Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Smell of Wood Smoke

This year, my husband and I were lucky enough to be asked by my parents to go with them on a vacation to Breckenridge, Colorado.

My mother is a family physician and as part of her continuing education, she periodically attends conferences around the country. This was often how we went on vacation as children. It was a wonderful opportunity for my parents, my older brother and I to travel all over the country. Often this was in Colorado because since I was three and my brother was six, we have been skiing. It was something that brought us very close as a family and was a sport we loved, especially my brother who skied and raced all through high school.

I sadly had to give it up when I attended college in Providence, Rhode Island and never got back into it. This year, my mother had another conference and I almost jumped out of my skin with excitement when the opportunity came back up for us all to go together. I was especially excited to ski again with my father, who I photographed below.

I was also thrilled to show my husband Jason a location that had been a big part of my life and to get him on skis for the first time in his life.

The skiing is not the only thing I wanted to see again in Colorado. So many of the things that are nostalgic in my life and that I hold dear in my memories are not the things I paid any money for and seem very small and insignificant. My favorite smell to this day is wood smoke, which I remember so vividly from the wood burning chimneys and outdoor firepits in Colorado. I also wanted to go back to the same candy shop we used to go to with my mother and fill up a paper bag with Jelly Belly jellybeans in Vail and then eat for the remainder of the trip.

It is amazing how many of my deepest memories come from our vacation days in Colorado. I also took the opportunity to shoot the many children on their first ski expeditions down the slopes of the Rockies. They have such joy and endurance for the heavy equipment and long walks to the chair lift. They smiled as big at the beginning of the day and at the end, with no complaints and great determination.

I also love to people watch in the different towns and catch them in their interesting ski ensembles and relaxing outside with their pets. They do not seem to change, even after 20 years of visiting.

I can't remember every detail about every trip, but I love feeling familiar emotions when I recognize a particular slope we have skied down before, the passing of a particular restaurant on the street or the sounds of boots walking over the same covered, wooden bridge over the same small creek.

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