Hunky (Future) Husband and I started out to the Black Hills on December 21. It was cold. I was bundled up. HH was not so much. We'd had a lot of snowfall in Iowa, and while it wasn't snowing at the time, it sure was blowing. That's something I'd never really experienced until I lived in Iowa- blowing snow. The wind, uninhibited by trees of any kind, blows snow over roads, over fields, over driveways. Blowing snow means a driveway previously shoveled into submission will be covered again after about four hours. Blowing snow means lowered visibility.
I really wasn't worried about driving the eight hours up to the Black Hills, though. Mostly because Zeke would be doing the driving. And, since he's been driving since he could talk, I felt quite confident that no snow could blow so strong as to delay our magical vacation.
On top of the snow, both Zeke and I had come down with a terrible cold the week before the trip. My mother insisted that it was a sign that we should both just stay home. But, just like with the snow, I remained undaunted. We would see the Black Hills. We would.
So off we went! The plan had been to leave early in the morning and make it up there while it was still daylight, but other things came up. With Zeke, something always comes up. The night before, he hadn't gotten any packing done for the trip because he'd had to help out on the farm (something about a broken fence and a runaway steer), and he overslept in the morning. I wasn't terribly upset about all this. I mean, within the span of two short days, I'd be in four different states. His being late to get started made for a little more time for me to breathe. And unpack so I could repack again. Whatever. It also meant that I didn't have to get up so early.
Anyway, Zeke got to my house at about nine thirty in the morning. I was almost ready to go, having two extra hours to pack and all. My dad (who works from home and so is around ALL THE TIME) was there to see us off, standing unproductively in the kitchen drinking his coffee. We stood around and talked about nothing in particular for a good ten minutes.
"Okay, we should go," I whined. I'm impatient like that.
"All right." Zeke is unfazed by my impatience. "Did you bring your snow pants?"
Ah. No. I had not packed the snow pants. I ran downstairs and fumbled through my mostly unpacked suitcase to find them. I ran back upstairs and shoved them into the bag.
"There. Okay, lets go." I wanted to get started with this vacation already! To the mountains! To the pine trees!
"You can go start the car. I have to go to the bathroom," Zeke responded. I rolled my eyes inwardly. Come ON, already!
I hugged my dad. "Make good decisions," he said. He always says that. Having four daughters will do that to a man, I guess.
I took the keys and headed out to the Tracker. Zeke drives a Geo Tracker. It's a little funny to see him get into it. I mean, a 6'5" man crouching into a sitting position and sliding in to a tiny little vehicle causes a few giggles. At least to me it does.
Anyways, I started the car and waited in the cold for Zeke. Just as my impatience was about to run over, he came out of the house. I like watching him walk. He's so confident and cute. I could watch him walk all day. I'm getting off topic here. And my computer screen is getting a little fogged up.
So away, off we went. And I was so happy to be headed out there, to be going to the place that makes my heart sing, where I feel close to God, where I saw deeply into Zeke's soul and realized that my soul is the same... I was so happy that no red flags went up in my mind when we had to stop after forty minutes because Zeke had to use the bathroom. AGAIN. Hmm. Fishy.
Zeke and I got into Rapid City just as dark was falling. We stopped in at a grocery store to get some grub before we headed up to Lead. Zeke and I walked around the store, stretching out our legs and looking around. We ended up getting hot dogs and buns, two strip steaks, two pork chops, some chips, grapefruit juice, a couple cans of green beans and a couple cans of corn. Classy. And finally, we headed to Lead and towards our little cabin.
|From the window in our cabin|
The beauty, the roughness coinciding in perfect sync with gentle, delicate wildlife-- it all gave me a little glimpse into what made Zeke tick, and I realized that I loved so much of what he loved.
He showed me so many things up in the Hills that summer- wild raspberries, glittering mica mines, beautiful streams. He wanted to share himself with me by showing me the places he loved. I knew then that Zeke was the man I wanted to be with forever.
This winter trip was my third trip to the Black Hills, and even though I couldn't see the hills and trees through the dark window, all of the memories of that first trip were there, living in the very soil.
My Hunky (Future) Husband came back inside with the steaks and corn and beans, which we cooked in the can (again, classy). We ate supper, and to be honest, I can't remember what we talked about. A lot of things, I would say. It had been a long day though, so after we finished washing the dishes, we decided to watch a movie and go to sleep. The terrible cold Zeke and I had both come down with that week meant Nighttime Theraflu. Which meant that I was fast asleep and snoring about fifteen minutes into the movie. I have no idea when Zeke went to bed, but when I woke up to cough and blow my nose (like I said, class-- class and romance. This stuff should be in a movie), he was sleeping in his room, too.
I slept pretty well, drug-induced, but well. Zeke didn't, apparently. I thought that it was the bad cold that kept him from sleeping, but I learned later that he was anxious and sleepless for a completely different reason.
Check back soon for Part Two!