Saturday, December 30, 2006

Long Walks in Stormy Weather


As you may know, I was extremely disappointed that my son wasn’t able to make it home for Christmas. I certainly didn’t want him on the road or stranded at the Denver airport, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t depressed about it. I tried not to let my mood affect those around me, but as several people will attest, I wasn’t completely successful (sorry Ron, Val, Nels, Danae, Michelle, Larry, Rocky, ok…pretty much everyone).

Fortunately for the people around me, my mood picked up this week as I planned a 4-day trip to Absarokee to visit my dad and brother. Ah, the fun we would have, walking the dog, road tripping in the 4 wheel drive, taking pictures of everything and enjoying the fun family things we always do when I’m there. I knew I would come back refreshed and rejuvenated.

I was to leave Friday. Emphasis on “was”. Thursday a storm came through, bringing snow, wind and cold. Not a big thing to me; I’m a tough Montana chick and I’ve been driving in blizzards for decades. Friday morning, I packed the car, checked my winter survival kit and hit the road.

Conditions were…interesting. There was no doubt it was icy. It had warmed up considerably and there was just enough water on top of the ice in the driving lane to make it treacherous. The passing lane, however, was snow packed and hardly slick at all. I drove in the passing lane for several miles, listening to XM radio and singing to the music. Nothing white knuckle at all (ok, I’m lying here, but it wasn’t bad enough to make me turn back and miss out on a chance to spend time with my family).

About 4 miles out of town, a brand new black Dodge Ram, fully tricked out, appeared in my rear-view mirror. I pulled back into the driving lane to let him by. He passed me like I was stopped and headed off down the road like a bat out of blazes. I was just considering pulling back into the (safer) passing lane when I saw the Dodge in front of me fishtail a little, and then lose it completely. Round and round he went on the ice, finally going off the right side of the road, nose first. Why it didn’t roll, I’ll never know.

I could tell from the activity in the cab that he was fine. Stuck big-time, but physically ok. I slowed down, but didn’t stop. I called the highway patrol on my cell and told them about the accident. They had someone in the area and were sending him immediately. I was about 500 yards from the exit to Colstrip, 5 miles from home and 155 miles from Absarokee.

I did the right thing. I pulled into the exit and took the frontage road home. It was snow packed and slightly icy, but much safer than the interstate.

Mother Nature hates me.

Though I rarely wallow in self-pity, when I do, I do it well. I came home, put on my sweats and readied myself for a long weekend of misery. I surfed the net for awhile, reading blogs and doing some research for an article I’m writing for the work newsletter. I updated the website a bit and got ready for bed.

*Sigh*

I woke up this morning feeling very blah. I waddled dejectedly into the kitchen for a cup of coffee and sat down at the computer to continue my research. To be honest, it wasn’t going well…my heart just wasn’t into it, nor was my brain. I decided to abandon work and check out some of my favorite blogs. The first one I clicked on was Looking Up. If you haven’t checked out that blog, you should. Cathy is an awesome photographer and a wonderful human being. Her posts are always upbeat and thought provoking.

This is from her Friday, December 29th post:

"Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary." Henry David Thoreau

For some reason, that quote hit home. I put on my coat, my boots, grabbed the camera and took off through the snow…






I'm feeling much better now.

29 comments:

MsLittlePea said...

Glad you're feeling better. Hope the weather will leave you guys alone dammit! Beautiful pix

MsLittlePea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anvilcloud said...

Looking Up is great ... as is a freshing walk in the snow. Sorry about the disappointments though, for that's what they are.

Cathy said...

Wow! Laurie! These pictures are so beautiful. Your narrative about trying to reach your family is both touching and hair-raising. I'm so glad you made it safely home and managed to salvage some lovely wonder beyone the heartache of your disappointment.

Your so sweet to recommend my blog.

(Jerks like the guy in the Dodge Ram really steam me. He could've taken you or other innocent people with him)

Cathy said...

OOps.That's 'beyond' the heart ache.

dmmgmfm said...

Mslittlepea, Thanks! Can you put in a good word with Mother Nature for me?

AC, I'm much better now that I've had my walk.

Cathy, He did scare the you-know-what out of me, I hope it taught him a lesson. I'm so glad I clicked on your blog first thing this morning, if I hadn't gone walking I'd probably still be in a funk. Thanks :-)

Kristen said...

Amazing pictures... they make this Arizona girl chilled to the bone! brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

I'm so sorry again for the disappointment in not seeing your family... Ugh...

One question though...am I a horrible person for taking pride and pleasure in a random said dodge van fishtailing and crashing? Oh man, I would have LOVED to see that...

Jerk.

dmmgmfm said...

Kristen, I'm glad you like the pictures. It was -4 when I started out on my journey and 3 above when I returned. Even though I'm a tough Montana lady, I was pretty cold when I got back. It was worth it though. What a great walk.

I'm feeling a bit better about things. I'm planning on taking a 4 day weekend next week (sssshhhh, don't tell Mother Nature) to go visit my family. I put new tires on my car and they have a seriously knarly tread, so I should be able to get there barring an out and out blizzard.

And no, I don't think you are a horrible person for taking pleasure in his careening off the road. I have to confess, after I determined he was alright, I felt rather pleased that he was off the road myself.

Ur-spo said...

good that you are feeling better
Winter storms are nature's way of telling modern man to stay put and be at home from time to time.
To quote "The Lion in Winter" -
'there will be other Christmases"

dmmgmfm said...

Ur-spo, Thank you, and you are right about there being other Christmases. In fact we are planning one right now, in January or early February! My son is getting some time off and we'll spend it with my dad. We are going to have a tree and open our presents. It doesn't matter that it's not December 25, it just matters that we are together.

jen said...

what a terrific post. i love the full circle of it all.

KC said...

I'm glad you turned around. Hard thing to do with all of your anticipation for a badly needed rejuvenation.

But, the pictures are gorgeous.

And your delayed-but-still-going-on Christmas sounds wonderful.

LauraHinNJ said...

Hope the weather will cooperate so you can visit!

dmmgmfm said...

Jen, Thank you and Happy New Year.

KC, I'm glad you liked the pictures. It was a very healing walk and I'm no longer down in the dumps. Next time I get like that, please kick me in the rump and make me get out and enjoy the beauty around me, ok?

Laura, Thanks, so do I. I think it will stop snowing now that I have 4 new heavy duty snow tires on my car. ;-)

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

New Year’s blessings to you and yours, dmmgmfm! Thank you for your kind thoughts and words regarding my mother’s hospitalization.

dmmgmfm said...

I hope she is on the mend Nick and getting the best of care. Give Alex a rub for me and try to rest. Being a caregiver takes a lot of strength, please give yourself some time to relax if you can.

Many hugs,
Laurie

Wolf said...

Happy New years Mom and to all your friends! Love your post and your pictures are beautiful as always!

dmmgmfm said...

Wolf (aka son), Thanks so much for reading my post and commenting. It means the world to me. Happiest of New Years to you too!
Love you more than life,
Mom

pupski said...

thanks for posting that link - I needed to see something uplifting today! thanks also for commenting on my blog

Carol said...

Inspirational pictures. Hope things are looking up for you - I'm in the rainy season - hot and wet.
good thoughts your way
Carol

Laurie said...

Pupski, I'm so glad you enjoyed Cathy's blog. It's always a good read. Thanks for stopping by.

Carol, I'm glad you like the pictures, I really enjoyed taking them. I'm feeling much better now, thanks for asking. My son should be home sometime this month to celebrate our belated Christmas, I'll be a very happy mom then!

Potato Print said...

Hi Laurie,
I'm glad you are safe. It sounds like you have been on a rough stretch, what with the weather, and then not seeing your son. The drive sounds awful, just awful. I really hate it when there is water on top of ice.

Well your photos of winter really made my heart sing. It has been so warm here that there are still ticks and even mosquitos! New Year's Eve didn't feel new to me. I miss winter.

Laurie said...

Potato Print, It has been a rather rough month, but there have been some wonderful times as well. My main problem is that I miss my son. I will be so happy to see him on our "Christmas".

It's warming some here in Montana. The snow, however, isn't melting off so much as settling in which is good because we need the moisture. I hope you get some seasonal weather soon. As much as I complain about the snow, I would miss it if it didn't come.

threecollie said...

Wow, you folks sure have had some horrible weather! So sorry you missed your time with your family again.
Very beautiful photos though. Thanks for sharing!

Laurie said...

Threecollie, I'm glad you like the photos. It was a beautiful day, despite the snow and cold. I hope Mother Nature gives us a break so my son can come home for our belated holiday, but we need the moisture, so I really should be thankful.

Within Without said...

Gorgeous pix, Laura (or Laurie, which do you prefer?) Thanks for letting us come along.

Laurie said...

WW, Most people call me Laurie, although HWDDD calls me She Who Rarely Cleans Cat Boxes (SWRCCB?) and my dad calls me Lawrence of Absarokee (don't ask).

I'm glad you enjoyed the walk. You can come with me anytime.

Squirl said...

Those pictures are beautiful!

Laurie said...

Squirl, It was a fantasic morning. I took over 40 photos and I liked nearly all of them. The conditions were just right! :-)