*knock knock* Is this thing on? The annual post-Christmas timewarp trek up to my family in Flagstaff always makes it feel like forever since I've been back in my regular life. My brother and cousins and I crowded up to the table and played games and got fed and managed to forget for a couple of hours that we all got started on our personal white hair farms a long time ago. My son--aghast at learning that the piece of white wire he plucked from his own head last month was not an anomaly, but instead an unavoidable genetic legacy courtesy of a grandma we suspect started coloring at an early age--joined in and confused the hell out of me for a while because he's the age now that I usually feel I am at these confabs.
We sat around the fire drinking wassail and my father joined in the games he usually swore he hated playing and stayed up 'til midnight playing and laughing instead of stomping off to bed at nine grousing at us that we'd never get up in time for breakfast if we didn't go to bed too. He carried extra logs inside and put them on the fire and asked if I wanted more to drink, didn't hassle my brother inordinately, ruffled his grandson's hair and smiled, and it was warm in the house against the single-digit wind outside and I was seventeen again or maybe ten and the world was simple and right.
Yesterday morning I got up from the twin bed I slept in as a kid, straightened the dinosaur print blankets added to the mix when my younger brothers inherited the beds for their room, loaded up the car and pointed it home. A low sky hung to the south as the ponderosa pines thinned and the rocks asserted themselves above the snow and we dropped down below the rim to rolling rangeland, the raggedy gray cloud veil standing sentry over the passing through before we were spat back out into the desert where the calendar matters.