Monday, August 30, 2010

Knowing a Place

One thing that I have done, in regards to my "other home", is to try to foster a love for that place in my girls. Well, and husband.

True story- the first time I took David to the Black Hills with me, we stepped out of the car, and I said "Mmmmmm. Doesn't that smell heavenly?", and he said ".... I don't smell anything." He didn't know it at the time, but I've never been so close to dumping his ass as I was in that moment.

Because? The air there smells heavenly.

He's come a long way since that time, and while I doubt he'll ever have the same emotional connection to that place as I do, he at least has acknowledged that it's special. He even regularly comments on how great the air smells.

(Smart ass.)

(Everyone assembling at the base of the mountain before the hike.)

I started visiting the Hills as a small child, before we moved there when I was 14. By 6th grade, when I spent my first week in the Black Hills for church camp, I was totally, hopelessly in love.

So while David might be a completely hopeless (and sarcastic) case, I think there's a chance that my daughters will come to love the Black Hills like I do. One of things we've done as a family is go on the same hike every summer.

(Water break! As the girls say, "We always stop at this rock for a water break." Yeah, this rock and about 5930 other places, too.)

Since Kate and Joan have been doing this hike so many summers in a row, the trail is very familiar to them. They point out spots we've stopped before, or recall how this or that happened last year at this spot, etc.

(Marin, feeling victory at reaching the summit.)

"No, Mom, we're going the wrong way! Remember last year we did that too? That tree is the top of the other side. We have to go this way."

They forge ahead, confident, leading the way, the way only someone familiar with a place can do.

(You really can see for miles and miles and miles.)

When we reach the top, they are quiet, taking it in, at least for the first few minutes. We eat a lunch or snack, and take some photos, and muse over how far we can see. It's our special place.

(This year, we ran into a group of teenage boys, so we got a photo of our whole group. Besides, our family, there's my brother Kiner, Seester, my dad, and his beastly dog Chuck.)

I realized this year that by having this tradition, I've given my daughters a small piece of the Black Hills. They have ownership over this place. And memories. History.

And really knowing a place is a good feeling.


Jess said...

I've never been to South Dakota, but I am constantly hearing how lovely it is, and your pictures only reinforce that idea. I can't imagine your girls could possibly grow up not loving it.

Marie Green said...

Actually, much of SD is quite boring. ;) But the Hills are magical to me. I would imagine living in Denver, that you also have a magical location to live... The Rockies are even more majestic than the Hills!

Katie said...

My husband and I randomly vacationed in South Dakota one year (we live in So Cal so that really is an odd place for us to travel to), when he was smitten with Deadwood, and we also fell in love with the Black Hills. We didn't have kids yet but we spent a lot of the time talking about how we MUST plan a family trip back to SD when we HAD kids, and they were old enough to appreciate the beauty. That vacation touched us. It was beautiful.

d e v a n said...

Great pictures! I really love marin's victory stance.

Kelsey said...

Sigh. I love those pictures.

One of my best family vacations ever was a trip to South Dakota. I think I was a sophomore in high school. Ha! I'm just remember that I may have "walked in" on my parents during that vacation. Once your kids are teenagers adjoining rooms are probably a mistake.

Erin said...


Beautiful pictures, as always. I have been to the Black Hills once and we went on some beautiful hikes. We were camping, so I got a good dose of that air you speak of.

Sofia said...

I wish I can go and have a vacation there, too. I've been hearing a lot of good places to go to in South Dakota. Cash advance, I hope I can get you soon enough. I want that well deserved vacation!

Anyway, thanks for sharing these pictures! South Dakota's really beautiful, isn't it? I guess we'll go for a hike when we get there, too. I'll start planning now. We'll start saving up as well, or maybe borrow from that South Dakota payday loans firm when we really need the money.