WANDERING MOOSE // IDAHO

We go to Idaho in the winter because we want snowy days and wintery afternoons and mornings full of feather sky. We stay with my parents, in their little cabin that has a wood burning stove and windows that look out onto the lake, where we spy on the birds that lounge atop thin layers of ice. When we are in Idaho, we sleep in a bunkhouse with a bear rug and walls that my dad built. During the afternoons, we play Rumikub at the kitchen counter, and wait for moose to wander through the backyard. We measure icicles and investigate footprints in the snow; we put two scoops of marshmallows in cups of hot chocolate and read books about Jaques Cousteau. We make snowballs and my dad makes igloos and indy makes angels in the drifts. My mom stacks wood and stokes the fire and turns up the radio when Neil Young comes on. We sled down the driveway in a magenta flyer and sometimes our boots fill up with snow. The only time we leave the cabin is to head to the mountain, where I practice my snow plow and feel-all-1978 in my old school-new school ski bibs. My children and my parents and my husband all ski faster than me, which is ok, because sometimes I stop on the slope to take pictures of the sky or the white trees, or boarders with fluorescent mohawks. Sometimes when I am on the ski lift, and I remember that I am afraid of heights, I squint at the ground and pretend that my rossignols are actually touching that snow, and that i am only two feet off the ground. When we get hungry, we head into the ski lodge with red faces and snowflake-hair, and we pull squished peanut butter sandwiches out of our pockets and dip them in cocoa. When we get tired, we head down the mountain, back to the lake. And every time we pull down the driveway and see the view of the water/mountains/sky, I want to jump out of the car and run in slow motion through the snow, to a theme song, like: don’t stop believing or chariots of fire. I usually stay in the car though, because my kids like to stick their heads out of the sunroof like little snowflake-crusted periscopes as we crunch slowly down the driveway, and I try to hold onto them, so they don’t fall. But they always tell me that they don’t need help and its hard for me to let go, but eventually, I do. So instead of hanging onto their tiny shins and feet, I watch the woods for wandering moose, and pretend that I can hear their giant hearts, beating like drums through the trees.

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