Sunday, June 26, 2011


Take me home...

Tonight's melody:  "Coming Home" sung beautifully by Gwyneth Paltrow
(From the movie Country Strong - a new favorite tear jerker)

I've just returned from four wonderful days at a writers retreat in a cabin tucked away in the mountains above Sundance Ski Resort in Utah. Listed as a "luxurious" cabin, it sported 3 floors, several decks, walls of windows inviting the woods inside, several bedrooms, an unwelcome mouse, two black widows we affectionately named Jack & Jill prior to their demise, and an impressive paper wasp nest (praise the good Lord abandoned) poised above the patio doors. After I got lost and retraced my driving instructions, I found the driveway. Said a prayer. Listened to the spoiler on the front of my car loudly argue the fact I really was going to go "up", and finally "landed" in front of one of the garage doors. 

Unfortunately, the next day, a dear writer friend, Cindy A. Christiansen, arrived in her husband's truck and had to move it to make room for the truck of the highly anticipated exterminator, "Orion" (who will be a character in several newly plotted manuscripts and the subject of several blogs). Things went "amiss" and Cindy's truck ended precariously perched, daring anyone to touch it or it would roll down the "Matterhorn" (or aforementioned driveway). Luckily, thanks to our new hero/bug man and a sturdy chain, everything was righted. Our mouse was never seen again and Jack and Jill entered Arachnid Heaven, "leg-in-leg."


Despite a few other minor calamities (who has a coffeemaker and no carafe?), we got to know each other over several delectable meals and created several thousands of words on new or existing projects. We took evening walks to the stream nearby (Warning disclosure: I'm posting a picture of me without makeup and bad hair, but thanks anyway to my good friend Lisa Williams-Cox (writer Lisa Deon) who encourages new blog pictures), discussing tactics to use in case we ran across a mountain lion. We had no small children to offer for food, so it boiled down to making sure we just out ran our comrade and talented author, Doree Anderson.

Writing spot...Really Lisa? Possible Sasquatch look-a-like!

This morning when I left, a melancholy chord struck my heart. My ride down the winding canyon road to the highway remained behind a veil of water. I'm a mountain girl who lives in the desert, although I have quaking aspen and pine trees filling my yard instead of cactus.

I live in an amazing State. Born and raised in Northern Utah where all four seasons are presented in all their glory, and huge mountains with snow capped peaks all year rise from the valley floor, I spent many winters skiing the slopes and summers camping in the mountains. Several years ago my husband was transferred with his job to the lower corner of the state and my scenery changed from majestic granite mountains to breathtaking red cliffs. I'm only an hour away from skiing in the winter and a little over an hour from selling my soul and mortgaging my house in Vegas. I'm within minutes to only a few hours from Zions National Park, Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, and the Grand Canyon.

 Gunlock Reservoir natural spillway-- favorite Harley ride

I'm blessed. No other way to say it. My creative muses are stimulated depending on which window I look out of. Of course I live in amazing motorcycle riding country. My Harley or 4-wheelers are used year round. Driving home the long 5 hour drive, I dropped from close to 8,000 feet in elevation to 2,200 (my ears will not pop until tomorrow), watching the scenery around me constantly change (from what I could see beyond the road construction barriers, anyway.  Seriously. Our State symbol should be changed from the beehive to the big orange construction barrels and our State sign reads "Road Construction Ahead" instead of "Welcome to Utah.")

The point to my ramblings this evening? Even though I live in the southern end of the State, my heart still recognizes the northern part as "home." If I could create my own "Heaven" when I leave this wonderful world, it would be the majestic Rocky Mountains dropping to the aqua waters of the Pacific Ocean. I would sit on a sandy beach beneath a pine tree.

All the songs, poets, and all knowing wise men say "home is where the heart is." I believe that to be true. Sometimes where we live changes, but our heart always knows where it's comfortable. All we have to do is close our eyes (maybe click our ruby slippers a time or two) and we're there, smelling the scent of "home" and feeling its loving warmth fill our hearts. To those of you far away from your home for whatever reason, take a moment before falling asleep tonight and let your soul wander those familiar places so your heart can, if even for only a few moments, "go home." 

Here's me raising a fruity island concoction to you from beneath my pine tree. Did I mention my beach chair is also perched on a small mound of snow? See you on Wacky Wednesday. As always, thanks for stopping by.  Joelene - getting a tan while Harley Brooks is off on the dogsled.


Cindy A Christiansen said...

Thoroughly enjoyed your article. I was there but didn't know you named the spiders Jack and Jill. I wonder if that was a black widow I killed in the tub...and the sink..and... Oh, well. I had a great time. (Other than the truck thing.)

J. Coleman said...

Yes, you did leave us a "memory." Didn't know about the other crawly creatures! Good thing! Thanks. or said...

Your delightful piece reminds us that the creatures are simply incidences in an otherwise picturesque landscape that tapped my creative juices and shivers down my back. :-) I'll think back to the beautiful sound of Lesli at seven in the morning, the crazy Ivans and the word counts and getting to know you and the other great writers. Thanks Harley, wonderful blog.

Lesli Muir Lytle said...

I was there too and want to know what kind of beautiful sound I was capable of at seven in the morning!!!

Reading all these reports shows me what creative writers you women are. It was a very quiet Crazy Ivan Hour at a time.
The stuff in between them didn't matter.

And next time, we're going where the exterminator has already been.

Clover Autrey said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful and fun time. Can't wait for the posts on the exterminator.

J. Coleman said...

When he asked what we wrote, I told him we were doing a story on an exterminator who services 12 women in a remote cabin in the woods. Not really a lie, killing spiders and rodents is truly a service.

Calisa Rhose said...

Lmao Joelene! Great post with your lovely flavor- as usual. Black widows... that would have been enough to run me away from all the beautiful scenery! But I'm waiting to read more about the exterminator.

Kacey Mark said...

Great blog Joelene. I wish I could have been there!