somehow, perhaps by the power of grayskull, everything worked out and we found ourselves heading due east out of sacramento towards the snow-capped peaks of the sierra nevadas. andy’s niece, celia, had graciously agreed to host the three of us for a few days in beautiful tahoe city, ca. we arrived on lake tahoe’s shores just as dusk gave way to night. we stopped at a scenic overlook of emerald bay and marveled at the deep velvet color of its water. we had left sacramento just as spring had begun it’s headlong charge, and to find ourselves back in full-on winter was a physical shock. mazy was surprised and thrilled to feel snow beneath her feet. momentarily a puppy again, she ran circles and pounced in the darkling air, barking with glee.
despite completely contrary plans that would have taken them south towards sunlight and warmth, our dear friends pati and andy found themselves at lake tahoe as well. it had been almost a month since we parted ways in crescent city, ca and it was awesome to see them again.they are also living as nomads right now, and when we are together, there is a sense of ease and comfort that comes from this shared perspective. our paths have crossed at james gilliland’s ranch on the flanks of mount adams, in portland over the holidays, and again in north bend and crescent city. they are, without a doubt, part of my soul’s family. the lessons they have shared with me, through thought, word, deed, and example will stay with me forever. the knowledge that two of the people i love and respect most in the world are following a similar path does much to assuage the stress of our uncertain future.
the five of us encamped on the first floor of the apartment that celia shares with eddie (her boyfriend) and mike (a good friend of theirs). it was cozy and sweet; part slumber party, part old home week, part dorm lounge.
while we were in portland, tim’s brother davi told us about a magical place called royal gorge . purported to be north america’s largest cross-country ski resort, it occupies some 1000 acres of the sierra nevadas. after some initial problems with my ski bindings (which we dealt with in a most macgyver-like fashion), we bundled up and hit the trails.
the day was beautiful. tim had been out on his skis several times, but this was my first time out since march of 2009 and i was a little out of practice. still and all, we had a great time.
on the way back to tahoe city, we went through donner pass and as the sun settled behind the mountains, we caught a glimpse of donner lake. as we stood shivering in the frigid, lavender air, a train passed in the distance. tim informed me that we had passed this way just a few weeks earlier on the california zephyr! who knew?
the next day, tim got to ski squaw valley. it was the first time he had been downhill skiing in three years and when he came back down from the mountain, he was glowing. i didn’t go with him, but perhaps i’ll get my chance to try downhill sometime in the next couple of months.
while we were in tahoe city, celia was getting ready for a big interview with teach for america. as part of her presentation, she prepared an awesome song about the classification of animals.
thanks to celia’s biology song, i don’t think i’ll ever forget that insects have three small sets of legs! musical talent runs thick in the johnson gene pool. after celia finished practicing, andy brought out his fiddle and played us one of my favorite tunes, stuart’s waltz, written for andy’s nephew and celia’s brother on the day of his birth. once, andy played this song for us as we sat on a bluff overlooking the headwaters of the mississippi. as we listened, a pair of eagles reared up into the sky and rose until they were two tiny dots in the massive, blue sky.
in all the bustle of socializing, catching up, and skiing, we didn’t get around to checking out lake tahoe until the last day of our stay. we drove around the perimeter of the lake, stopping occasionally to take short hikes in the snow or snap pictures. it is a beautiful beautiful place.
the day we said our goodbyes to tahoe was the same day that eddie and celia were heading to san francisco for celia’s big interview. i’m sure they loved you, celia! how could they not?
i wish i had taken more pictures of our kind hosts, but i flailed. oh well, perhaps i’ll get the chance if and when we pass back through this beautiful country.
as we left, we stopped one more time at the emerald bay overlook; a sun saturated bookend to our dusky arrival.
we curved and wound our way through the snow covered wonderland of the sierra nevadas. the sun played hide and seek with low clouds and the occasional flurry, smudging the landscape with light.
we descended into the foothills, down past the snowline and into california’s goldrush country.
Posted by Wordmobi