Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Last Morning

The morning air was cold but still. I made my way down the dark walk to the big pool looking forward to stepping from air in the mid teens into water over 100 degrees. Everything was covered with a thick layer of hoar frost. A mist rose from the pool and moved above the water as I slipped out of sandals and walked barefooted across the thin layer of ice to the stone steps.

I moved to the far side of the pool and waited for the sun to paint a glow on the eastern sky. The mist floated in varying directions and sometimes hid the halo around the waning moon but never quite succeeded in obscuring its light. As the sky turned blue the frost covered tree branches stood in radiant contrast against the cloudless sky.

The air seemed colder than it had on the previous morning. Sitting neck deep in the water I stretched, rolled my lips together and felt the frozen condensation on my beard crack. I relish this experience. It's like eating rich ice cream while drinking hot coffee.

Julie joined me and after a while we climbed out of the water being cautious to avoid touching the railing and freezing our hands to the metal that ascended the steps. Julie wore flip flops in the pool. On the previous morning we had laughed as her flip flops made a crackling noise followed by a sudden slapping sound. The flip flops froze to the ice on the deck, cracked loose and slapped the bottom of her feet. On this morning I led the way walking quickly to get off the ice and on the tops of my sandals before my wet feet froze to the icy deck. As I held her hand she suddenly lurched to a halt. One flip flop was frozen tight. After a couple seconds of laughter and on the third tug she pulled it loose and we wrapped cold robes around ourselves.

Good memories! Only one thing would have made the morning more perfect -- a brief snow shower while sitting in the pool. We made reservations for the same weekend next year.

Orvis postcard.
Postcard. (Larger version)

Fireplace and trees with frost.
A fireplace in front of frost covered trees south of Ridgway, Colorado. (Larger version)

The main street in Silverton.
Looking down a portion of the main street in Silverton, Colorado where we stopped for breakfast. (Larger version)

On the Navajo Reservation.
As we neared home, we stopped on the Navajo Reservation between Many Farms and Chinle to take a break and stretch. (Larger version)


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Sitting in a hot springs pool at Jasper was also a highlight for me although it was summer at the time. And that last photo reminds me so much of Monument Valley which was the highlight (for me at least) of our trip to Arizona.

1/20/2009 09:56:00 PM  
Blogger Tim Hodgens said...

Oh, such magic moments and memories

Might want to listen to some of Vangellis's music...fire and ice.

1/21/2009 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Buffalo said...

You tell a good tale, Paul.

1/21/2009 05:32:00 PM  

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