Saturday, February 9, 2008

Sunsets and Surprises

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For several days, we had planned a work-trip to Bear Valley for some errands. We needed to deliver a few boxes we simply had no place to stash (the storage unit is bulging and forget the garage), plus we had to buy The Husband’s tractor. It was looking like a pretty routine trip, except for the snow we knew we would find, and knowing that there’s a reason they call the hill between the house and the main gate “Domino Hill”. (Picture toppling dominoes, then substitute cars on a slippery road. Got it?). So, we scheduled the trip, canceled it due to closed highways (snow), and kept working. I was looking forward to seeing the house for the first time without someone else’s things in it. In a moment of giddy anticipation, I teased The Husband that when on the momentous occasion of finally entering our house—meaning it finally would no longer be just the house, but our house—he should carry me over the threshold. Sure enough, he narrowed his eyes and shot me one of those sideways looks that said, “Don’t hold your breath.” I went on with my endless sorting and packing and pondered whether I might see any of the critters we had heard about on our last trip. We had heard tales of raccoons, Betty, the Hawk (who perches on our roof scouting for taste treats in the meadow grass), mountain lions, brazen coyotes, king snakes, deer, and I-don’t-what-I-may-have-left-out roaming our little piece of heaven. The prospect of getting a picture of any of the above was delicious, so I stole time over the two days before the trip to format a couple of CF cards and charge batteries. Two days after the cancellation, we had a sunny day and took off. Ever the optimist—I stashed some camera gear in between boxes. I was hoping for a few minutes to do a little shooting before the light was lost and maybe a nice sunset, or even to spot a critter. There were a few surprises in store for our humdrum work trip.

After the long, but uneventful drive, we got past the desert and climbed to the snow. It was surprisingly deeper than the last time we were up there. Still, we zipped through the tiny town near our valley, and moments later we were at the entrance to Bear Valley. The moment we passed through the main gate, I began trying to remember how far it was to the infamous Domino Hill. But, before I had time to get anxious, we were there. The snowplow had done its job, and we continued to breeze along enjoying the winter scene around us.
Finally, Our House. Right there in our own Big Sky country. Then, as we made the turn off the road to our drive, we jolted to a stop. The small berm just off the road that had been left by the snowplow was a little high and six inches of snow covering our drive had not been cleared. Fortunately, it turned out to be a brief hesitation. The tires of the SUV (I had been thinking ahead when I picked that car) grabbed some traction, and over we went, then on to the back of the house where we planned to enter.

As we crunched through the snow toward our back door, The Husband suddenly stopped in his tracks, turned to me, and said, “Wait.” I stopped, not knowing what to expect as he approached me. Then, lo and behold, he swooped me up in his arms, and carried me inside! You should have heard the music swell! What can I say? The man is full of surprises—and many of them are deliciously pleasant. I wandered around for a few minutes in a daze, simply glowing. I was stunned by the princess-treatment, but mostly reeling from the realization that The Husband had actually heard something I said—and remembered it! As I regained my equilibrium, I watched the Prince, himself, begin to glow. Naturally, he wasn’t beaming with the satisfaction of having carried his princess over the threshold of his castle—thank goodness there are no stairs. Oh, no, nothing of the kind. He had easily forgotten about princely gestures. While I had basked in my princess-hood, The Husband had handed over the check to the previous owner of our house and was, as of that defining moment, the proud owner of a like-new New Holland TC29DA tractor—with a whole bundle of accessories. (Do they call those things accessories?)

It was a wonderful day—sunset and all. I think we are going back for Valentine’s Day.

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