A retroactive post, as we sit in a comfy motel room, sheltered from a powerful summer thunderstorm, here in Casper, Wyoming....
We arrived at Lee and Mary's gorgeous home in Jackson, Wyoming on Thursday afternoon. We were amazed to learn that they had bought the land in 1969 and renovated it a number of times. It just seemed so perfect the way it is now. Their home is so clearly a labor of love, from the lovingly tended plants and trees outside to the perfectly decorated and scaled interior (fellow lovers of The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live, a book we followed in renovating our house last year). Just lovely.
Here are a few photos from the front yard out to the view (and Mr. Nick was--for the most part--a very good houseguest. Lee and Mary generously allowed us to put Nick in a basement room for a few times so we could enjoy the area and Nick could not boil in the sun. Nick's only offense was shedding--and we vacuumed--and eating a pile of Post-It notes, his personal favorite snack).
The best part about spending time with old friends is how time disappears. These friends attended our wedding in 1996 and we had been friends for a few years before that (including all the electrical help Lee gave us with our first house), but we really hadn't seen each other since 1997--11 years ago. Even though we have all grown and changed, we just caught up and then carried on from there. There really is no "goodbye" in life--just "see you later" to good friends. And here we are at Dornan's Tipis--a really special outdoor eating experience in the Grand Tetons:
Lee and Mary treated us to a tour de force visit. (Some of these photos are just from my iPhone, not the "good" camera. I'm sort of amazed....)
The Fourth of July parade and a stroll around historic Jackson (and please note that I finally was forced into being in a picture!)
The National Wildlife Museum:
Music in the Hole Fourth of July concert. (And, Josh, if you ever read this, we are SO sorry to have missed you in Jackson this year. We were really looking forward to catching up with you, too.)
Backroads and a lovely hike/picnic that included a stop at this gorgeous little Episcopal church (check this out, Reverend Ell!). Here's an exterior and interior shot. The interior shot of the altar strikes me as THE most appropriate altar I've ever seen--exalting the glory of the Creator with a window onto Creation. Very inspiring.
Does the Fourth of July make anyone else cry? I get all weepy listening to the Sousa music and the songs for all the branches of our military. I feel both proud of the amazing character of the people who serve us and sad for how our country has chosen not to take the high road--the road of our Constitutional ideals--so many times these past 7 years.
Why does it take visitors to make most people enjoy their own areas? We found this to be true in May when we had a friend from Chicago visit. We so enjoyed hiking in many places around Monterey County and wondered why we didn't do it more often. We heard the same refrain from our friends in Jackson. Why do we let "chores" and "work" restrict our enjoyment of the every day? Ponder that.
I used to love when my mother used to say "You can't get there from here." It was so rarely true in the Midwest, land of the grid roads, that we were amazed. Now, out here in the West--that saying is true more often than it isn't. Jackson Hole really is a hole--surrounded by enormous, gorgeous mountains at every turn. The only way out of the "Hole," or valley, is over a mountain pass. Makes a person appreciate the Midwest.
--The sign "Break Matches" in Montana that we noted earlier means, we think, that after one lights a match, one breaks it in half with one's fingers. That means the match is cool enough to be tossed on the ground--if your fingers can touch the hot part, then it won't set the woods on fire. Best theory we've heard.
--The signs all over OR, ID, MT, and WY that say "Control Noxious Weeds" refer to things like thistles, which all the grazing cattle can't eat. (We were wondering which weeds, why, and how--now we have at least an inkling. Thank you, Lee!)
That's it from Jackson. We could keep posting photos of the Tetons, but it's just ridiculous. I took a billion photos--the mountains are the most beautiful I've ever seen--but the photos don't capture the mountains.