The whirl of the winch, the spin of the handle.
The sound of the waves rushing past, rapping the hull like a rhythmic drum verse; a pulse as we ride up the mountainous swell and surf down the other side, deep into its trough.
Whoosh. Arms and hands a smear of gray as they spin around and around pulling in the ease on the sheet.
“It’s me! I’m coming down, I’m coming down.”
A flap of the chute, a snap really, as it settles back into position. Full and bright. A parachute tugging its charge down a watery path.
The early morning sun is starting to wake. She stretches her glittery rays up above her head tickling the high clouds and winking a soulful “good morning!” to the rolling waters of Lake Michigan.
The sailors pause a moment, faces angled to the east, embracing the golden warmth of the rays, drinking in the colors of the birth of a new morning.
A moment later, the chute, indignant that it be ignored in the face of a new day, signals its displeasure with a loud snap as it folds into itself.
Startled, the sailors return their attention to the roiling waters, the wind, the sway of their vessel.
When I was a little girl, I liked to pretend that I was a cowgirl.
I would spend hours getting lost in daydreams of wrangling cattle and of strapping on my chaps and spurs and riding off into the sunset on my lively steed.
I so badly wanted to live the life of adventure that was so often the main vein running through the stories that recounted the days of the wild west.
Stories of heroic cowpoke protagonists, of miners living high atop the Rocky Mountains, of straight shooters and showdowns.
And though I don’t partake in any high noon showdowns or spend much time around horses, I like to think that I am living out my childhood dreams of cowgirl adventures via elk jerky and apple picnics at the top of high mountain summits. Through wandering drives up old access roads in search of snow in July. Through the twangy stories told during a private blue grass show on a deck overlooking Telluride and the San Juans. Through evenings spent on a wobbly, spider-ridden kayak watching fireworks cascade over Lake Dillon. Through hidden campsites that provide an unobstructed view of the stars and the sun rising up above Cataract Falls. Through the eyes of an eight year old as she learns the ins and outs of the world around her. And through the joy felt when close friends and family come together for an evening of ongoing laughter over charred ribs and corn on the cob dripping with melted butter.
“Numbers can be humbling.”
He’s a wise man, my Dad. The kind of man who always looks a challenge right in the eye, daring it to take one step closer lest he run right through it, never glancing back.
And in a world built on numbers, he could not be closer to the truth.
Budget numbers, staffing numbers, dollar amounts, bank accounts, bids on subcontractors, miles per hour, height/ weight, years gone by, minutes past.
I sometimes find myself getting swept up in the hard numbers that are the bones behind our businesses and our livelihoods and I forget to slow down to count the numbers in the things that mean the most.
Things like the millions of memories made laughing with the people we care about most. The minutes and hours, days and years spent loving those around us. The awe-inspiring height of the peaks that make up the Colorado Rockies and icy depths of the Great Lakes. The numerous colors in the morning sunrise and the first few sips of hot coffee in the morning or a refreshing glass of wine in the evening.
Humbling? Yep, I dig that.
No matter the distance, no matter the length of time that passes between each reunion, no matter how often you chat or you write, these relationships pick up right where they left off.
My VBGFs [very best girlfriends] are like that. These gals know when I am preoccupied by something before even I know I am preoccupied by something and they can read my mind upon the passing of the briefest of sideways glances.
They know my taste in men, in chocolate, in clothes, in activities, and in wine. They know how I live and how I learn and that I get freaked out by change, and that I like to pretend that I am hard-ass and that nothing bothers me, but in reality I am huge ninny when it comes to feeling sick, or sad, or scared, and that sometimes I just need a hug and someone to tell me that it’s all going to work out.
There’s no judgment, no drama, no ill-will, just a strong circle of love, of support, and of kindness.
Our reunions begin with squeals of glee and end with laughter in the memories we’ve made and excitement for the next time we get to spend a few unencumbered days basking in each other’s company.
I am so lucky to call them mine.
I’ve had a few memorable showers in my 29 and 3/4 quarters years.
I know, I know…what kind of statement is that anyway?
But hear me out.
I’m talking a shower where you turn the heat up as hot as you can stand it without feeling as though your skin is about to melt off your body.
I’m talking a shower that fills your bathroom with so much steam that it becomes difficult to take a deep breath; and in the very same moment, feeling the dirt, the grime, the sweat, the laughter, and the sand melt off your body and swirl around the drain, waving as though shouting gleefully, “until next time!”.
I’m talking a shower that leaves your skin pink with heat and the beginnings of a slight sunburn and memories from a weekend outside under the hot Rocky Mountain sun.
Now that’s a memorable shower.
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Taos NM, Zapata Falls, Lower Cataract Lake
We had our first thunderstorm of the season today.
Over the last month or so, we’ve had some “thunderstorms” sweep through the county, but each of those bouts of thunder and lightening were in the company of snow; needless to say I was surprised to see that this particular thunderstorm was accompanied by RAIN, not snow.
It didn’t last long, a mere 5 minutes or so, much like our typical summer afternoon rainstorm, but in those five minutes, I stopped what I was doing and sat quietly at my desk, office window cracked, and let the cool breeze blow over my bare arms, goose bumps prickling across my skin. I breathed in the scent of rain and listened to the thunder rumble over the mountaintops and realized that though I am thrilled to get a sneak peak of summer, the deluge of rain means our soft spring snow is going to melt faster, thereby bringing the ski season to a fast approaching end.
Sick, you say?
Perhaps, I say.
Though, that just means you haven’t yet had the opportunity to ski in bikini weather :)
I am a frequent visitor of a local coffee shop known as the Pourhouse. It’s the kind of place where you walk in and everyone knows your name, you can always count on getting the scoop on the local gossip, and perhaps take a moment to admire photos of the “sick lines” enjoyed by one of the barista’s during his most recent pow sesh.
This morning upon my arrival, I inquired as to the well-being of one of my favorite baristas, Dave. Due to previous conversations, I knew that he was planning on leaving the county for greener pastures and because I hadn’t seen him in a few weeks, I assumed that he had already left.
I was shocked to learn that he had passed away last week; hit a tree while skiing at Breck and had died upon impact. I had heard about a death at Breck last week, but details had not been released and in the midst of end of season chaos, I had brushed the news off with little consideration.
It’s funny how the gravity of that consideration changes when you realize that you knew the person, not just knew, genuinely enjoyed the company of the person involved. Life is fragile thing and I guess when your time is up, your time is up.
Cheers Dave. Your happy, adventurous spirit will be missed. We’ll ski some sick lines in your honor this weekend.