In Salt Lake City, in a quiet, peaceful house tucked under the mountains, I began to unwind. Not unravel, but unfurl. The drive there was tense and tiring, but also jaw-droppingly beautiful. I was so intent on beating the weather that I made it there by lunchtime, far earlier than I had planned. When I found Kathleen's house, I let myself in and was greeted by Fifi, who laid her paw on my knee, eager for some food, and Wiley, who sized me up before demanding a hug. I mean this literally. I have never met a cat who hugs, but this guy winds his front legs around your neck, rubs his face along your jaw, and purrs. He needs to hug it out many times a day.
I don't know how anyone gets anything done in SLC. No matter where you are, there are massive mountains to look at. They are right there; there's no missing them as they tower over everything. They also contribute to inversions, so it was bright and beautiful for 2 or 3 days in between snow storms, but then grey and quiet for the rest of my stay.
I spent some days snuggled up on the couch, alternating between yoga, movies, tea, wine, and a handful of the clementines I purchased on Christmas Eve. I went out to explore downtown, puttered around in the 'burbs doing some shopping, visited the Capitol building, and wandered through Temple Square to see the lights. I celebrated Christmas, the New Year, and my 43rd birthday here, quietly and without fanfare. I walked some, but it felt good to simply sit a lot and stare off into the distance, Wiley clamped around my neck, keeping me warm.
SLC gave me necessary space and time for reflection. I thought about how this trip has gone, the things that have changed, the things that have stayed the same. I thought a lot about the what piled into the car and came with me, and that I now want to begin to disentangle myself from: habits, thoughts, and practices that just don't fit the way I'm living now or want to live in the future. A change of scenery doesn't mean you leave the icky parts behind, but it gives you a different context, so I'm taking advantage and examining each prickly little thing, then deciding where to go with it. I've left behind clothing, books, food, and art supplies as I travel, a little trail of things that don't fit. SLC gave me a place to leave some mental garbage.
On my last morning, Kathleen came home and took me to breakfast. In her I discovered a kindred spirit, someone I am happy to now call a friend. She gives the best hugs.