Sabbatical- Day Nine, Get While the Gettin’s Good

Yes, I already posted today.  But the boys are in the “theater room” (my husband found the BEST vrbo in Grover, WY).  Since writing breaks are rare on this road trip, I thought I would take the opportunity to jot down a few bits roaming in my mind.  Probably need to give typing in the car a shot sometime- I have plenty of time there 🙂

The house we are staying in has hay bales, horses, chickens, and a tractor.  There is free range cattle everywhere.  We have to watch our speed because we have no idea when you will come over the top of a hill and see a bunch of cows in the road.

Today, the boys feed the horses, climbed the hay bales, and pretended to drive the tractor. It reminded me of my upbringing in rural CO.  Some of the best years of my childhood are the ones where my parents owned a home on ten acres.  I wouldn’t say we had a farm, but we raised a couple of cows, and my brother tended to a about ten hens. We had a goat for a brief time until we learned that goats eat everything.  My parents paid us each $5 to weed a huge plot so they could plant a garden.  I still recall the first time I tasted a sweet pea straight off the vine.  I told my mother I didn’t like peas.  She said “Try this. It’s different.  You’ll like it.”  She was right.

The neighbors next door also had six children, and ten acres.  Between our two families we had a small army that was free to explore what felt like our own country.  They had horses, pigs, ferrets, and other animals.  At the end of their property was a pond.  When the pond was full, we would row a small boat across it.  Just like a bike, the boat felt like freedom.  When the pond dried over, it would grow huge reeds.  We would tie the reeds together to form small houses, and build our own town.

My father would spend days mowing a baseball diamond and football field into our acreage.  On the fourth of July, we would invite the entire church over for a picnic.  Tables would be filled with salads, casseroles, and desserts.  I still believe there is no food quite so delicious as a church potluck.

My dad’s friend Mike would go across the border to WY and bring back tons of fireworks.  The displays we had would take hours.  Roman candles that shot up taller than the houses, fountains that transformed into tiny houses after burning, and tons of sparklers for the kids.

This experience is different, but the road trip is reviving those memories in me.  When I see my boys thrilled about finding a caterpillar or laughing as they touch their toes to a cold mountain lake, I think about how important the connection to simple things are.

The reality is they aren’t simple.  We drove hours over the course of days to get here.  We could have easily hopped on a plane to a new city. Maybe that’s it- you can’t get a country town or a hiking trail by airplane (at least we can’t.)  It’s work to get to these places, but worth it.  When you travel from metropolis to metropolis, you miss all the magic in between.

Ben dragged us to a lake today.  He wasn’t sure exactly how far down the road it was- the creek paralleled the road, and was supposed to pool into a lake.  After multiple stops to check the creek and look for a good spot to sit, I was over it. In my mind, we had explored a bit and now it was time to be done.

Ben said “You head back to the car.  I’m going to go a bit farther and see what’s ahead.”

We got to the car, and a few minutes later, Ben came down the trail.

“I found the lake.  It’s beautiful.  We can swim in it.’

Visibly annoyed, I said “Aren’t we going to be camping the next three days?”

Ben began to retort, thought better of it, and replied “Ok.  Let’s just leave.”

I paused and regrouped.  I mustered my enthusiasm and told the boys “Dad found a lake! Let’s go see it!”

Ben didn’t find a lake.  He found THE lake  There was not a soul in sight.  The water was like glass.  It was the most clear, beautiful lake I have ever seen.  I dipped my toes in and felt the cool water on my feet.  Butterflies and wildflowers of every color surrounded us.

After a few moments, Ben said “I’ll watch the boys.  Go for a walk.”

I walked down the bank of the lake and found a small trail leading up into the mountain.  Everywhere I turned, I was taken back by how lovely it was.  I began snapping picture after picture, wanting to capture the spot forever.

I started to walk back, and I forced myself to put my camera away.  I listened to the water, taking note of how sometimes the sound of the creek roared like a much larger river.  Other times it was so quiet, I could hear the birds singing.

I took a moment to voice a bit of gratitude to the universe.  Thank you for giving me this gift.  Let me be worthy of receiving it.  Let it wash over me, change me, and become a part of who I am.

As I see my boys engaging in these new experiences, I hope the same for them.  Let this trip help them to see all the beauty the world has to offer, the wonder of hidden places, and the joy of simply being alive and being a part of it.

Who or whatever afforded us this opportunity, thank you.

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