Recently I visited my sister, and brother and his wife in Estes Park, Colorado. There's something very nice about being with siblings when you aren't squabbling any more like you did when you were kids. With a shared history, you don't have to start at square one; many of the blanks are already filled in. In the days of our visit we filled in some of the remaining blanks with wonder as we recounted God's goodness in our lives.
In the evenings, we played games, Bananagrams and Rook, accompanied by side-splitting laughter. Mom and Dad, no longer with us, were often present in our thoughts and conversations.
We spent some time in the Rocky Mountain National Park, breathing in the beauty. Aspens, bare of leaves, stood shoulder to shoulder, their fingers reaching to the sky. Nearby, at the foot of the mountains, elk dotted the countryside, some grazing, some bedded down, others jostling for position. We hiked around ice-edged lakes and frozen waterfalls, bundled against the chill. Later, in town, my sister-in-law and I lined up behind a fence with other visitors, to watch elk quite close on the golf course. If I was a golfer, I'm sure I could have hit one with a 9 iron.
One afternoon, I drove to Fort Collins. The beginning of the road followed a stream, winding through the mountains, then it dropped into flat country, where amazing clouds feathered toward the ground. At every turn and stretch of the road, I was tempted to stop and take pictures, but I was on a schedule. I was going to meet a woman I'd worked with for 20 years and never met in person. It was a wonderful meeting, adding a new dimension to our friendship. Her voice was so familiar, her face not yet so. "Every time I hear your voice," she said, "I feel like I'm on the phone." We sat in bone numbing cold in the bleachers of a hockey rink with one of her sons as we watched another son score a goal and lead his team to victory, 3 to 2. It was hard to leave.
Home again. Don's welcoming arms wrap around me as Barley circles round, wagging his tail. The evening is mild; a crescent moon hangs low over the lake and tree frogs sing from the pond. It's good to be back.