Back home in my cozy house after my tour of the Rockies. Ten below outside, so no dog walk this morning, and I’m planning on just hanging out in my sweats catching up on old NY Times, reading and puttering around.
Christmas was wonderful, thanks to my friends Hope and Matt — I cried all the way across Wyoming on my way down there, overcome by the reality of Patrick’s death, and by the fact that, for the moment at least, I had no home. I love doing Christmas, and when Patrick and I were roommates we had several festive wonderful Christmasses with friends. And this year, driving across the gorgeous desolation of Wyoming, I was finally swamped by that feeling I’ve been fighting off for weeks, the one I call “on Lear’s heath”. So it was in something of a rocky state that I found myself arriving at the top of Sweetwater Canyon, washing up on Hope and Matt’s door like the Christmas orphan. And god love them, they took me in, frazzled edges and all.
Of all the people I thought about going to for Christmas this year, Hope is the one who I knew would really get the surreal sorrow of my current situation, since she lost her two older sisters and her father in a plane wreck when she was thirteen. Sometimes I think the world is divided into two kinds of people, the ones who know disaster first-hand, and everyone else who has only a theoretical knowledge of the way things can come apart in an instant. So we had a great Christmas — we cooked a lot, roast beef one night, goose the next, then the leg of lamb we’d intended to have for Christmas eve but which didn’t arrive until Christmas Day. The other Matt, their neighbor ,who fishes salmon for a living, came up to join us and we all got festive wearing our paper hats from the Christmas crackers. We ate too much, drank too much, played with the kids and their toys, went for snowy walks with the dogs, took the boys sledding, and everyone took naps in the afternoon. It was a lovely lovely Christmas.
Then to Telluride for a few days, which was weird. The funky mountain town of my 20s is gone, and in it’s place there’s now a sort of Aspen, complete with packs of hip people running around milestoning every experience to see if they’re having enough fun, constantly looking over their shoulders to see if someone else is having more fun than they are. I skiied a little bit, and had a lovely New Year’s potluck with old friends from my 20s — and then fled with relief.
So, I did it. I got to the far side of the holidays and managed to have as nice a time as was possible under the circumstances. It was good to get away for a bit — the walls had been closing in on me here before I left. I was bouncing off the walls with sorrow and missing Patrick and dreading the holidays, and after ten days away I returned home filled with happiness and gratitude to be back in my little house in my little town full of people who love me.