Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Monday, August 25, 2014

Clouds and Silver Linings

I contemplated not finishing the posts of our trip or just doing a "summing up" post, because I'm falling a bit behind.  Then I thought about how forgetful I am, and how I can't remember much more than a few glimpses of our trip 3 years ago, and how this blog is for my kids and our family history, and I concluded that I must torture you a wee bit more and finish out this travelogue (if you had anything better to do you'd be doing it anyway and not sitting here reading this blather, right?).

Near the cabin Guy's grandfather built is a spring where giant fish are supposed to gather.  It was a place Guy had always gone as a child on summer visits to the cabin and he has fond memories of feeding dozens of mammoth fish from the bridge.  We set out to recreate that memory for our kids, but it was pouring rain on our heads, the fish we hiding, and everyone was getting distinctly crabby.  Words spoken were taking on sharp edges and expressions were being tossed about that could put an eye out.  We noticed a little cabin behind the spring, and because it would get us out of the rain, we headed for it, dragging our grumpies along with us like a useless bag of rocks.

I think when I look back at this trip this day will stand out in my mind as the most inspiring time, and a moment that helped turn the day around.  First you need to know about this little cabin.  The cabin's builder was John Sacks, a little man of only 4 feet 11 inches, but in 3 years he built a beautiful, well appointed cabin.  It sits on the edge of a giant spring that bubbles 120 million of gallons of fresh water a day into a pristine pool just below.  He made a waterwheel that powered the water pump and electricity for the cabin, which is in itself impressive.  But the thing that impressed me most was that, with only hand tools and local materials, he lined the walls of the cabin with lovely, hand smoothed panels, and created inlaid furniture and beautiful frames, all simple but very handsome.  The little ceiling fixtures were fitted with decorative hand cut moldings and embellished with contrasting colors of wood in a Frank-Lloyd-Wright meets Charles-Ingalls sort of way.  The wood of the floor was set in intricate patterns, and tiny diamonds in star-burst designs turned small tabletops into works of art.  Every corner of the cabin was considered for its utility without neglect of aesthetics.  Both a wall and the picture frame hanging on that wall seemed to take on a relationship.  In fact, everything in the cabin, and even its placement over the spring, was designed to be enjoyed for the inherent beauty that was already there, either in the scenery all around or the materials themselves.

It made me want to approach my days differently; to invite the objects I use each day to fill more than the measure of their function, but to bring joy in their use.  To make more effort.  Period.

A close up of the craftsmanship.

Something else happened right around this same time.  As I mentioned we were getting a bit crabby, and everyone was soaked.  When we got back to the cars we were faced with a choice; go back to the cabin and spend the day dry but indoors, missing out on our plans to see Yellowstone National Park, or plug along in the rain, come what may.  Guy was open to a change of plans, for which I was proud of him.  He and I both can have a hard time switching gears mid-anything, so his openness was welcome.  But somehow, inspired I think, by that magical little cabin, and knowing that this was our last day in the area and our only chance this trip to see Yellowstone, we went for it, rain be darned! 

First, we stopped by the cabin to get outfitted better for the rain.  Apparently there are more effective forms of rain protection than the trash-bag rain-slickers I had fashioned for the kids.  We found several raincoats in a back closet in the cabin, one even being Guy’s grandfather’s.  We ate.  Food always helps.  Then we headed back out with a goal to make the best of the day.  This is another thing that Guy and I both struggle with.  Once things get crabby it sometimes takes us a good night's sleep to turn things around.  But we decided to exert a lot of self control over our attitudes,

 and, lo and behold...

it stopped raining.  Now, I am not saying that our sunnier dispositions changed the weather, or that a Divine Creator with a whole cosmos to run took the time to worry about our saturated situation with a discontinued deluge, but we spent the rest of the day dry and warm.  We enjoyed the mud pots, geysers, springs and steam vents.  We didn't even let that farty old egg smell of sulfur vents get us down, though I admit that souvenir shopping with Tessa caused my very soul to shrivel a little (oh, the agony of an 8 year old with too many choices!).  Old Faithful was true to his name, and at 5:36 we enjoyed a spectacular show as the geyser erupted.  We toured the rustic, old hotel, and it made us want to stay in it someday.  Dangit, we had fun, despite our earlier plans to have epic tantrums and ruin the day.

We dragged in, happy and tired, at 10pm, sleeping kids with lolling heads carried one by one into the cabin.
Happy and tired.
What a great combination.

(Just a few more days!  To be continued....)

No comments: