One month ago, I packed up my car; stuffed my cat, my brother, my sister with the baby in her belly and my brother in-law into my 4runner and headed due north. Washington called us home for the holidays.
20 some hours later we pulled into my home town exhausted and ready to slip into the sweet hibernation of family, snow, warm fires and Christmas traditions. And we did—or at least I did.
I made snow angels. We baked thumb-cookies and I made my sister her Tarte Tatain with a splash of brandy. We read poetry by the fire and spent my days sledding (wildly) down the driveway, the roof and steeper hills behind the house. I went to Seattle to see an improv Christmas Carol. We watched the fish being tossed and drank heavenly coffee. I laughed a hell of a lot and curled up in all of it. Christmas just may be my favorite time of year.
Nearing the end of my month home I began to grow ancy for a proper snowmobile ride. My brothers have random sleds (snowmobiles) stashed all throughout their yards—some fast and flashy, others old and clunky. When I asked my brother Josh for the use of one of his sleds he quickly said yes (perhaps even a wee-bit excited for a long ride thru the mountains) and then promptly withdrew—hesitation and dubious ideas had already begun to flood his brain.
You see, a few years ago my little brother readily handed me over one of his newly acquired cast-off forest service sleds. He loaned it to my proudly; “Here you go, Sissy,” he had said. “Have fun.”
I took the statement literally and had fun.
That afternoon my sister Anna and I rode down to the beach and spent hours constructing massive and elaborate snowmen—or rather snowladies as they both had boobs. It took us all afternoon and they loomed over us in all their snowy glory. They were beautiful.
And then we got back on our loaned snowmobiles and drove down the length of the beach and waited for the count: one…two…three! We were off. The old, clunky beasts that we drove carried us quickly to each of our snowwomen.
I don’t know if it made noise when we hit, but the force of the packed snow nearly knocked me off the seat. It also broke the headlight and the windshield.
When the machines stopped on the other side of what was (only minutes ago) our masterful snowwomen, Anna and I stumbled off, exalted that we were still alive and quite proud of ourselves—of our rowdiness and downright awesomeness. In that moment we could have moved mountains. But then we saw the headlights and the windshields.