She Needed Me to Play

Sometimes, when we head west, we land for a few days at a cabin. In a meadow in Custer National Forest, it’s far enough from civilization that the siren song of phone, internet, and television falls silent, replaced by the gentler sounds of wind in the trees and water dancing over boulders. There, the weather unfolds in the sky rather than on radar. After a series of bright, high country autumn days, the sun succumbed to a veil of clouds which rolled in over the mountain, bringing with them a cold, splashy snow that blanketed everything it touched. It fell through the afternoon and {Continue Reading}

Tracks in the Snow

The twelve-passenger van made its way down Yellowstone’s snow-covered road not on traditional tires, but on treads meant to traverse the groomed roadway. Gone were the crowds and the fly fishermen of fall, replaced by seas of white broken by swaths of evergreen and dots of brown, bison in search of last year’s grass to fill their bellies. Two adult trumpeter swans, their arched necks highlighted against the steamy Firehole River, swam alongside a grey cygnet, all camouflaged by the white of the snow and the deep of the water. A cow elk foraged alone for food on a hillside and a {Continue Reading}

Because Sometimes We Forget

Once upon a time I looked at the empty picnic tables at interstate rest areas  and wondered Who uses those?  I never saw them in use and our stops were always quick and utilitarian. Then J and I had kids. Each of our three children was less than a year before we carted them off on their first thousand-mile-one-way road trip. With the combination of little ones and that kind of mileage, I learned to see rest areas with new eyes. Beyond the continual requests for potty breaks, our kids needed to move, to get the wiggles out. At rest areas they ran. Down the sidewalks. Over the grass. On the {Continue Reading}

Because

Because the things of earth end, because beginnings arrive disguised as endings, because this week brings both to our family in the form of college–a repost. It made sense when I was young. The cicada’s song signaled school’s imminent return. I enjoyed school, so maybe it didn’t make sense, but as a child, it was the best I could come up with. I dreaded the inevitability of its lonely refrain vibrating through summer’s evening air. My parents held a different opinion. They called it beautiful. Age has allowed me to agree. I can hear a loveliness in the cicada’s song {Continue Reading}

Why Summer Matters

A tiny ball of feline fluff has taken up residence in our garage. She moved in at the invitation of our youngest, herself a petite bundle of boundless energy. Our girlie made the little grey cat a bed, set up a feeding station, and installed a litter box, and then she set up a pup tent for herself. For two weeks she slept in a sleeping bag on a concrete floor because right now her energy is focused on waiting for the arrival of the summer’s kittens. Kittens don’t always arrive in the long glory days of summer. Sometimes they’re born in September and {Continue Reading}

What If?

My husband was away recently for a few days of out-of-town work and instead of going to sleep at reasonable hour, I stayed up and binge read the blog of a writer I’d heard interviewed earlier that day. I read her entire blog–all five years of it–over the course of two late nights. (Because what sane woman would need a good night’s rest when everyone in the family is just a wee bit off because a Key Member of the Household is gone?) On the bleary-eyed morning after the first night, I staggered down the hall, through the dark living room, and {Continue Reading}

One Step Toward Perspective

It’s early April, and here in the midwest, already spring’s verdant march across the lawn toward the front door is more than a hint or a dream. The bright landscape leaves no question that winter, though it could at any moment clench its frosty fist, has lost its grip. A new season is under way. Here at Along This Road and in my life, it’s a time of quiet, a silence I’m breaking for a moment to ask about your season. I ask because I believe there is a time and a season for all things and, for me, remembering {Continue Reading}

Everywhere

We’ve taken to watching a little football at our house on Sunday afternoons and when the talk turns to the Super Bowl, I remember the day I found some unexpected beauty in Yellowstone. Oh, I expected to find beauty, but not indoors, not around the television, and not watching football. In memory of that day, a repost–because great good is on my mind, and it can be found in the most surprising places. We dragged ourselves into Yellowstone’s Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel according to plan, just after midnight Sunday morning. We’d driven twenty hours and that last one was hard. We {Continue Reading}

Roads in Transition, Part 2

On December 12 the National Park Service posted a news release to inform the public that Yellowstone’s interior roads would open on December 15, just as predicted. Yellowstone’s fall and winter travelers knew when the road crews would start to let the snow build, when they’d get dangerous, and when they’d be safe for snow machines. They knew. Sometimes I wish I knew. You know, about changes, about transitions. About the things I’m waiting for and the ones I’m dreading. I imagine that a little more information would help me hang on. Often, a more accurate assessment would be that I desperately {Continue Reading}