Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Back from Away

Makoa in the sink-tub
The whole fam-damily
Our kids stayed on the dance floor all night at Kassi Knudsen's wedding

Spent five days back in the Black Hills last week, enough time to get caught up on what my nephew's doing these days (becoming quite the little jock, shouting "yeeeaahh!!" during football commercials); enough time to be reminded how much colder the Midwest is than here, even when Oregon's in the midst of a snowstorm (people on the streets of Rapid City remark with delight, "oh, it's going to be 35 tomorrow"), and enough time to be reminded how we take our scores of excellent restaurants for granted, even in this shady section of Southeast (i remark, at the most tolerable Rapid City pub, how my salad is made of all iceberg lettuce. I get home and have a hash of winter vegetables, fresh eggs and goat cheese at the corner cafe'.).

But it's the reflection on the passage of time that strikes me most when i head back home. How my friends and i refresh ourselves on what we were doing five, ten years ago, the last time we met. How much you see who you once were through your old friends' eyes, and how much you really are that same person. Since then you've just gotten to tweak it a little, to deal with the present time.

How our friends left some question hanging out there those many years ago, and we needed to know how it came out. Kristine, remember the time we were extras in that movie, "Overnight Delivery"? Did you ever see it? I didn't...

Linz, remember when i brought my college friends to the Black Hills, and we slept at your grandparents' cabin (but we didn't have to sneak in there, for once), and then we took the four-wheelers out and you shouted how we should all take our shirts off as we sped through the forest? What ever happened to those four-wheelers?

Jaime and Chris, remember that?

When you return to the scene of so many years of dreaming, something profound is bound to happen. At least once in a while. You get to see whether you've arrived at those heights you thought you would. You get to hear the ghosts of the people you've failed, maybe even be present again at the very spot where they failed you. Maybe you laugh a little because the whole time you were making up those things you'd do, you really didn't believe they'd come true. Yet here you are, and they did.

These trips back home are some of the marking points in your life, where perhaps you even pick up some of the dreams you'd left behind when you flew away the first, second, third fourth fifth time...

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