Back in mountain territory

My mom’s sister’s family lives in Colorado, and until Saturday I’ll be here with them. My first memories of being with Hailey and Jillie are from when I was four and they were a few months old. They came to visit us in Minnesota, and we have lots of pictures of them crying – some where they aren’t, too.

Now they’re 17 and starting to take college visits.

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Hailey drives now, too. They both have jobs. They no longer carry around little pillows with pictures of stuffed animals on them called “babos” (BAH-BOH) – dirtied by love away from their original color of white. (That actually stopped quite a long time ago)
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Now their lives have a mountain backdrop.
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Last night, after a day of watching Big Hero 6, going to Trader Joe’s, and celebrating my Uncle JD’s birthday with flautas and cheesecake, we walked through their green space to a little waterfall.

“I’m not sure if you’d call it a waterfall.” Jillie clarified. “Maybe a cascade.”

I’m conditioned by being at school in Chicago to imagine that something named a “green space” is a flat, manicured area of grass and trees. That was more the reality of their home in Oklahoma. Their green space has a small path that meanders through tall grass, up and down hills, through trees, and past a stream. We stopped a little under a mile from their house at this stream to walk around on the rocks.

The water was cold, and the algae and mud were a little slippery, but we managed to stay upright as we figured out which spots were rocks and which were just floating blobs of algae. From five feet away from the stream, you could barely hear the water, but when you got in the middle of the stream, it was all you could hear.

We picked our way through the stream, walked across the log at the head of it, stood in the flow of the water and let our feet go numb, and shouted above the rushing water to each other. Then we walked back to the warm rocks where our shoes were and walked back home to play Wii Sports Resort.

I can still hear the water rushing in my ears.

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