September 30, 2007

Change in plans

From our window

Friday morning, I arrived at my parents' house bright and early to drive them to the mountains. Their bags were packed and sitting under the picture window near the front door. My mother, who opened the door, was dressed to go, even wearing her fleece. But my father, just minutes before, had gotten suddenly sick, down with some kind of stomach virus that left him vomiting and nauseous, unable to travel. It had happened very fast, all in the few minutes that it takes for me to drive from my home to theirs.

We were all disappointed, but at least it was just a simple virus and not something more serious. My father is 76 years old, so his continued good health is not something any of us take for granted. Since I'd already paid for the rooms at the inn we were staying at, my mother and I began brainstorming for plan B. She didn't want to leave my father, so her coming was not an option. But she didn't want the rooms at the inn to go to waste. I called my husband to ask if he wanted a spontaneous trip to the mountains.

We made arrangements fast. My husband maneuvered things at work so that he could be done by 3 pm, which would get us to the inn before dark. My oldest two kids were out of town, Boy in Black at an Ultimate Frisbee tournament and my daughter visiting friends, but First Extra was willing to help out. He would pick With-a-Why up at school, take him to his piano lesson, pick up Shaggy Hair Boy, take him to his piano lesson, and the circle back again to take Shaggy Hair to his guitar lesson. Neighbor Woman said that the two boys could sleep at her house, home to Older Neighbor Boy and Philosophical Boy, and she invited Skater Boy to join them as well. After just a few phone calls, everything was in place, and by late afternoon, my husband and I were driving to the mountains for a romantic weekend that came as a bonus.

The weather was changeable as we drove through both rain and sun, but as soon as we hit the higher elevations, we could began seeing the fall colours in the trees along the road. For sheer beauty, it would be hard to beat the mountains in autumn. The winding mountain road led us past small lakes, stands of pine trees, and maple trees that burst with red and gold. By the time we pulled into the old mountain inn on Large Ungulate Lake, we were both hungry and ready for a leisurely dinner in the restaurant that overlooked the lake.

Of course, I'd packed for a weekend with my parents and not my husband, which mean that my overnight bag contained papers to grade rather than lingerie, a discovery which led to all kinds of jokes that I cannot repeat on this kind of blog. Our room looked out over the lake, lit only by moonlight. Most of the summer camps on the lake are dark and quiet in the fall, although light spilled across the porch from the inn's restaurant, which was filled with laughing, talking patrons.

Saturday, we woke to a blue and gold autumn day, cool enough for long pants and a fleece. We hiked around one of our favorite lakes and found a bridge where we could sit in the sun and talk. Always, it is wonderful to leave behind the everyday world of work, papers, computers, email, telephone calls, and tight schedules. We talked about childhood memories and landscapes we love, and about how difficult it is to let go as our children turn into young adults. We took off our socks and hiking boots to put our feet into the icy cold mountain lake.

By lunchtime, we'd visited a few of the places I usually go to with my parents: the resort on the lake, the public dock on Numbered Lake, some short hiking trails. A strong, cold wind was blowing across the lake, so we stopped in town to buy some homemade pie, and hiked into a bog, which I knew would be warm and sheltered. The boardwalk kept us high and dry, and soon we were both lying down in the sun, using our rolled-up sweatshirts as pillows and taking a peaceful nap in the sun. The busy, stressful world of fall semester seemed miles and miles away.

From the bridge

20 comments:

Songbird said...

Sounds nice.

Yankee T said...

It's fun to feel like you're sort of sneaking off to be romantic, isn't it? Glad you were able to make it work.

heidi said...

Sounds wonderful.

Well, for you and your husband, not your parents.

Cathy said...

I know it's supposed to be fall --- it finally got down to the 60s in the morning here. And today was a beautiful day with a high in the 80s.

I look forward to seeing our November, which looks like your September.

Ianqui said...

I can't believe the colors are starting already! But it's beautiful. Too bad I probably won't get to get out of the city to see much of it this year.

liz said...

How lovely!

jo(e) said...

Ianqui: Well, this scene is about 100 miles north of me, and at a much higher elevation. Where I am, we've got another week or two before we get the really deep reds and oranges and yellows.

I hope you do get a chance to get out of the city. I am heading up to the mountains again on Friday for a long weekend with a bunch of my friends.

Picky Mick said...

I read your blog, I wallow in your stunning photography, then I go kick my camera.

jayfish said...

a last minute surprise that ended well! :) hope your dad is doing okay.

halloweenlover said...

What? What do you mean it is hard to let go of children? You're my inspiration, Joe, don't start telling me that it gets harder. Just watching this baby grow up is hard enough for me.

joanna said...

I'm glad your father had a passing bug, and that you all were able to resort to a terrific plan B. Your photos are fantastic!

YourFireAnt said...

So, how'd you get the student papers to stay on .. ? ;-)


FA

KathyR said...

So, uh, what kind of blog would have those jokes?

-cough-

Any papers get graded?

Cracking up at fireant.

Gorgeous photos. Love that top one most especially.

Nadine said...

Gorgeous. As usual.

Amelie said...

You have an amazing circle of friends and a great eye for beautiful pictures, jo(e).

Mike said...

SO beautiful. I think the US seems to have the best in autumn colours.

purpleteardropsofhappilymarriedness said...

Beautiful photos joe, really, I envy you.

Cloudscome said...

Living vicariously over here in toddleville.

adjunct whore said...

god this is so beautiful, and despite your father's illness, what a gift to have an impromptu holiday with your husband. this is the best kind, pure, relaxing, no baggage. lovely.

angelfeet said...

How lovely to be so spontaneous! As usual, stunning photos - thank you for sharing them.