8.18.2016

big sky country.


I fade in and out of sleep in the car, layered sweatshirts and flannels with my head against the window. I wake up to see the coastline; we roll down the windows and the melody of the crashing waves intertwine with Rod Stewart and my mom and dad talking directions. 


It's 9:30 PM and Jon makes fresh french press coffee on the stove. We stir spoonfuls of honey into our cups and share our adventures. There's nothing better than dear friends gathered around a kitchen table, is there?


We leave the house as the sun rises to spend the day at Bass Lake. It's not quite golden hour in the morning, more of this soft crystal light warming the edges of everything see, airily floating through the cedars like faeries and dancing over the water. To me, forget disneyland. This is magic.



We drive through the Sierra Nevada mountains on our way to the entrance of Yosemite Park. I'm sticking my head out the window, drunk on the mountain views, inhaling and exhaling the cool mountain air saturated with the smell of pine and cedars -- I swear it's a cathartic experience. We watch as the golden light washes everything in citrus color, drenching the landscape in glorious splendor.


I walk by the living room window and stop dead in my tracks because the sky is such a violent spill of colors it takes my breath away. I run onto the porch, but Mr. T tells me there's a better view up in the treehouse and walks with Jo and I there. we stand on the balcony among piles of aged barn wood and tools and watch the purple and orange slowly sink below the mountains. Mr. T agrees that these are the best sunsets. He promises to take us camping when we come back, and we accept immediately.


We pull the car over on the side of the road in Raymond because the sun is looming over the landscape closer than I've ever remembered seeing it, and it's too brilliant and fiery and the color of the veins of red in the coals of a campfire. There's complete silence except for the gentle wind. 



I convince myself to jump in the cerulean water at bass lake, feeling my body jolt awake in the shock of the cool water. A dragonfly lands on Em's hand, blue and speckled and curiously dancing on her finger. The hot California sun drenches our skin in warmth.



I can't believe it but suddenly I'm standing on a ledge overlooking Yosemite, staring at half dome, feeling simultaneously on top of the world and overwhelmed under the glory of our Creator. I've been waiting for this moment (for what seems like forever), yet here I am, staring into Yosemite Valley and jumping up and down and running around breathless/giddy/best-day-of-my-life-I'm-five-years-old-again. The feeling sticks in between my ribs and I know that I've never felt more at home. Something is sacred about a place that makes you feel your petty insignificance against a tiny crack of the glory of God. 


We pull over on one of the roadside vistas speckling Highway 1 and the salty ocean breeze hits us like a wave when we step out of the car. Arctic Pacific waters chase us up and down the beach while we dodge piles of seaweed and accidentally interrupt an outdoor biology class.

It's midnight but we're playing settlers of Catan and Super Munchkins and Nertz at the kitchen table. Laughing so hard you can't breathe, overdosing on chips and salsa and burrito bites -- that kind of night. Bagheera, their newest back porch resident kitten, jumps on the screen door occasionally. Jon and Em steal my phone, we all die laughing while watching a "History of Japan" (Em laughs notably hard). Jon scavenges in the fridge for food, we talk in Russian accents the whole night, and bounce a million different jokes off of each other.

We sit on the cliffs at Point Loma for hours, watching the tide rise and fall and come in and go out. We watch a few surfers chase waves, but mostly just talk and stare and enjoy the silence that nature has the gift of putting over humanity. I tune in and tune out of my uncle talking about his navy days as I twist the sand in between my feet. I don't remember where i set my sandals but I'm not quite sure why I worry so much or care about the nonsensical matters in life.

We're sitting around the campfire on mission beach with my family, eating smores and occasionally running to the edge of the pier to see the dolphins swimming in the bay. The sky is layered in rose cotton and periwinkle and slowly settling below the horizon.

we're in the airplane just cleared for departure, and as the engine gets loud and obnoxious and as we're all pushed into the backs of our seats as we go who knows how fast, I can't help but thinking I will miss these moments so fiercely. My takeoff song blares in my headphones, but only reminds me that I'm leaving. I'm not sure where to call home, since many dear and loved moments are scattered all over the globe by now. I remind myself that home isn't a place, it's dear friends and people and moments like these.

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