Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Star Valley

My aunt used to own a cabin in the rustic and pastoral Star Valley, Wyoming. Every summer she would take her two kids, along with my sister and me, to stay there for a few days. As the trips became ritual I started to take them for granted, but I will never forget my final visit there. The ride to Star Valley takes 5 hours. It is one of my favorite drives: going from suburbs, to highways, to winding country roads, and finally jostling up the dusty pebbled stretch of land that leads to the cabin on a hill. I stepped out of the car with my sleepy legs, trying to take in the vaguely familiar landscape, and shake the daze of a long car ride; I felt like a wobbly, callow lamb.

We spent the afternoon unpacking and the night eating Cup-o-Noodles in front of the television until exhaustion got the best of us. My, cousin, sister, and I passed out, all sprawled across the couch like ragdolls. Looking back, I now ask myself; why was I about to waste a night in Star Valley? Why would anyone rot in front of a television with so much unexplored earth lying all around? In order to chasten me for my crimes against nature, the universe decided to wake me up at a ridiculously early hour. I still am without a precise explanation as to why I jolted awake when it was still dark outside, and why I slipped out onto the front porch while still dreadfully foggy-headed. I considered going inside when my feet froze on the crimson porch stones that were fiery hot just the day before, but in my sleepy stupor I meandered to the bench overlooking the valley.

Sitting there on the dew-dampened wood, I surveyed the valley. It was a different place at night, with oceans of shadow filling up the vast spaces where spritely fields of grass reside in the daylight. The pulsating sounds of crickets and frogs rang in my ears. Then all at once, the eerie hush of night turned into the cool calm of morning. The black and navy silhouettes of pine trees began to pale into green, and the sky jaundiced. It was that time just before the sun comes out: an instant of perfect stillness.

This was the reason I woke up: for the moment right before the light and just after the dark. There was nothing inside of me but a fervent conviction that day would come. Just as gently as night fell, day materialized. It is a miracle and a mystery that the inky, looming shapes of the dark become the daylight’s masterpiece. This phenomenal display of nature has stayed with me, as a reminder that the day will always win.

Oh Mrs. V, you make me do things I like to actually keep. Screw calculus.

1 comment:

  1. I love this! You're a very good writer and this makes me think of girls camp and any other stay away from home...Thanks! :)