Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Family that Plays Together ...

As families go I cannot say we are close. We are physically distant and yet, I do not feel we are emotionally distant, at least not from this corner of what I consider a triangle. Leslie is in Marin County in California, Rachel is on Cape Cod and I am in New York City. Ten years ago, to celebrate the Big 6-0, Rachel and I flew to California and the three of us headed for Yosemite -- but we settled for Kings Canyon because Yosemite was still snowed in [in early June]. That was the last time the two sisters were together. So getting together for a week to celebrate my big 7-0, and incidentally Leslie's birthday on May 11, and Rachel's on July 11, we met in Salt Lake City, drove up to Yellowstone, returned through the Grand Tetons, staying in Jackson,WY three days. We had free travel days on each end spent in Utah and Idaho.

What is not amazing to me, but may be to those afficinados of the dysfunctional family -- which is to say most writers of movies, novels, TV shows and plays, as well as the lore of most news media -- is that we spent a week in harmony. No fights, not even tiffs. Nothing gooey and sweetzy-po, we're not that kind. But we were all on the same wave lengths. We all awoke early, we all got excited by every wild animal siting [the bison grazing 20 feet from our cabin in Yellowstone, the badgers Leslie photographed so well, the moose we finally found, the picas in the parking lot - big and small, we were delighted to see them all. The geysers and bubbling hot pools of mud and minerals from the center of the earth with their yucky smells and wondrous colors, the grand mountains, the peaceful valleys and calm lakes.

Our lives are very different -- VERY, and I won't go into it -- but we share so many attitudes, such basic values. It's a pleasure that I think we all share. I have always had trouble believing in the amount of dysfunction I read about. Yes, I understand that conflict makes drama and that agreement is NOT drama. There is drama in our individual lives. Leslie is dealing with a physical problem right now and we all care but we're not blowing it up into drama. I am not sure where balance and good sense comes from but I think it marks all of us. And it allows us to enjoy a simple vacation like this. It allows us to sit in one of the dullest little towns in Idaho and laugh until we have tears in our eyes about the utter simplicity of the best restraunt in town. So much was simple and good and easy going ... I wish we could all afford to do such vacations annually.

The picture at the top is our last lunch in Grand Tetons, on the balcony of a restaurant with the most scenic mountains in the US in the backgrond. The picture below is a place we never heard of until I read brochures, Antelope Island State Park, an actual island in the Great Salt Lake just a little north of Salt Lake City -- a serene, beautiful place with antelope [natch], bison and many birds.

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