The Valley floor is bitter cold with increasingly harsh winds and it's snowing in the high mountains. We are in a transition period between Fall and Winter, one without the benefits of snow to increase our list of activities. The darkness covers us like a blanket by five o'clock and it's often too cold to enjoy many things outside, so we cozy up and hunker down at home. It is only the middle of November and we are already experiencing some intense side effects of cabin fever.

I left work early and packed Rockie in the car. We had to get out, get away from the boredom and into the mountains, and so we drove. As the road twisted and turned next to the winding river, my heart grew lighter and lighter. We drove on and on, passing dreamy tiny cabins and leaf strewn empty camp sites, until we were far enough away that we could park and explore. Rockie and I have hearts alike, souls that long for rivers and trees and mountains and peace. We are both in our happy place there.

We walked beside the flowing river while the sharp wind pierced us. We studied deer scat (I hoped it was deer scat), we found an old abandoned outhouse, she dipped her paws in the cold water of the river and I took a hundred pictures of the thumbnail moon which was perched perfectly just above the jagged mountain top. The farther we wandered the better I felt, letting the peace and clarity wash me as though I were taking a soapy shower while caked in mud.

I never wanted to leave. But after a long while, when the sun began to bid us farewell behind the mountains and the clock ticking in my pocket began burning like coal, ever a reminder that I have obligations and real life to attend to, in the end the promise of a warm home and some hot dinner finally won me.

A mulberry scented candle is burning in the kitchen for what will likely be its last time, the red wax thin on the bottom of the glass jar now. A hot loaf of honey wheat bread is baking in the oven, filling my home with a thick smell of warm flour.

When the timer finally dings it is late, both of the boys are fast asleep in their beds and the house is dark and serene. I saw through the hot bread loaf with a tall serrated knife to create a thick slice, and I pull apart dense morsels of bread with my fingertips to savor in my mouth while I huddle in front of the cracked oven door which is emitting heat through me like a campfire.

I am reminded that there was once a day when I hated the quiet. In college I would fall asleep to the radio every single night. I don't know if it is my age or if it is a direct result of having small children, but I am at a point now where I crave the quiet. I long for the solitude, the time alone with myself where I can hear my own thoughts.

But then moments come along that give me a little more perspective, as is inevitable I suppose. Yesterday Jace sweet talked his way into a sleepover at Grandpa's house. Beck went to bed at 7:30 and instantly the house was quiet again. It has been so long since I haven't had an almost five year old around all evening on a Thursday night that I didn't know what to do with myself! I ended curled up on the couch with a blanket and a bucket of popcorn where Dan and I spent the remainder of the evening watching 20/20 and Jimmy Fallon reruns. Bedtime was easy without having to check off a list of brushing teeth and reading books and convincing him to stay in his bed instead of falling asleep in ours. Before turning out the lights, I tucked Rockie in at the foot of our bed instead of the foot of Jace's bed where she normally sleeps, and I said for the millionth time that night, I miss Jace...

So nights such as these remind me that sometimes, the quiet can actually be overrated.

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