July 31, 2015

All it took was my cousin Instagramming a picture of the kitchen-sink-window view from our little Hatch house, and that road-trip itch had us wandering again. I showed the picture to Cody and said, “Oh man, I just want to be there.” And he said, “Let’s go this weekend.” And so, we went.

Going to Hatch is akin to going home. It makes me feel like this song. The drive there is a familiar entity, lovable and dependable like a grandparent or a friend. It seems to wrap me up like the crisp, sunrise mornings when I was three and my dad was wrapping me in my Sesame Street quilt to go to Grandma’s house while he worked and my mom went to school. Every pitstop is a destination in itself, and whether en route or in Hatch or Panguitch, I love all the traditions and places that have together woven so much of the fabric of my heart.

I have an unnatural love for the baby goats at the inexplicable gas station petting zoo in Scipio. The above picture captures my devastation when we passed through an hour too late to love them. Clearly we remedied that on the way home. Look at those little eyes. I NEED ONE.

I have so many memories of unfiltered sunshine streaming through open windows, and the smell of scones singing on the air, my mom in the kitchen. I wanted to share that with Cody. Sitting on the back porch in the sweet silence of morning and the shade of the tree that guards the back pasture, I felt once again that he understood what exactly I was sharing. That is a priceless feeling, my friends. Keep your eyes peeled for the kind of people who understand what your heart is saying when you’re sharing beyond words. 
My mom’s scones, in my great-grandma’s bowl, with my great-grandpa’s view.

And of course, we can’t go to Panguitch without a stop at Henrie’s for a burger. Last time I took Cody to Hatch, we really found out what “closed for the season” meant. NOTHING was open, including Henry’s. But let’s just say, good things come to those who wait.

My Uncle Dallin told Cody he’d “freeze his nuggets off” if he swam in Tropic Reservoir. Cody was determined. He later wrote in the Hatch Journal (our family version of a travel log that spans my whole lifetime) “Tropic Reservoir was no match for these nugs.”

I, on the other hand, only got in about thigh-deep. The temp, I could get used to. The fish trust issues, I could not.

No trip to Bryce is ever complete without home-cooking from The Pines, along with a slice of legendary pie. (Not pictured because it didn’t last long enough…)

We accidentally caught the Panguitch Balloon Festival. I love spontaneous road trip opportunities. My mama and I have been talking about going for years after seeing it in some flyer. I’ve never seen so many people in Panguitch! We spent the day before the reservoir wandering little stalls and food trucks. Our favorite part was “Glow on Main,” where 32 hot air balloons lined Main Street, grounded, and lit up the little town and twilight sky with a kaleidoscope of color.

The last day of our trip — Sunday morning, my mom called very early, and I knew something was wrong. She told me my Uncle Jeff had passed away very suddenly. And in that bleary, eyes half-open place, I felt like I got the news underwater, and like every breath I took, I was drowning. I didn’t have tears for the shock and sadness I felt right away. But as the reality started to settle in, I felt the house start to hold me. I don’t know how else to explain it. But in that place, where life had changed for me so many times, white walls, old wood, and storied linoleum seemed to gather a breath, square their aging shoulders, and pull me close.

I remember being in Hatch for first my Grandma’s funeral, and then my Great-grandpa’s. I remember lying in the dark with my mom the night before her mother’s funeral, the smell of wind and dirt in the curtains and her hand in mine. I remember sitting on the old back porch, pre-renovation, thirsty wood supporting my knobby knees while I sketched a running horse in the brightest colors Crayola could offer, because my Great-grandpa and greatest friend was no longer colorblind. 

And now, I have a new memory. Shocking and painful, but somehow rounded on the edges, there in the place where grief is bearable. Where heaven and earth seemed to just quite touch, and the veil seems thinner. Hatch is not only my home, but home to an accessible eternal perspective, where the lack of distraction allows for seeing truly. It was being there that gently reminded me that grief is not an enemy or a fright, but a familiar necessity that wraps its way around all of us in this mortality. It is a grating gift, to refine us into places of weathered beauty, like my beloved little Hatch house.  
And when the tears finally did set in, the house and my husband were still there, gathered around me with that stillness and understanding that is beyond words. 
I am eternally grateful for the places of nostalgia, especially in Southern Utah, who hold my heart not so much for their taste, appearance, or physical beauty, but for the angel attendees who color and complete every bit of it.

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1 comment

Emma Jane August 2, 2015 at 3:16 am

This Was so beautiful, Shelby. I love the connection and the beautiful generations of history you have in this place. Thank you for sharing that.


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