*In remembering my husband, I have been looking at the big picture- seeing who I was before we met allows me to understand the full impact he really did have in my life....*
In my old Ford Bronco, we headed up the freeway through the Wasatch Mountains. Destination, Strawberry Reservoir. The views are stunning. I glance over at Jade. She's sitting next to me on the bucket seat and is looking out the window. Behind her passes a stream of Quaking Aspen and Pine. The blue sky is etched by the towering mountains that have craggy stone faces of grey with peaks still covered in snow. Looking down at us; as they seem grow taller the closer we get. All surrounded by bright green fields of the season's new grass and sprinkled with bursts of white, red and purple wildflowers.
Jade looks at everything going by as though she does not want to miss a thing. She is only about two years old although she has been on enough of these trips with me to know what to expect. We will wind up the open highway onto a dirt trail that climbs even further into the mountains, until we see old remnants of tire marks veering off the dirt trail into an oblivion of trees. We will pull off there and that is where, I will set up our camp. Since we are only staying one night, we will make a comfy bed in the back of the Bronco. But first, once we have staked out our campsite, we drive back down a bit on the dirt road and turn to see a beautiful view of Strawberry. There we pull up to the reservoir and look around to see a few other cars there, usually other fishermen, getting their gear in order.
I will pull out my float tube. Then I will try to find a inconspicuous way to squeeze myself like a sausage into my waders. Get my boots and flippers on, I will try not to stumble as I get the float tube around my waste, grab my fly rod and walk backwards into the water. Once I am eased into the water, I will use the flippers on my feet to paddle out into the center of the reservoir, grab my fly-rod and make my first cast out into the water. That is when I take my first, good, deep breath, as all the stress eases from me. That is the moment I really look around at the trees and notice the birds in the sky. That is the moment I feel I am not just an observer of these things but part of it. That we are all connected and one. This is the time, my mind is allowed to wander freely.
All the while, Jade, will lay down on the shore. Her ears are still up and her posture is as though she is watching and waiting for me to return. She stays there, because she knows I need her and so she is faithful and waits. That night at the fire, we will share our grilled corn and fish together. We will stare at the fire, as though we are talking but in silence. I will feel very fulfilled in knowing that as a girl, I did this on my own. At the same time, I will look up at the stars and wonder if I will remain alone. I will wonder, for a moment if anyone was out there that was truly meant for me.
In the morning, it will be cold. We will drink ice-cold milk and eat powdered sugar donuts. By then, I will feel very grubby and be looking forward to a cup of hot coffee and a shower. The thought of heading back down the hill and to the subdivisions with identical houses, the gas stations every quarter of a mile, the shopping centers and traffic does not appeal to me. I wished I lived in a place that I could really breath and catch my thoughts as I packed up the Bronco. Driving back down the dirt road, I fully intend to turn left to head back to the freeway, but to the right is the reservoir. I will look at Jade and she will look at me, and we will turn towards the reservoir for one more moment on the water before heading back home.