10 blog posts ago we moved from our little 5 acre piece of stability into an unknown adventure on the Clearwater River. We downsized our stuff and took on the role of mom and pop KOA living in the manager’s suite of a newly converted KOA campground.
For a year our front window has daily displayed a continuous caravan of campers coming and going from one adventure to another. We have been treated to many unexpected opportunities and a handful of humorous oddities like coming home and finding that your front porch has become a hangout for people you’ve never met or the preferred parking spot for Dads Dogs.
We’ve met some fun people too like the little old lady that visited each morning for a week to check her email via a dinosaur dialup internet connection and cheerfully encouraged me to keep up the good work homeschooling my children before she left.
Clearly I have no blogger etiquette. The last time I wrote an update, we were in the middle of a fire evacuation. In the last two months of silence, you have been left to assume that I’m either dead or have run out of things to say. Thankfully, neither is true. The fires have moved from our area and the air is as clean and crisp as fall apple should be. Despite the nearby hills of charred land, the RV park where we are living has rows of healthy mature Cottonwood trees that have given up the chlorophyll craze and are surrendering to themselves to bright hues of yellow. They release their leaves in a carefully choreographed pattern that mimics gently falling snow and because I am not responsible for leaf maintenance, I simply breathe in the active beauty that surrounds me.
It’s late evening. The sky should be dark but instead there is an ominous red casting an eerie glow over the hillside behind the RV park where we live. Reclining in a chaise lounge on our front patio area I am watching the hill illuminated by the wildfires that have been raging near our town since Monday morning. Only this evening has the fire approached a distance close enough to warrant an evacuation and like the flames themselves, the energy, concern and panic among those around me is both palatable and spreading.
It’s early. The birds have only just started to stretch their wings when the dark air outside my bedroom rips open like an angry lion about to devour it’s prey. I awake with a start, my heart momentarily deciding if it has the will to continue giving life to my rigid, wide-eyed body. A startled noise escapes my mouth and I strain my ears to correctly categorize the sound that has just ricocheted off my bedroom walls. Then, as recognition slowly seeps into my mind, I sigh and turn over in bed with a groan. Mr. Harley Davidson must have an early morning breakfast date and, multitasker that he is, has decided to simultaneously impress the entire campground with the rich, angry sound of his motor. If we were not impressed now, the night before gave ample opportunity as Mr. Davidson sat around with his leather laden buddies swapping stories and a few choice words, loudly, late into the night. It was at this time that I discovered not only that my pillow can effectively buffer late night noises if folded over my head in a taco-like manner, but also that my husband has the uncanny ability to use motorcycle party noise as a sleep aid.
“The sky overhead, the earth below, the mountains around. I stand in the middle place—at home.” Dr. Tine Swentzell, Santa Clara Pueblo
A few days ago I was standing in the visitor center in the Mesa Verde National Park and read the above quote. It whispered into my ear and dripped like thick honey into my heart. At that point our family had been on the road for 12 days traveling in our van. Our road trip was taking us from Idaho to Nashville, Tennessee and back in a lazy fashion. This was the longest stretch we have taken as a family on the road. As I write, we are finishing up the final hours of our return voyage.In the last fifteen days we have traveled 4, 714 miles covering 14 states, 5 National Parks/Monuments, 12 hotel rooms and countless potty breaks. It was rushed, there was a lot of rain, at times we couldn’t remember which state we were in, we but we loved it entirely. Continue reading “at home”