Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Bus

We went out the Bus yesterday. My Time Hop told me that we had been out there on that day exactly a year ago. Strangely I remember that day. Maybe because it was the first time we had been out there. Maybe because the sun was warm, the skies were summer blue and we didn’t even think about putting jackets on for the first time since we had arrived in the wild West 7 months before. We had survived spring and now summer was starting to show up. Maybe its because that was when I started to get a glimpse of the beauty of summer up here. The flowers were starting to bloom. White, purple, orange, yellow all starting to peek their faces up and out towards the sun.

Whatever the reason I remember that day. I had a posse then. We walked at a snail’s pace. We held hands, I carried them and their snacksdrinks. We would stay out for an hour but have gone a quarter of a mile total. 

I loved that we were outside, drinking in the sun, breathing in the flowers but I was so hungry to see what was beyond those couple of feet we had managed to crawl.

I got out their a few times to run that summer, I hit dead ends a couple times, ran out of daylight a few times...I just haven’t known enough about where I was going to get the the elusive bus that makes it ‘the bus loop’. And that’s ok. I’ve known there would be a time I’d get there. The destination isn’t the thing anyway right?

Yesterday the clouds were hovering over the mountains dark and full of rain. We needed to get out before those things stole the sun from us AGAIN this spring. The Bus is on the other side of town from us now so we don’t venture out there very often anymore but we decided to take a gamble on it this time.

And I kept thinking ‘some things stay the same’ and also ‘everything changes’. Same place, same kids, same day, same feeling with the skies and the sun and the flowers and the sage in the air---and don’t forget the cows! They are all out now.

But we had a totally different experience. I have a crew now who works with me. They carry their own stuff, including themselves. They help make decisions. They walk at their own pace and we check in every so often. We have a call and response system if someone gets a bit too far ahead or behind and they are just out of sight. They know what they need on the trail to be successful...and i’ve learned that too. 

We went a long ways. I’m still not sure where the bus is--I think we could have made it there if we knew which trail to take in the spiderweb of trails out there. BUT who care?! Everyone was happy!! We were out for more than twice as long as we used to be able to hang with it---and everyone was smiling when we got done. It won’t always be like this I know. There are still some more disaster hikes to come our way. 

But I’m going to hold on the successes. The ones where we enjoyed it, and each other, and maybe got a little bit further down the trail than we did last time. (And also where I didn’t have to sing Old MacDonald or 5 little monkeys...or any other long repetitive children’s song that has pushed us to the end of so so so many hikes. That’s success as well.)

Monday, May 2, 2016

part iv

We had a graduation/2nd birthday/1st birthday party because other wise we would have had one party a week for three weeks. And then we started packing and tossing things. Minimalizing to fit into what we knew was going to have be a be a pretty small space. October 1 was his start date but he went up early to get us a place to live. Which took a couple of weeks. It’s a tight market here. The posse, as they were known, and I took an extended vacation with my parents and then made the long long drive out here with Pop-pop who helped tremendously.
In the end, we were in an 800 sq. foot duplex with two bedrooms and an amazing backyard. Three bedrooms would have been ideal but it was perfect in so many ways. We moved in and froze that first night. We weren’t dressed for October in the mountains. We weren’t ready for it when it snowed a week later, or the week after that.
Darkknight was working nights and we were in the small apartment with barely enough money to feed ourselves (but we did) and two kids under 2. It was insane. And I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. Where were we?
The kids played and played in the backyard and the deer came to visit and it was a private oasis back there. I could hang the laundry on the line and believe we were the only ones in the universe who could feel the sun, that beautiful strong sun backed by those blue blue blue cloudless skies. And I struggled to remain open to this rugged place.

It’s been four winters and three summers since we decided to give Wyoming a chance. And I’m not the same...errr I’m more the same than I have ever been. Who knew Wyoming was going to teach me more about myself than I knew? And give me the freedom to be ok with who that person is? It certainly wasn’t me. I was drowning in my posse--all that spit up, diapers, screaming, yogurt everywhere mess. But here, instead of a triangle to walk, there are the mountains. We walked and hiked and walked to keep my sanity. On the trails and around town. Wherever we could go. Whatever the weather. We didn’t have the right gear and we walked effing slow at first.  1/2 mile took an hour. And the posse couldn’t make it back. I strapped one to my back and I scooped up the other and I got strong. And we started to get the right gear for any weather. 

I learned to persevere atalltimes. Screaming kids, raining, snowing...whatever. Breathe in--hold it--breathe out--let it stay empty for a moment--breath back in...onefootinfrontoftheother. I learned all the tricks of the trail. SNACKS! SONGS! STORIES! Lookatthatrock and lookatthatstick! I’ve carried more rocksflowerssticksbugs in my pocket than I can even begin to count. Those 1/2 miles added up to miles and miles and hours of hours and it did something to all of us.

The posse morphed into the crew right in front of the me. They help packs our bags and fill our water. They encourage each other down the trail (when they aren’t racing to be the allusive ‘trail leader’). We are a team now and not a one man show (or a two man show when Darkknight gets to roll with us). We have no holding rules now. We are all stronger. We know ourselves and our limitations a little better. We know each other better. We love each other fiercer.

We are faster and can go farther. We still need SNACKS! but not as many and not nearly as many songs and stories. They hike way out front and way behind happy to be where they are. I get to walk hands free, back free with my face lifted to the sky breathing the air feeling all the gratitude for this place, this time and all the groundedness that comes with placing one foot on the red packed dirt (mud, snow, rock...) in front of the other.

I thought winters were terrible in Missouri. Wyoming springs are even worse, I say as I sit in my sunless sunroom staring out at the fog that covers the freshly snow covered mountain when its almost May. It’s cold outside, it has snowed off and on for three days straight. There’s no relief in sight. Everyone has pictures of themselves in short sleeves and flowers blooming and we are still a month and who knows how many more snows away from flowers blooming. We are learning the tricks. Go outside anyway preferably to the wilderness where you can forget how ugly concrete is when its wet, write as much as you can, get a pink himalyan sea salt lamp, hold onto June--its going to be breathtaking when it comes. Get out of town! Even to somewhere else in Wyoming with the same terrible weather. Daydream about living in Naples. These are helpful tricks...and you need tricks to anywhere you live I think. There is always something that isn’t perfect. 

There aren’t many things that are perfect in the world right now. I don’t need to repeat the news. But outside--in whatever geographical space--things are pretty perfect. And I am full of gratitude and awe that I am here. Wyoming, if you let her, will dig her claws in deep inside of you and refuse to let you go. And even if we move on someday I won’t be free of her for a long long time.