When I left the house this morning, I was amazed at how warm it was outside. Too warm. It made me worry if there would be any snow left where we were going, which was to the White Mountains of Arizona, to play in the snow.
Really, if I could, I would love to be able to live in the snow and cold, and overcast skies. I love that weather. Unfortunately, I know myself too well, and know that I would be miserable because for some reason my body does not do well in the cold. It’s sad, I would love to be able to live in the cold and snow, be outside in it, even camp in it, but I know I would be hypothermic in seconds. I wish I could get that fixed.
So, my friend, Hal, and I set off for the north country, and on the way up, saw that all the lovely snow from last weekend’s ride on the motorbikes was gone. There was not a trace of it except on the north side of Mt. Ord. I was disappointed. The sun was out and I am tired of it already. This is bad because the summer hasn’t even started, and I already hate to see that glaring “thing” up in the sky. In Payson, I saw only a thin white line on the Rim, which was all that was left of last week’s snow. Very depressing.
Later, as we climbed the Rim, we were passed by a red Ferrari. The older man (probably my age) driving it looked like he was having a blast. He wasn’t speeding, too much anyway, but he was enjoying himself. Yeah, I thought, that’s as close as I will ever get to a Ferrari. I love anything to do with motorsports and often wish for a fast car. It’s probably just as well that I can’t afford anything close to that Ferrari. I would only get in trouble.
The trip seemed to go very quickly. We got here in about six hours and it always used to seem to take about eight. I don’t know what happened; maybe because we only made one stop for fuel, and one quick stop at a Subway for lunch. As we drew closer to our destination, though, I saw with a sinking feeling that there was hardly any snow, at least compared to the last time we were up here. The temperature readout on the dash of the car said it was 53°. I was so disappointed I could hardly stand it. Last time it was 24° and lower the whole time we’d been here.
We pulled over to the side of the road, and I was able to get some lovely shots of running streams lined with ice and surrounded by snow. I can always find something worth shooting, but I was so warm while I was there, and I had only a couple of layers of clothing on. When we got to the lodge, I said, “we’re home!” But the snowmobiles were parked, and probably wouldn’t be moving until the next storm comes through. They can’t go out unless there is a foot or so of snow on the ground. Snow is predicted again for next Tuesday-Wednesday, but of course I will be long gone, back at work, and longing to be in the snow again.
As the afternoon wound down, we managed to go for a short hike. The quiet is so complete back there in the woods, and all I heard was the crunch of snow beneath my feet, and the calling of birds. When I stopped, it was quiet enough for me to hear the wings of a small bird flying high overhead. In the shadows, the snow still lay deep and sparkling in the subdued light. I found many interesting little plants, and animal tracks to shoot. I shot only living trees this time. I think I am “done” with shooting 900 photos of dead, burned trees, now. They are just there. It is time for me to create my book, get the angst over the wildfire out of my system, and move on. Just as the forest is healing, so should I be.
We walked back to the lodge, the sun dipping low in the sky, where it belongs. A curl of smoke was rising from one of the chimneys, the one connected to the fireplace in the main cozy sitting room where I sit and write with my laptop. This place is like home, these people are like extended family. I feel like I belong here.
Tomorrow is my only full day to be here, and it will go too fast. I want to make the most of this trip and enjoy what I can. It really doesn’t even matter what I do, as long as I am here. I may even find a few moments of peace tomorrow to sit in a quiet corner and write. There is (thankfully) no TV or phone service here, and that is just fine with me.
For me, that is the true meaning of “luxury accommodations.”