Saturday, January 03, 2009

Fellow Travelers through the Seasons

My friend Jan took this photo of her log home outside Polson, Montana a couple days ago. Over New Years, we had several inches of new snow falling like it was getting paid for it. This is more snow than I've seen any winter in 14 years. Yee Haw. My friends are enjoying the slopes and lifts but I haven't pulled out the skis just yet.

In an older body, I find myself weighing the pros and cons of exposure to speed and ice, enjoying my current euphoria of mobile joints and the absence of concussions, wrenched muscles, or torn ligaments. I'll give it one more week.
You might recall last winter's post about the final run down the mountain at Blacktail, complete with a 30 foot cartwheel, whiplash, and a mild concussion. Skiing back to the lodge that day after my 'yardsale', I promised myself a helmet before next season.

Yes! Snow dresses up a little town like nobody's business. Gazing up at the mountains today, it looks like this could be Switzerland or Germany. The roadways are paved with vanilla frosting and the trees, buried under a limb bending load, look like splendid decorations. When the setting sun sparks the snow draped mountains with a peachy glow, it is all you can do to keep from shouting for joy. Here is another Jan Myers work of art taken from her house, I bet.
Montana is the quick change artist of the world, going from summer to winter, and back again, in the blink of an eye. Or as my friend, Sailor Bill, puts it so wryly, "If you don't like the weather, just wait 5 minutes and you still won't like it."

Attempting to tackle my 'big guy' yesterday on a snowy slope at the dog park (in a moment of pure winter driven madness) I ended up face down in the snow, while he was still standing. But it was worth it, because somersaulting, frolicking, and making snow angels was the inevitable next thing to do down there.

For Christmas, my friend Mary gave me a photo from five years ago of the two of us hugging a snowman. We had built it the day before when the world was white. By the next day, everything had melted except our giant snowman with the crazy hat. He was listing to about 45 degrees and we couldn't get him upright, no matter how hard we grunted, but it made for a great photo and yet another memory to share.

This past year, my maternal cousins-Martha, Matt, Cody, Mary & Lucia- have become beloved friends as we recently supported each other through the deaths of our two mothers, only months apart. Martha and I (the oldest) were already like sisters from decades of shared experiences.
In the tub, she and I are the two on the right, with my brother Bill and her brother, Bo.

So strange how these little kids (Mary, Matt & Lucia) grew up to be the absolute coolest friends, not just to me and my brothers, but to their older sister Martha and to each other, as well. Wouldn't our recently deceased mom-sisters, Tony & Barb, be happy about that.

On the left is Barb & Jim (Mom's brother) on their wedding day.

Tony and Barb had ridden the school bus together when they were twelve and thirteen years old. They were there when each of them met their future husbands. They didn't know at that dewy age what agony their lives would hold and what it would take to survive it. Nevertheless, they each moved through over 80 years with a lot of grace and a devastating sense of humor-right up to the end.
On the left, Marth & Matt are imitating our dog, Sam, instigated by Mom, (though she looks a lot like their mom in that photo).

Let's face it, the friends & family we treasure are what make any season memorable. Aging has taught me one thing. The things I thought mattered over the years are Nothing compared to the value to me, of each of my friends, siblings, cousins, and many of my acquaintances.

My youngest cousin, Lucia, had a dream the other day that Mom and Barb were bicycling together in that yonder place, like when they were kids. That thought put a giant grin on my face for the rest of the day!

So Remember...
Tell them how important they are
how beautiful they are
And keep them laughing!


Angela said...

It has been beautiful, hasn't it? I love the old photos and the memories that go with them, Julie! This is a great post.

Big Sky Dreamer said...

My God, Julie! The way you write is fantastic! Makes me laugh and cry at the same time. It is wonderful to be included inside your beloved circle of family and friends. Celebrate the snow for me too, please. I miss it, you and Sam, to name a few. Love lots, beej ~~~~~~~~~Post on, girlfriend.