I returned to the east coast at the hideous hour of two o’clock in the morning yesterday, which was appropriate because I left for Idaho at the hideous hour of two in the morning on Christmas Eve. I arrived at the airport over three hours early, because the last time I flew out on Christmas Eve there was an ungodly line through security of hundreds upon hundreds of people, and from which I had to be rescued ten minutes before my flight was scheduled to leave.
Naturally, when I arrived at the airport this time it was dead and I had just over three hours to kill, long before any of the shops had opened. I played a lot of Fallout.
I prepped myself for the most comfortable plane ride I could manage, because it’s a little over six hours to fly to Seattle. Of course, Seattle isn’t in Idaho, but it’s not like we have major airports in Idaho. We don’t even have Wawa in Idaho. We’ve barely even mastered highways in Idaho.
So every time I head home I fly first to Seattle, and then backtrack a couple hundred miles to Spokane (Washington), and then drive an hour or so to actually get into Idaho, and home.
When I left New Jersey, it was 45 degrees and muddy, so seeing the first hints of snow was exciting.
This. This is what I was really going home for. Not to see family or anything. It was always snow.
And Idaho delivered. Going home to Idaho was going home to a good foot of snow, lightly whipped up into drifts. It made the roads terrible, of course, but it made everything look just delightfully pretty.
For most of my stay, it looked like I was running my photos through a black and white filter.
Christmas Eve evening has always been the time that the Ludvig family opens presents (presents from Santa arrive Christmas morning). Because my parents chose to live as far away from phones, lights, motorcars, and other luxuries, our extended family likes to stay in California where it’s warm and they’re unlikely to be eaten by mountain men, so Christmas is usually the parents, my sister, myself, and the neighbor couple without children.
Not pictured here: The dog, the maniacal
parrot velociraptor, chickens, cows, horse.
And it’s peaceful. Oh, so peaceful. It struck me again and again how quiet it all was. The people, who weren’t yelling at each other. The outdoors, which were silent and still and not interrupted by headlights and engines. The loudest thing in that house was the wind whistling so hard through my closed bedroom window that the curtains moved, but I digress.
My father ran out of regular wrapping paper. On left: Hint of dog’s tail.
I got a lot of neat things for Christmas, and I have pictures of none of them because they’re all on the way back to the east coast in a box, since they wouldn’t fit in my carry-on. Among other things, I received a book-shaped purse and a book-shaped backpack to go with my book-shaped wallet (I have a problem), a couple of actual books, and a really neat sundial for when I want to tell the time after the world ends.
I gave my father a nice copy of all three Lord of the Rings books, and my mother a cast iron skillet. I frequently give my mother things like spatulas and vacuum cleaner parts. She’s a very practical woman.
(My sister, being a college student working at a place where they try to sell wooden heart models, got money.)
And it was all very merry.