Sunday, August 02, 2015

Montana Vacation

We just returned from a vacation to Montana.  We did things a little differently this time.  This trip wasn't so much about visiting people but rather about visiting places.  It was also an unstructured vacation.  We didn't plan too far ahead, sometimes only minutes!  I'm a planning kind of gal so I had to let loose of the reins a bit, but I really enjoyed it.

One of our stops was to Big Timber Waterfall in the Crazy Mountains.  When we last lived in Montana we went there from time to time for a little day trip.  I love that place!  The last time I remember being there was 22 years ago.  Our son, Sam, was only 2 weeks old and Ben and Maria were only 8 and 12 years old. This return visit was overdue!

Do you ever try to imagine yourself back to a favorite spot? Well, this is a place I go to in my mind sometimes.  That visit 22 years ago, for some reason, was special. Part of it was that we had a new baby and I remember feeling that our family felt just right, complete.  I just remember feeling a strong sense of peace and joy.

I took this photo of Mike at the waterfall on that visit 22 years ago.  He had just been sitting there relaxing and looking handsome.  One year I framed it as a gift for him.

Years after that, Maria did a painting for him, based off that photo.

And then, her painting became the cover for one of his CD's.

Of course, I wanted him to recreate that photo.  You wouldn't believe how many times I took his picture, making him move this way and that way, until I settled on this one.  It isn't perfect but close.  It makes me happy!

After that "photo shoot" we just hung out there. We saw a few people early on the trail but seemed to have the place to ourselves after that. It was so lovely! It was so perfect.

Early in our marriage we lived on a farm in Montana and had most of our hours spent together.  It was one of my favorite times for just that reason.  Now, with both of us working, it isn't that way.  Like most couples, we really have to be intentional about making time for each other.  I loved this day because it was just us, reliving memories and making new ones.  Such a day is a gift, nothing less.

We talked about our sons and our daughter and their childhoods. It went by so quickly.  It was fun reliving those memories, just a little bittersweet.  Still, it made me think about how precious a memory is! We can go back to those times whenever we wish, as long as we have our memories.

But then, as long as I have Mike it is as though I still have a child, right? Get off that log before you fall in, Mike!

This man... I know that I am so blessed to get to go through this life with him. I better stop with the mushy stuff, though, or I will embarrass him. 

Water! I just love being near water!

I have aged in the 22 years between visits to Big Timber Waterfall.  So many things have happened in our lives, mostly good things.  We could not have dreamed of how our lives would be, all the places we'd go, the new people added to our family during those years. It makes me wonder what new experiences are ahead for us.  Now matter what lies ahead, I'm certain I will look back at this visit to the waterfall as one of my favorite days.

This last photo was one of my favorites. Sunshine through the trees in the mountains always makes me feel closer to God somehow. It is almost as though his love and caring is coming down with those rays. Peace.

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