My family has been coming to Pagosa Springs, Colorado for almost 35 years. I was 11 years old the first time we drove into town to look for resort property. Dad bought land to build a house here, thinking that he and Mom would retire in Colorado someday. Things didn’t work out that way, however. Mom is gone and my family is settled in Tulsa, so there is really no reason for him to move up here. Instead, every summer we make the drive to Pagosa Springs with the whole crew (there are seventeen of us now in the extended family) and for two weeks we enjoy not only the cool mountain air, but memories as well.
We went to Williams Lake today and walked over toward the dam to eat lunch. There were twelve of us – grandparents, kids, and grandkids. Four years ago we picked raspberries near the dam at the request of my mother, who was too weak to get out of the van. She waited while we picked handfuls of the sweet, wild fruit and then she proceeded to eat about half of them on the way back to the condo. It would be the last time she came with us, only we didn’t know it at the time. She died eight months later. We picked raspberries today and I ate one, acknowledging the irony that life is both unpredictable and predictable at the same time. Things will change with each year, but what will remain the same is our time here together. We come to make memories. The cool air is refreshing, the mountains are beautiful, the time away is relaxing, but all of that would have little meaning without the memories. Our family made a memory that day when we came to Williams Lake and picked raspberries for mother. It seems insignificant, but it was almost the last Colorado memory we made with her. We drove back to Tulsa two days later.
I’m learning to appreciate both what I can predict and what I cannot know. One gives me security, the other forces my faith to grow. I need both. I also need the cool mountain air because right now, it’s 106 in Tulsa. Escape from the Oklahoma heat does wonders for making good memories.