing where Holly lives. Oh good, the snow plow (massive snow-blower type that shot the snow 50 feet into the air). But then they noticed that he was blowing out driveways and immediately we dropped our waffles, ran outside, and moved our cars out of the driveway so he could do ours. The kids stayed inside and made sure the dogs didn't eat our waffles.
We experienced two exquisite nature moments during my stay. Christmas Eve day Holly and I went to the post office to retrieve the box from her Mother. Driving home we saw a bald eagle circling in the sky. I labeled her (or him) our Christmas Eagle. Then later that night, very late, I walked outside and looked at the stars. I said I would stay out until I saw a meteorite or I got cold. Being Wyoming, I got cold pretty fast (-12). But yes, Ansel Adams, the clocks stopped long ago.
Too soon I had to pack the car and head home. Rode a tail wind home across Wyoming on Monday. I'd been warned about strong winds and drifting snow on 80, but Wyoming has so little snow that it was not a problem. Arrived home to yet more thoughtful and generous gifts--received so many nice things I'm a bit overwhelmed--all my favorites: books, coffee, tea, chocolate, snuggly knit things, music, dishes...As I get lamer about gift giving, my loved ones just get lovelier. (there's always next year).
And now New Years. No resolutions, just plans. And they will wait a few more days. In the meantime, I am nestled into a bed of stars out on a cold high plain. In my vision, it is a combination of stepping out of Holly's door on Christmas Eve and of lazing in a tub of hot water in the Saline Valley in the California Desert. Deep night, endless stars, warm hearts. Once again the incredible gift of spending time with a dear friend, living it and breathing it while we can.