A quiet morning on Mom and Dad’s sofa, they gray haze of the morning still low in the mountains and everyone else still slumbering peacefully elsewhere in the house. Other than the muted clicking of my laptop keyboard, the perpetual, syncopated rhythm of the cuckoo clock brought by my aunt and uncle from Germany before i was born, and the occasional murmur of the refridgerator chilling the leftovers of the last two days’ feasting, the house is still silent. From outside, nature’s gentle chatter softly intrudes; a symphony of birds chirping and warbling, the patter of raindrops against the windows and the patio furniture, the mixed gurgle of both the overflowing rain gutters and the stream just beyond the yard and over the hill. In another 34 minutes, at precisely 7:07 AM, the Polson local will lumber north along its tracks in the distant valley below, marking its passing with three short blasts of the air horns as it approaches the only road crossing between here and the next sleepy little town.

It’s been a relaxing weekend thus far, the urgent schedules and demands of regular life slowly forgotten with each passing group laugh, family meal, or idle conversation. Although the rainy skies and mist-covered mountains aren’t what Danielle and I were hoping for – and our tank tops, flip-flops and sunscreen are proving mostly useless – our long weekend away from the city has still offered all the quality time, stress relief and family memories we drove 500 miles in search of.