The Rockies are a forbidding place of boulders, wrinkled as elephant skin, but motionless. Something seemingly intractable resides here in this landscape.
Yet, the water of the Tarryall river is flowing, speckled by light. Snow has fallen on a dry land and I notice a rock outcropping that looks like a silly French muppet in a beret.
Reflections in Tarryall
My daughter plucks dry blossoms by the river to make a bouquet for our cabin, which was built by gold miners in the nineteen-thirties. I think of the hunger that drove them to seek gold along the Tarryall. I can only think they found pyrite plentiful and gold pretty scarce.
Derby Cabin and Sky (not the one we stayed in, but an 1880's one down the road)
Quartz crystals are evident as the snow melts. I fill my pockets, each stone destined for a project I may never even start.
The ranch is owned by Jim an Deb. The first day we buy some Starburst candies, my son's favorite candy, and other essentials. Deb watches my son trying to peel the paper from the sticky, rock-hard candies and offers to get us another pack. I say it's okay. I know he can do without the extra sugar.
The next day unbeknownst to me, my husband tries to return the inedible candies. Jim tells him that he eats them all the time and that there is nothing wrong with the candy. When my husband relates this, I get angry at what I believe to be a lie. I want to go back and ask Jim, if he eats his adamant candy all day, how many teeth has he still got left. I calm down.
In our wanderings, I come to love Jim, through his sense of art, through his handiwork. The cabins have been redone with love and art everywhere, handmade log beds and bones. As I walk the ranch, these bones and skulls are evident, perfectly placed. I have to stop my son from stealing one off a fence post, telling him that it was placed there on purpose and with love, love for all living things.
When I went to school in Vermont there was a guy I liked who made masks and put them in the trees. I loved this "a-ha" moment in nature, encountering something that is manmade and beautiful.
Yoke Painting by Ron, the former owner of the ranch, an artist and taxidermist, who is dead.
We pick things from the woods to make a mobile when we get home: sheets of ponderosa bark, blood-red pine cones, thin as daggers and pine branches. My daughter plucks last-year's mountain sage to make our art smell lovely.
The whole family has been without t.v., internet and fast food garbage for a few days. Ironically our video-game-addict son has had the easiest time, while the rest of the family felt twitchy for the blue screen. I have thought deeper in these silences than before. Boredom has given space for new things to take root.
Reflections through the Derby Log Cabin