Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Taggart Lake

Taggart lake 2010

Our small group shuffled through the new powder that settled on Taggart Lake and my mind swirled with visceral memories. Among the snow laden evergreens a memory emerged of trekking behind Jordan, trying to take advantage of his long steps while wondering if he would ever propose to me.  When we approached the vast expanse of the flat and frozen lake I remembered posing for a squinty-eyed picture with my new husband, the glacial canyon as our backdrop.  As we ascended the steep side of a foothill I thought of my lungs huffing and puffing, my snow pants secured by only a rubber band, making room for Jonah's growing, kicking, form inside of me.  Nostalgia accompanied each breath, and for a moment I resented that I was yet again in the Tetons, immersed in beauty, creating another memory.  It was not a memory I intended to have.

For the past 6 years Jordan and I have made our annual pilgrimage to Jackson with our friends.  It is almost a religious experience in that the journey is steeped in ritual.  We stop at the same gas stations, go with the same friends, play the same games, eat the same burgers, and we always snowshoe around Taggart Lake in the Tetons.  Like religion there is something comforting in the predictable and steady nature of our vacation.  We have only neglected our ritual once...last year. 

Taggart Lake 2012
Last year when February rolled around I was basking in the joys of motherhood, including trying to sleep train Jonah while being tethered to a breast pump.  My definition of adventure had taken a dramatic turn to include leaving the house unshowered to go to the park.  I couldn't fathom schlepping all of our equipment to an unknown cabin, and forcing a wakeful baby on our friends.  So we stayed home, and missed our usual excursion.  While at home, I quietly mourned the end of an era.  I wondered if we would ever make the journey with our friends again.  But my sorrow was met with contentment to be at home with sweet Jonah, and I worked on accepting that this fun-filled season of our lives was changing. 

I didn't expect to be at Taggart Lake again, retracing the labored steps of previous years, up the ravine, down the hill, and across the lake.  I felt in many ways like my former self, myself before motherhood, able to spend a day snowshoeing without worry or commitment.  I was free to careen down a fresh powdered slope without considering consequences, and yet I knew with each step I was not the same. 

I feel older.  As I type a fountain of coarse gray hair sprouts from the crown of my head.  My belly seems softer.  I know how to function on little or no sleep, and I long for a past that I cannot change.  I am a different person now.

As the resentment followed me around the lake, I wished for a different present, a present that involved my child.  I looked at Jordan and wondered if he felt the same.  I watched his mountain goat body step steadily through the snow.  I laughed as he cracked jokes and climbed boulders.  I saw him differently than I did two years ago.  I began to recognize that a change of perspective has joined our change of circumstance.

Indeed I am not the same person.  My love for Jordan is deeper, more confident, and more honest.  We have been tied together by our love for Jonah and through the trials of life.  The love I have for my friends feels less selfish, less self-serving.  I have a sense that time is fleeting and that the moment is all I am promised.  As I hiked I tried to push away resentment and to make the most of this new familiar memory, and the ritual of our journey.  I decided to carry Jonah around the lake with me, like I did before, as part of my body and soul, and as part of the new person I have become.

Change is the essence of life.  Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.
Author Unknown


  1. Such a unique experience you are having. I am glad your love is deeper. My love for you is so much more real too through all of this.

  2. Well said. Life's trials do have a way of stripping us of so much unnecessary pretense and baggage.

  3. @Mindy- well said.

    Julie- your posts are so beautifully written. You are an intelligent and inspiring individual and I wish I could know you personally as I am sure my life would be blessed for it. Even only reading your blog my life is blessed. Thanks for sharing.