Monday, January 17, 2011

The Holidays: Wisconsin to Boulder to Wisconsin.

After a full day in New York City, I flew to the Central Wisconsin Airport. While I live in Colorado, my mom was letting my car sit in her driveway and taking care of my dog, Sabah, in Wisconsin Rapids, WI. I received a great greeting from my mom and an unbelievably energetic greeting from Sabah. She still remembered me. They always do. Sabah proceeded to follow me around the house and never let me out of her sight.

Sabah and my mom's cat, Oreo, learned to tolerate each other, but just barely.

After months of traveling, it was time to be still. I think I was home for six days and my mother got me to leave the house in a car twice. I slept. I walked the dogs. I tried to catch up on this blog. I watched movies. I sorted six months of mail. I did crosswords. I napped. I almost fell out of a canoe into the cold Wisconsin River while trying to dislodge a 50 lb (?) branch from my mom's favorite tree that has a branch hanging in the water. I ate my favorite foods. It was exactly the no pressure decompression pad that I needed when I got home.

Sabah burrito in Boulder, CO.

After my time there, I reluctantly loaded up to head back to Colorado. It wasn't that I did not want to return to Colorado. I really wanted to see my friends, but I also really wanted to be still. I was sick of moving through space (as Betty likes to say). However, I got over myself, loaded up the car, loaded up the pooch, and did the 1,000 mile drive in one day even though I planned on two. In western Nebraska, the sun was just starting to set. The colors were showing all over the undersides of the clouds. It was gorgeous. It made me excited to get home so I just pushed on.

The Boulder Flatirons at sunrise, my view on Sabah's morning walk.

Sabah eyes up the deer in the alley at my place in Boulder.

When I rolled in to the Denver/Boulder area, it felt good. It felt great. I made a couple quick pit stops to see old friends and new ones. Then, I got up to Boulder where I was staying. Kate had left the light on to welcome me back. I moved and started being still by passing out. I did the same things that I did in Wisconsin with a few more friend visits thrown in. Writing, sleeping, eating, and enjoying being back in the good 'ol USA.

Jude on Vail Pass.

Annie and Jeason on Vail Pass.

Everyone on Vail Pass.


A couple friends wanted to talk about my trip. It is impossible to talk about my entire trip. There is too much. I can talk about a specific adventure or a specific country. The whole trip is out of the question. One friend wanted to see my photos, but didn't make it past three countries. It isn't that people are not interested, but the attention span isn't there for my story telling abilities. I'm not sure if anyone could really sum it verbally. So much happened. I have seen documentary movies of adventures like mine at the Banff Film festival, but they skip so much. They focus on a few highlights, usually on what people want to see and hear. I need to learn to do that.

If you know Eddie, you know this is a quintessential Eddie face.

Group shot.

The wonderful Colorado Rocky mountains.

Sunset on Vail Pass.

Sunset ski.

I have heard of a couple other friends returning from the Ice or other long trips and having similar experiences. Everyone is very excited you are back and wants to hear about the trip, but one dinner conversation does not cut it. However, after a dinner conversation, they have lost interest. It isn't that they don't care. It is just too much to take in. You just go back to the status quo of your relationship, if you are lucky. One of the tricks of being gone so long can be that you are not always part of the status quo anymore. You have to be active to reintegrate yourself into the community. It is similar to moving to a new place, but you are lucky enough to have a bunch connections to get you started.

A gray jay, one of our morning visitors.

A bear carving at the hut.

In my first week back, my friend Annie organized our sporadically annual hut trip to Vail Pass. I haven't seen her in two years since we keep passing through Colorado at different times. I was so excited for the trip, but when the day came to go up, I didn't feel like going anywhere. I still wanted to be still. I loved sleeping in the same bed night after night. I ended up going and was joined by two other Ice friends, Eddie and Jude, and two new friends. I had a great time. It was probably our best trip yet. If the hut trip was not the highlight of my time in Colorado, then sleeping in the same bed for over 2 weeks straight was.

Even the dogs get presents on Christmas morning. I think this was a cow knuckle.

After those two wonderful weeks, it was time to uproot again and head back to my mom's in Wisconsin for Christmas. I had not been home for Christmas in at least 5 years. It was overdue. My two brothers were also able to make the trip as well as my brother David's wife, Becki. We did the usual Christmas gig with lots of food, fun presents, and a little family time. I think the highlight for me was my brothers, sister, and I all pitching in to send my mom to Iceland. It has been a dream of hers for years and I thought making this happen for her was a great way to thank her for helping my dreams happen, especially since I was about to leave Sabah with her for one more week so I could head off to Ecuador for New Year's.

Goodbye faux hawk.