I think over the winter, I'd forgotten just how much I love going for drives with my husband. When he got home today - he'd been gone for a week - we took off in his truck and drove up to look for turkeys and check out our family's favorite campground, to see if it will be ready for us in a couple of weeks. Happily, it's not still buried in snow, so as long as we're willing to brave the below-freezing nighttime temperatures, we'll be able to camp there.
The drive though - there's just something about it. It encompasses our entire happy little relationship. Driving in mostly quiet (until I think of something else I wanted to say) while we listen to music... and the kids laughing and squealing and occasionally fighting and bickering in the back seat. The dog drooling on our shoulders and breathing down our necks. (It's not as picturesque as it sounds, I promise.) But the smell of fresh mountain air, never affected by city smells like asphalt and pollution and too many people brings a peace I can't describe with words. Tree after tree after tree, sheer cliffs carved by centuries of wind erosion, extending to heights we can't even fathom. We slow when we spot a Bighorn Sheep grazing on the side of the road. We stop to chat with other hunters along the way, slow so that my husband can peer out the window at the ground looking for tracks. And I have the freedom to knit for a few hours uninterrupted as I gaze out the window, something that is really valuable these days.
We get out at the campground - our campground. The dog takes off immediately to explore the area and run to her heart's content. The children plop down and promptly begin digging in the soft clay dirt, their digging interspersed with short bits of racing around the meadow in circles. My husband lazily tosses a stick for the dog to fetch while I just take some deep breaths and enjoy the familiar beauty of my surroundings.
Sunday drives are at the heart of what our family is. We're the freedom to take off when we please, to explore all that nature has to offer us, to spend time comfortably in the truck together as we watch the trees and rocks and pastures pass by, chatting when we feel the need, and riding quietly and contentedly when we don't. It's family togetherness at it's finest, quality time that each of enjoys in our own way.
I'm so glad winter is over, that the dirt roads we love so much are accessible again, and that we'll have that freedom to roam. It's good for all of us.