Dusk in early winter is one of my favorite times to walk Tigger. The lights inside neighboring homes illuminate the beginning of dinner-making or scrabble-playing or game-watching. The flickering blue hue of television screens and sometimes the steam rising above a big pot on the stove transports me back to the countless ski weekends of years ago, another lifetime really, with my family in New Hampshire. I suppose it is the evening light that is responsible for dropping my feet on to a sidewalk in Waterville Valley where I am walking home with a new bottle of wine, pleasantly spent and enjoying the chilly beginning of night after a day spent skiing.
Memories of those evenings always make me smile, even though I am now aware that they were far from perfect times. They were yet moments that are a part of me, and while those evenings might be distant, my brain’s neuron’s still know how to find their way back to now long-faded laughter of friends sharing dinner, watching the fireworks on New Year’s Eve, or the sillies while sharing a bottle of wine that caused our partners to roll their eyes.
When I see steam rising above a large pot, I think of pasta, and I can feel the humidity in the kitchen as it boils in a condo on some mountain somewhere where spaghetti boils, the garlic bread heads to the oven and children, newly bathed in footsie pajamas, lounge around the fireplace, cheeks burning red and eyes getting heavy. I see all of this in my neighbors window at dusk; time traveling at it’s best.
I believe that what we have lost becomes something we subconsciously attempt to recreate, searching for the comfort of that familiar, and longing for certain memories, like the heat generated by pulling a soft fleece blanket across our shoulders in a drafty room.
Maybe recreate isn’t the right word, because the older we get, the more we appreciate that what was, cannot be again. But. We can find a place that makes us at home again, like our long-time-ago place once did.
I am often stricken as I walk at night here in my not-so-new-anymore hometown of Boulder, Colorado, how much this place strikes the same chord of comfort Waterville Valley once did. I am outside much of the time here, as I was there, and I am finding that some of my closest friends that are the ones I am now in the midst of knowing join hands with my dearest friends from those Waterville Valley summers and winters, and the outdoor excursions, giggly nights with too much wine and good friends, as well as the smell of the snow when it comes, put me in two places: the here and now, and the then.
Many years ago, when I thought I could not recover from the sadness and loss of my New Hampshire home, a loss that that weighed heavier on my soul than the end of my marriage, a man I dated around that time said, “It’s gotta hurt like hell to lose this now, Robin, but someday you will find your new place in the mountains.” He was right.
I like dusk best. Always have. My time traveling, being in two places at once which is a daily occurrence these days does not confuse me so much any longer. It makes me know that I am a very blessed woman indeed. I have found home twice.