City lights reflect off low clouds, silhouetting the canyon walls.
We buckle boots, attach our climbing skins
As we click into our bindings, clouds part, stars appear.
Climbing we fall into a rhythm;
Swish, swoosh, swish, swoosh
Alone with our thoughts in the halo of our headlamp,
Swish, swoosh, swish, swoosh.
At Elbow Fork we stop
Remove our skis, pack our skins,
Click back into our bindings,
Look up to the stars above.
Breathe deep in the silent night, push off
and glide for home.
In six weeks time we will leave this landscape of gridded streets and jagged mountains for the rolling hills and winding roads of Vermont.
We came here originally for Erin’s medical residency and to fullfill both our childhood dreams of moving west. We though we would stay for three years and then move to a small mountain town. God, it seems, had different plans for us. I landed a job that I truly enjoyed going to everyday and did not want to give up. So we bought a house, prepared for the arrival of Noah and began to get comfortable with the fact that Salt Lake City would be our home. We were never really completely comfortable, however, and each time we went back to see family or traveled to some small town we would ask ourselves, Could we live here? To this degree the Lord gently turned us in the right direction, by way of a slick flyer that arrived in the mail one day. As a Physician Erin is always getting flashy, yet slightly vague, postcards in the mail telling her about great opportunities in this or that part of the country. This one happened to be in New Hampshire and just like that we decided that moving back east would not be so bad. We told our parents, researched the area, talked to a recruiter, dreamed about what could be, and thankfully got no further than that. As a wise friend told us, any job that sends those flyers is not a job you want, because it is going to suck. We resigned ourselves to the fact that we were not moving any time soon.
This past June the medication that was keeping my father’s cancer at bay stopped working. No one was sure how much time he had left, so Noah and I flew home. In July the entire family flew back so that Dad could meet Luke. In October we flew back again and spent most of the time looking at houses and wondering if Erin could find a job at the local hospital and if she could live in such a rural area. The answer was no, but she could live in Burlington-the place we had met, the place we had moved from, the place just a few months ago we felt going back to would be like giving up. Things had changed now, though. I was desperate to have the boys be closer to their grandfather so that they could spend more time with him. Sometimes, no matter how much you fall down on your knees begging and pleading with the Lord, he still has different plans than you would like. Such was the case with my father. He passed away in January days before Erin found out she had gotten the job and we would be moving back home.
I should not be surprised that we are returning to the land of my birth. The mountains after all are carved into my wedding ring and inked into my forearm. No matter how many times I have left, I have always returned and no matter where I have lived, I have always called Vermont home. This will not be the small mountain town we dreamed of living in before we had kids,but sometimes when you become a parent the dreams you had before just don’t make sense anymore. Moving back gives the boys an opportunity to have grand adventures and find enchanted lands just outside the back door, just as we were able to do as kids. It means raising them in a small town where year after year not much seems to change and your neighbors watch your children grow and help you out in your time of need. This is the kind of place we want to raise Noah and Luke and by the grace of God we will be lucky enough to do so.