I’m back in Colorado, and back at work, after six days of vacation. It was incredible. I drove to Boulder, stayed with my brother, flew from Denver to Detroit, spent nearly five days in Michigan, flew back and stayed with my brother again, and drove back yesterday afternoon. My visit home was everything I’d hoped it would be: saw my dad on his birthday for the first time in four years, watched my dear friend Casey and his beautiful Cheryl get married, saw lots of family and lots of friends, and got to plunge headfirst into a cold and clear Lake Michigan. There was drinking and dancing and watching the Tigers win; watching the final Office episode with my mom and both of us tearing up; lots of hugs with just about everybody; a breathless sprint down a sand dune; home cooked meals and excellent coffee and the tree-tunnel streets of Ferndale and Ann Arbor. My friend Andrew and I even got a ride home from a cop one night – in a good way.
When the desert gets too hot, then, or too lonely, I can shut my eyes and remember that blissful feeling in the cold sway underneath the Lake Michigan waves – or my dad wrapping me up in a giant beach towel to keep me warm from the lake winds, or my mom hugging me tightly goodbye at the airport, or Margaret carefully painting my fingernails, or sitting on a sunny deck with my grandparents and cousins, or Meg purring at me, or my brother and I laughing so hard in his kitchen that we both had tears in our eyes, or any of a number of other tiny, perfect moments.
I’m getting way too sentimental again, I apologize for that. If my friends and fam would just be less amazing, I’d have less reason to get mushy about them. Hear that, y’all?
On my drive home from Denver yesterday, I trucked up to Hanging Lake (1,020’ elevation gain in 1.2 miles.) This was certainly helpful in making me fine with being back in this state, because it’s a ridiculously beautiful place. You know those infinity pools that seem to hover above eternity, flat and perched in space? Hanging Lake is a natural one, surrounded by mossy waterfalls and weirdly bright blue pools and tall conifers and rocky cliffs. The hike up (and then back down again) is necessarily steep and rocky, and it was great for my self esteem, as I was constantly blowing by tiny children and grandmas who had stopped on the side of the trail, wheezing. “Look at me go!” I thought to myself cheerfully. (I’m kind of a jerk while hiking.)
And now I am back up at the top of the Monument. Jackie, sadly, moves out tonight, leaving me living alone for the first time ever. It is cooler today, and I have polished my boots, and there is a chipmunk running about on the windowsill outside. There is a goofy photo on my desk of a camel that Becky gave me. Two more months in these wild red canyons. Let’s do it.