I’ve always been a road trip enthusiast. Any time of the day or night, I’d happily hop in the car and go anywhere there is to go. There is definitely something freeing about stepping out of regular daily life and into a new environment with different people, different food and art. Whether the place is entirely new to me or comfortable and familiar, I just love to get away. Over the last couple of years, I’ve started to realize that one of the best things about leaving town is coming home. No matter how frustrated I get with house projects or trying to get things in order, taking a little break from it all is re-energizing and much needed.
To celebrate Christmas, our last Christmas before we are “grown ups” and parents to our new little girl, we drove up from the beach to the mountains to share the holiday with family. My husband’s grandmother’s house has always been my favorite recharge place. She lives in a very very old log cabin tucked between the mountains into a valley surrounded by apple orchards, bamboo and a creek. She spends her time working as a folk artist, attending church and community based events, rescuing and loving animals and just living up there on the mountain…which believe me, is a full time job in itself. She still does things the old fashioned way in every way possible.
During this particular trip, I kept thinking to myself that there are pieces of that place that I want to recreate for our little family here in our little home. Maybe this is part of what is re-energizing about travel and coming home. I’m inspired by her ability to take cast off things in nature and turn them into real art that takes on it’s own spirit. Her ability to make something as simple as a pan of warm rolls that we all dream about all year and will drop everything to enjoy, awes me. Ammie’s wild heart, eye for beauty and resourcefulness serves as a model for me more than anything or anyone I’ve seen on television or in a magazine.
Ammie on the mountain, as we like to call her, is our family tradition. To me, she is the heart of it all. Just knowing that “the homestead” is there and available to us all anytime we need it and her, is the ultimate in riches and luxury. Come Christmas morning, we were all just so happy to be there together that we didn’t even look in the direction of the gifts under the tree. It was only after a long walk, a freezing frolic in the creek, a drive up the mountain, a short nap, a game of croquet, 10 cooks in the kitchen, a most satisfying dinner and a hot cup of coffee that someone said “Maybe we should open those presents!”. While there was certainly no excess in gifts, the act of opening them, took hours. We all sat warming around the fire, by the glow of her rustic tree covered in her own handmade bird ornaments, laughing, enjoying the music and simply sharing our love for each other. It reminded me how loved and loving we all are and how fortunate we are to be able to connect in such a way. I know that we all went back into our lives and into our own homes feeling like part of something bigger, rooted to the family history and thrilled by the opportunity to continue to add to that history. In this coming new year, Madelyn will start a brand new generation and with it I’m sure, new traditions while carrying on the best of the old ones.