Saturday, December 4, 2010

There's No Place Like Home...

I woke up yesterday in a tiny town on the west border of Kansas where the cattle outnumber humans 1000 to 1. I'd been staying with Ry for a couple days while he worked. He drove home to Utah for Thanksgiving, and then I drove back with him to Leoti.  It was wonderful to see him, and talk and laugh with him.  We definitely needed the time together. While I may be used to having him gone for long periods of time, it is an understatement to say that I am certainly not cut out for a long distance relationship.  Alas, all good things usually come to an end, and so after eating breakfast together, I drove home yesterday without him.

Driving long distances doesn't bother me, in fact it I actually like driving alone for long distances as long as the roads are dry.  Give me a great audiobook, a roadmap, a pack of gum, some snacks and I'm good to go.

Vail pass was icy and snowy when Ry and I drove out on Wednesday night so going back, I decided to take Highway 50 across Colorado.  Sayanora Dorothy.  See ya later Toto.  Goodbye Kansas.  I miss you already Ry.

The drive went well and the roads were dry. The long, flat roads out of Kansas pass by peaceful fields of dry, brown sunflowers with drooping heads bereft of their fullness. Tall grain silos and small clusters of farm houses and aging barns along the way gave a feeling of warm, rich life in contrast to the silent, empty fields. I found my self wondering about the people who lived and worked there, what patterns their daily living followed, and the fabric of their family's lives.  I also wished I had my camera with me.

The cool weather turned warm as I sped across southern Colorado where the once straight roads now twisted and curved as they began to wind along the Arkansas River.  As I climbed up Pauncho Pass, snow appeared along the sides of the roads, and ice crackled over the bluish-gray water.  The car followed the curving road up and then back down the San Juan mountain passes, the wind whipped and the sky began to darken with sullen clouds. Sunlight faded, and inky darkness prevailed.

It was cold, dark, and windy when I stopped to refuel in Grand Junction.  I looked forward to crossing into Utah where the silent mountains formations that make up Central Utah would surround me as I traveled across to I-15, and then finally south, and home.

It was refreshing to me to just be alone for a long time. Perhaps I'm a bit odd that way, but driving alone calms me. No expectations. No requests from kids. No dishes or laundry staring me in the face. Just me, my thoughts, and the open road.

I watched the gauge showing the outside temperature climb as I dropped down past New Harmony and into Toquerville, and then into town. It was about midnight when I pulled in the drive, parked the car, and carried in my bags. Mercy was stretched out on my bed snuggled next to Jonnie, and as I put the bags down on my bedroom floor, I noticed a package and a handmade card sitting on my nightstand.


I hope you have a great birthday. 
It has been fun getting to know you and your cute family. 
I have enjoyed your friendship. 

Happy Birthday!


Inside the box was a beautiful "WillowTree" figurine, a brown haired woman breathing in the aroma of the bundle of flowers in her arms.  Graceful, simple, and perfect.

My eyes misted as I read the card, but when I opened the box, I sat and cried for 20 minutes. How did she even know when my birthday was?

Thank you Camille, more than you know.

And thank you to all of the rest of you who sent me such wonderful birthday texts and messages as I drove.  I had a nice birthday chat with Danielle and Mom, and one with Joe the night before. Plus Amanda sang me a Happy Birthday song on my phone messages, and Mercy, Alex, and Kenzie sang to me as well.

The kiddos must have missed me too, because before the morning light filled the sky, there were four  of my kids in my bed, and I had to get up and move to one of their beds to get any sleep!  They showered me with wonderful homemade cards and notes this morning when I awoke, and later Amanda and my sweet friend Sheila both gave me gifts as well.

Thank you all for being a part of my life, and for touching my heart.

It was definitely a Happy Birthday.
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