Caressed By A Cloud
Sunday morning came early, before sun rise. Awakening before my early alarm, I showered, heated water for tea, and nibbled on toast. Daniel got up just a little before Derek, his nephew. Bleary eyed, the victims of a very late night pulled on their clothes and tumbled into our Expedition. Keys already in hand, I gave Daniel no opportunity to drive.
Wind helped close my door. That I teetered, near my first entry for a Weekly Writing Challenge: Snapshots.was far from my mind. Instead, guilt tempered my irritation at them. I liked Derek’s quiet ways. And, someone needed to take Derek back. That I was driving surprised me.
The sun tried to come up as wind tangled my hair and tore at my coat. Daniel grumbled from an unaccustomed passenger seat. Derek poured himself in, behind us, and sprawled out. After an obligatory coffee stop, we headed down CY, away from the sun, into the wind.
Dazzling lances of sun ripped away the gloom. Deep shadows, clung to the low places, begrudging ownership of each nook and cranny. My eyes watered. Grumbling, Daniel pulled his hat further down.
The men scoffed at their hangovers. By now, I knew their hunting stories well enough to tell them. The Alabama – Auburn football game replayed itself, again. I hoped to return by lunch. Daniel wanted to watch the Broncos play Kansas City. Laundry awaited. The weekend celebration had wrecked our house.. Worse, the final, frenetic weeks of the year beckoned.
We turned south, once again shadowed by the Mountain, down the Medicine Bow Cutoff, into fifty miles of emptiness. Derek, never very awake, now slept.. Sun abruptly pierced the gloom, erasing all color. Only shades of gray remained. Daniel’s offer to drive tempted me. I could have given in. Still, his eyes were heavy. Accepting my silence, he soon fell asleep.
Even with sun glasses on, I squinted, blaming future wrinkles on him. Soon, the run rose higher. The road turned. I could see again. I could have turned on music. But, for a few minutes, Christmas could wait. I gave my mind free rein, content to replay dinners, conversations, laughter and tears. Wind buffeted our big, powerful Expedition. The SUV lived up to its reputation for ice and snow, master of the wind. The road was mine, aside from one car laboring into the wind, and the occasional car headed north.
Atop the rim, clouds advanced from the south smothering the weak winter sun. An enchantment, woven by an unseen Navajo craftsman, danced its magic. Streams of narrow clouds, ravenous wolves of the range, raced east, across the sky, devouring patches of blue. A dark finger reached out to touch the looming grey wall.
I expected the war lance to stab deeply into the billowing, yielding cliffs. Instead of quivering, buried deep in the vulnerable softness, the deadly spear passed beneath. My unseen craftsman beckoned me to reach up, to touch her mystical streamer. So low, all I need do was roll down my window to reach out and touch it.
A strong gust bucked the Expedition, drawing me back from participant to observer. My iPhone, safely in my purse, was far away. Instead, I savored that special moment, forever captured in my heart, unsullied and unspoiled by lighting or backdrops. The magical mists slowly faded as the miles passed away. Daniel snored softly on.