My Love Affair

14 September, 2016
Today is simply beautiful. We have been living in the apex of my favorite time of year. Our windows have been open 24/7 for nearly two weeks now, and my favorite parts of the day are the ones spent in bed. That is not to say I don't love being awake and living my day, but there is something so luscious about a chilled room and the supple cocoon of blankets, wrapped, cloaked, shrouded around you with only your face exposed to feel the caress of the changing of the seasons. You may call it silliness, I call it Nirvana.

This season, this paradise, as it were is so evanescent, it is vitally important, to my soul, to take advantage of every single morsel! I am hoping to get up into the mountains this week to enjoy the blaze of colors, textures, smells that are there for the taking. This country soul living the suburban life must find an occasional refuge from the chaos that we call life.

I know I go a little crazy when it is Autumn, but honestly, can you blame me? It is pure balm to my soul.

Right now is a rare quite moment in my life. The Littles are down for their naps, my bread just came out of the oven and the intoxicating scent, mingling with the spicy smell of Fall is engulfing my house. Keith and Faye will be home from school soon, and with them comes the chaos of life again, but now, in this moment, I can simply be me. Sure, there are dishes to be washed, a floor to be mopped, and counters to be wiped down in preparation for the after school snacks, but here, now, this moment, I am free to be and do exactly what my heart tells me. And apparently it is telling me to be a little rambley.

School has been in session for about a month now, and we are all adjusting. We finally sold the rental house, and while we didn't really make any money off of it, we are so relieved that we don't have to be landlords anymore. That is a job that neither of us are cut out to do! There will be no more stress of broken pipes, blown fuses, utilities, renters not paying their rent, etc. What a big huge relief to not have that anymore!

15 September, 2016
I sometimes have mental blocks that stop me from doing things that I really want to do. One of those things that I long to do is spend more time in the outdoors. One of my favorite quotes is by Nathaniel Hawthorne. He says:

While I wash my dishes with the window open, my hands bathed in the warm suds and my nose cold from the nipping air, I long to abandon those dishes, even civilization. I imagine myself grabbing a jacket and just leaving. Heading into the Mountains for some much needed alone time with myself. I never do, though. I have this ridiculous sense of responsibility which really gets in the way of my enjoyment. And so, while I clean the counters and sweep the floor, I tuck aside those longings and go about doing the things that I need to do.

Except sometimes, I decide to abdicate my role as responsible everything, and let my soul fly free for a few hours.

Today was such a day. After I dropped the older kids off to school, I came home, did those darn dishes again, got some responsible papers that I had to drop off at an office, and then Bethy, the Baby and I left.

The whole drive there Beth kept asking, "Are we in my mountains yet, Mommy? Are we in my mountains?" I love that my little girl loves them as much as I do! The thing is, I didn't have a plan. I knew I wanted to go to the mountains, I just didn't know where exactly.

And so I drove. I remembered having accidentally driven through Monte Cristo once when I was young and carefree, so decided I would try to find it again, and hope for a hiking trail. As I drove, I saw a sign for Causey Reservoir. I remembered once upon a time Jeffrey and I had gone camping, and then we went hiking around Causey. It was beautiful, and I was close to it, and Vince needed to eat, so we went there. Besides, I really didn't have a clue as to how to get to Monte Cristo.

Beth could hardly contain her excitement when we got out of the van. The sky was magnificent in its emo brooding stage. The wind a tempestuous child unable to make up its mind, and the air full of sounds of nature. I strapped Vince onto me and we headed out.

Beth chattered a mile a minute, giggling, picking up interesting rocks, and telling me how much she loved being there with me. She is the best hiking buddy I have ever had! As we headed up the narrow rocky path, occasionally a stone was half  or more buried. At first Beth bent down to investigate, brushing the dirt away, trying to clean it off to get a better view. She stood up and announced it was a dinosaur bone, and she was going to step on it. She proceeded to go out of her way to step on every single one, all while delivering a brilliantly thought out lecture as to why the dinosaurs all died. It had something to do with the puddles disappearing, and without the puddles (that were large and muddy, and we were careful to walk around), they wouldn't have any water in their bodies, and they would all just lay down and die. Too bad they didn't think to drink from the lake next to us! I love that little girl's imagination!

Every little bit, Beth would stop and ask what the noise was. She hasn't been in such solitude before, where there is no one but us and nature. We were able to hear the squirrels chattering to each other as they gathered nuts for their stashes. We saw a few with giant nuts in their mouths as they flew from tree branch to tree branch. Our legs would brush dew drops from the slender knee high grass blades leaning over the trail and Beth would again stop us and ask, "What was that?"

As we walked, I couldn't help but think how blessed I am to live in such a beautiful state. I have access to so many different nature-ish areas with relatively little time spent to get there. The jewel laden trees, bursting with life and color, and the odor of autumn in the air was all quite intoxicating. The smell that words cannot do justice. The subtle odor of wet and decomposing leaves, the whiff of earth mixed with crisp mornings and the promise of rain. I admit, while we were hiking, I did secretly long for it to rain, just because I love the feel and smell of it so much. The sky was a delightful brooding grey, and it hinted most severely of rain. As we walked, we could hear the gentle lapping of the waves in the reservoir next to us.

It was a dull jade green color, and Beth would get excited each time she saw it peeking through the trees. One time, as we were gazing at the mesmerizing undulating of the water, we saw a hawk, so near us, take off and begin circling its prey. It was exciting to see it dive! We continued on around a bend and the water was no longer within sight, but the sound of the wind through the trees sounded so much like a gentle ocean roar, it was marvelous. And seeing all of this through the eyes of a three year old is the best way to experience it!

After we had hiked for a bit, I glanced at the time and realized it was about time to turn back, so we could be home before Keith and Faye got out of school. I mentioned to her that it was time we went back, and she turned around (she was the leader, of course), put her hands on her hips and said, "We can do it, Mommy! We don't have to go back yet. Just a little more. You are big and strong, and I am big and strong. We can do it!" How do you argue with that logic? So we kept going.

Somewhere in her little brain she was convinced that we were hiking to play in the water at the end. While the hike does end at the mouth of a river, there was no way we could make it that far and be back in time for the kids. After much discussion, she finally agreed to turn around with me. But I am absolutely convinced that she is the best hiking buddy I have ever had, or will ever need. She offers the sweetest encouragement and the greatest distraction ever!

We turned back, and I admit, I took a lot of pictures. Because Autumn! At one point, she would sit in the dirt every time I said "Wait just a minute, I need to take a picture..." She made me laugh. Apparently I was too slow for her liking. I loved how the wind was tugging on my hair, and this whole time Vince was strapped snugly onto my chest. He looked so warm and cozy in the wrap, and it reminded me of those glorious cool mornings where my body is wonderfully warm and my face is enchanted with the crisp air floating in through the open windows.He slept for a good portion of the hike, and I loved it! Being able to hear and feel him breathing, and to look down and see his sweet chubby face, peacefully gazing around, or sleeping made this mama's heart happy. I was especially delighted to see my breath on the air, lingering from the words I had just spoken. And then, I got my wish! When we were nearly back to the trail head, I heard all around us little pings, randomly flung, little daring raindrops tentatively testing, deciding if it was going to actually rain, or just pretend.

It decided pretending was good enough for the time being.

And just like that, our adventure was over. As we drove home, I went slowly, enjoying the pastoral scenery all around us, envying the quaint farm houses dotting the land with the miles of open land all around.

Of course, it wasn't all wonderful. Right as I was pulling in to the school to get the other kids, Beth got car sick. Ce'st la vie, I suppose.


Susan Anderson said…
What a fun excursion.
I love fall AND the mountains.
Perfect combo, and fall is special in Utah.
Crystal Collier said…
Way to heed the call. I miss the mountains. And the fall. You really do have to seize the day sometimes.

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