Goodnight America, How Are You? Day 13, “Changes”

Today started with events carried over from yesterday — colds. My younger daughter has been coming down with a cold or something. Then my wife began to catch it. My older daughter has followed the trend. Only I, of hearty male stock, have avoided it so far.

Imagine our joy, then, at getting off the train for Glacier National Forest at 5:15am with probably 100 pounds of gear between us and 1.4 miles of walking to do to get to our campsite. We took a cab.

Taking the cab meant that we got to the camp an hour and a half before the office opened. We didn’t wait long before the owner let us in so we could collapse in a heap in the lodge. The lodge here has two good sized couches, three or four chairs and a huge TV which usually plays CNN. We barely noticed all of that except the sofas, where at least three of us slept for an hour and a half.

The owners have two huge mastiffs that roam the lodge/office unfettered. They look like small bears, but they are gentle and quiet and friendly, characteristics they share with their owners.

After collapsing in the lodge, we registered and went to our cabin, where we immediately collapsed again. My wife, who has the most daily stamina of anyone I have ever met — ever met— just stopped moving because she had used up all her energy. She slept solidly for two hours. I goofed around and slept in equal quantities while my youngest daughter — the really sick one — bounced around like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. The elder daughter read and slept, then read some more.

We had options today — at least in theory. We could a) go horseback riding and whitewater rafting or b) take a bus tour of the Park. Though the bouncy one wanted to ride horses, we did none of that. None of us had the energy, really.

After our naps (plural), my wife — who has done an incredible job keeping on top of things — figured out how to adjust tomorrow so that it will work, made dinner that was great, then guided us to the evening’s final entertainment: The Lego Movie.

The day turned out nearly nothing like we planned, but we’ve adjusted and did the best we could with it. In the end, it was just what we needed, if nothing like we wanted. You hate to “waste” a day — especially on vacation after traveling 3,000 miles to get here — but out here, as at home, life intervenes.

The vacation has been good for us as a family. Despite how many of us were sick, no one was nasty. No one was mean or moody or even snippy. Perhaps it’s the fact that we are in absolutely beautiful surroundings. Perhaps it’s the fact that we don’t have daily stress. Perhaps it’ s because we love each other.

Is it really a waste of a day if you notice that? Probably not. In the words of David Bowie, we will “turn and face the strange changes”. We’ll wake up tomorrow and all those things will still be true. Not a bad “waste” of a day at all.




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