Hottie and I returned to the Methow this past weekend. We had been in Seattle for the previous two weekends with a brief, though soggy, detour to Ephrata. As we drove up the valley it was shocking to see the transition from when I last visited at the beginning of the month.
This was the view out the door on March 1...
In early March only the roads were free of snow. There were some tree wells that were opening up but everything else was buried under the same white blanket that had been there since Thanksgiving. Now the snow was GONE! There were small patches of dirty snow where it had been piled by a snowplow or where it had been dumped from the roof; otherwise you might think it was June.
Same view, nineteen days later.. Festivus pole in place !
We pulled up to the cabin and stepped out of the War Wagon and just looked around speechless. We walked around silent for three or four minutes trying to reconcile what we were seeing. The ground was brown and what remained of grass or other plant life was dead having been squashed down by the snow. From ninety percent white to ninety-five percent brown is as much of a transition as you can have without an act of God.
The summer-like appearance sparked a flood of memories from last year. In an instant I saw myself drinking coffee in the driveway while Hottie catches some much deserved extra sleep. Then I saw grandchildren around the fire pit cooking s’mores. Hottie and I unhurried and barbequing outside. Bike rides under blue skies with the blessed sound of gravel crunching under my tires.
Then I spot the yellow tape that was put in place when our area was evacuated for the fires last summer. The wonder and fragility of this place chokes me up and I turn to Hottie as my emotions bubble to the surface.
We are so lucky.
The next morning Tux wakes me at first light and I feed him and we head out for a morning walk. We follow the sound of an owl, “Who, who….who…..who.” Just as I figure out the tree the sound is coming from the owl takes flight and picks a new tree a hundred yards west.
As the light begins to grow we continue on and the air is rich with the smell of wet earth and rotting foliage. Spring will be coming soon and there are a few green sprouts here and there. Tux and I come around a corner and I notice his ears go up. I follow his eyes and there are three large deer silhouetted against the pink sky.
I don’t have a camera or a phone to photograph the scene. This moment is just for Tux and me. I bend down and rub Tux’s chest and praise him for not tearing my arm off by chasing after the deer. Tux leans into me. The deer look down on us and I sense it is time to move on. Still I linger just another moment or two the sight is so beautiful.
We are so lucky.
I manage to sneak in a gravel ride and it is warm enough that I ride a portion with exposed arms. The first full day of Spring welcomes me to the hills.
The ride looked like this at times:
I am so lucky.
That evening I share dinner with Hottie. Her eyes sparkle and her smile still makes my heart skip a beat. I can’t believe I tricked her into marrying me.
It seems like a hundred years ago and a world away but I can remember dark days as well. I can see myself deathly sick and hunkered down in a tiny apartment, months after having been thrown out of my own house by my narcissistic ex-wife. She had suddenly concluded I was the source of her perpetual unhappiness. The rest of that story is pretty predictable.
Alone and floundering in the deep end of the pool of self doubt I could not connect the dots to a happy ending. This wasn’t the plan. I didn’t even know this was an option. I couldn’t visualize the future. It was all I could do to put one foot in front of the other. I went through the motions for reasons I didn’t understand at the time.
It took a year to realize I wasn’t a shit. Then I started to have fun and later when I found Hottie I discovered how it is supposed to be. Our years together have been an adventure with ups and downs. What has been there the whole time and hasn’t been up and down is our relationship and love for each other.
Times are good now. I hope they stay that way. Bikes and stuff are fun but what makes me the luckiest man is having Hottie in my life.
I am so lucky.