A holiday in a new home and the first in eighteen years without my son. Not bad, not really, at least (I’m forever the optimist). Only different. All new.
New experiences. Of course it would be better if he were here with us. Better for us, that is. He, well, he’s spending the weekend at Whistler, snowboarding. So my heart shall not bleed for his loneliness on this holiday weekend.
Here, for me, it’s all new. And that’s OK too. New view from the window in front of my computer. Under a pale grey sky are bright white and tan snowy, rolling hills reaching only as far as patches of dark timber scatter off into the distance. Nothing above tree line. No hills across this river with avi shoots torn into their sides. Instead, houses with lights I know I can see at night. The ground twinkles with a constellation or two. Something I haven’t lived with for more than passing spells in twenty years. New state, new home, new job, new neighbors, new friends.
And old familiar scents grounding me. Bread is baking in the oven.
I write to a (new) friend:
“The house now heavy with the waft of baking bread. I have read your blog posts, one after the other. I should have spaced them out, allowed them time to settle, but breaked for no more than changing loaves in the hot oven. My mind as heavy as the bread scented air with thoughts stirred up from your writings – at once thoughtful, beautiful and horrid. And still a broad smile spreads across my face to have had the opportunity to read, share, and meet… It is good. Somehow at the end of the day, it does end up good, you know?”
I’m feeling sappy and sentimental. Bear with me, or pass me by today, friends, but I’m feeling my age, my sex (yes, I am a woman, and allowed if not expected to be emotional, thank you!), my life and world settling into newness like heavy snow on tall tired grass.
I have much to be thankful for, this new friend included in my lengthy list. (Karen and my other fellow fans of four leggeds, please be sure to see the writing of Tricia M. Cook in the Mountain Gazette. I believe I may not be only one to find a new friend.)
I’m thankful for a new girlfriend and look forward Ladies Night at the local Ace Hardware and someone to kick up snow along a new backcountry with old snowshoes and young dogs.
I’m thankful for chains for the pickup. I would like to agree with Tricia that “girls don’t do chains,” but truth is we’d never get to our new home without them. So although getting wet and muddy jeans and jacket, and frozen fingers each morning before work is not ideal, at least we get there. (Snowmobiling home the 6 ½ miles we were used to in Colorado, believe it or not, was easier.)
I’m thankful for that snow and slush and even the glaze of rain than fell on top and hardened to a sheen that holds you up for just a second then drops you down past the surface into the soft snow below. It’s a good work out with each step. It’s this stuff that makes these trees grow. And there are some BIG trees here. Beautiful big fat hearty happy fir trees. Sweet smelling and picture perfect with boughs laden with the load of snow. I’m thankful for these big trees and to be living amongst them.
I’m thankful for neighbors. What a pleasure it is! Neighbors! Such good ones. Plowing us out as we’re busy plowing out someone else. Helping each other out of the bar ditch on the side of the road (a seemingly regular occurrence for vehicles – without chains – around here). Baking bread and sharing a hot coffee or cold beer (or locally brewed hard cider). The folks at the local internet company that make you feel at home in town when you walk in their office (even when you don’t bring them a fresh batch of cinnamon rolls).
I’m thankful for dogs, mine, my neighbors, and the ability to let my dear dog be both a family member and a dog, and a very happy one at that.
I’m thankful for Nature. She is new to me here. I am learning her like a stranger on a second date, not sure yet where you stand together, how close to sit, what the other person eats and drinks, and when and where to drive her home.
I’m thankful for my readers – friends, family, strangers, those I have not met but feel somehow close to, and those that haven’t written me directly but peak in from time to time or on some random search – for putting up with my ramblings.
I’m thankful for my son in a wonderful, exciting, challenging and unique university experience (or happily snowboarding as the case may be this weekend), far away but so very close. And my husband by my side. Completing, balancing, grounding me.
So I’ll try not to feel too terrible sorry for myself that my son is not here to complete my day. Because when I look around, it’s pretty complete even without him. But that’s how a good relationship should be. Fine without, but better because you’re there.