Teton Daydream (Part Two), another motorcycle

After my upper crust experience at the Amangani Resort, I went to the not-to-be-missed Million Dollar Cowboy Bar in downtown Jackson. The bar stools are actual western saddles with stirrups, and knobby, bulbous, pine logs fill the room with warmth and charm. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. I swung a leg over a saddle and ordered a beer like Dale Rogers might have done with Roy at her side. There was an amazing band playing country music (Nathan Dean and the Damn Band) and I soon moved closer to inspect the dancing action.

This has been my strategy in the social dance department…I give guys about 30 minutes to ask me to dance, maybe less, depending on my mood. If by then I have not received any offers, I just go out on the dance floor and dance alone. This can be quite shocking to some traditional folks but time is short and I gotta dance! It really is all about the movement and the music for me. Once I start in alone eventually I will get someone brave enough to ask me to dance. This particular evening I think I danced for maybe one hour alone before I finally got a few partners.

Then all of a sudden a guy, a golden Adonis, buff, beautiful, and bronzed, that I hadn’t noticed came up to me with a rather cocky, self-assured attitude and held out his hand. I raised my eyebrows. Usually a man will ask me to dance somewhat apologetically, with a self-effacing “will-you-dance-with-me-though-I-know-I’m-not-good-enough-and-will-probably-step-on-your-feet” kind of attitude, almost waiting for a rejection. But this Adonis was a god of a different color and had every confidence that I would agree to his offer of an outstretched hand.

I was skeptical but not for long. He really could dance and I was thrilled to find someone who could match me in style, technique and freedom. He twirled me around the floor and I laughed with abandon at the joy of being in synch with another person so much that we would stop or slow with the music at the same exact time. It was rather magical.

He kept me busy dancing and we visited between sets. He was only drinking water too, another relief, I get turned off quickly by men guzzling alcohol to find confidence. I found out he had a motorcycle and if you read my post about Arkansas (Whiskey, Whittlin’ and Me) you will remember I was rather smitten with the wind-in-my-hair freedom of riding on a bike. I must have lit up like a candle when he mentioned the motorcycle, ‘cause he offered me a ride around the block and I gladly accepted. It was a great cool down after dancing for a few hours.

Back at the bar we danced some more and he asked what I was doing the next day. I was planning on heading back for another hike in the mountains when he mentioned that he had a canoe and a day off and would be happy to take me out on one of the lakes. Do these awesome opportunities happen to everyone? How in the heck I am so fortunate is beyond me.

Having the opportunity to canoe on a lake under the gaze of the Teton Mountains was amazing. I met him at his condo the next day to load the canoe and we were off. Forest was a grand tour guide, full of information about the area, willing to stop on a dime to let me snap photos of buffalo and willing to pick up a lone, tired, backpacking hitchhiker going in our direction. My Adonis was not only handsome, a ski instructor, a nurse, a massage therapist, a river guide, but he was full of kindness. It seemed like he had done everything and the joke became what he HADN’T done rather than what he had.

We put the canoe in at String Lake among a tribe of giggling science camp girls, joking with their guides as we paddled away from the shore. Not far out the weather took a turn and clouds loomed darkly. We ended up having to high-tail it to the opposite shore and pull the canoe out, creating a make-shift shelter and wait for the storm to pass over. I was totally comfortable and safe even though I had only met Forest about 12 hours ago. We talked and laughed and shared our life stories. It reminded me of the last time I got caught in the rain in Rocky Mountains National Park. The heavens seem to open up and pour and just as I reach the shelter of trees I am blessed by more intimate conversation than I would have had otherwise. And another perk of the rainfall was that it cleared everyone off of the lake! As we shoved the canoe back in we had the beauty, peace and wildlife to ourselves. It was absolutely gorgeous with those mountains towering above us. We saw an eagle, ducks, fish and floated along in gentle conversation at peace with the world. I didn’t want it to end, but it was getting toward dusk and Forest wanted to show me the view of Jenny Lake and take me to a great restaurant to watch the sunset.

We got the canoe strapped back on and drove to Jenny Lake, such an amazing sight, so beautiful and quiet. I needed a shower before I was going to go to dinner but by the time we got back to town, unloaded the canoe, showered and changed it was 10:30pm and most restaurants were closed. We ended up getting some great slices of pizza at the only joint open and then veered back to the cowboy bar for more dancing. The same band was there again and we danced to “Rock Me Mama Like a Wagon Wheel” and other awesome tunes until closing. We said good-bye under a glorious full moon still in sync with an intangible beat and touched by some sort of ethereal music.

Opening my heart to people is always a risky proposition when I am only in town for a few days. I am learning to navigate the waters and take risks and make mistakes. I learn so much even if it hurts and is sad to leave. Forest reminded me to dig into my spiritual side. He is a Christian and quite outgoing about it. It was good to be around that dynamic to release some of the judgments I have picked up over the years and reaffirm that my God is indeed big, HUGE actually and encompasses all religions and philosophies and there is just no boxing Him in.

I was supposed to take a few days in Jackson to take it easy and catch up on some much-needed sleep. But it didn’t happen that way, in fact I got less sleep than in previous towns closing down the bars at 2am. Just to clarify, it’s only the dancing that draws and keeps me there. I have MAYBE one drink, and then water, so I’m not turning into some lush, for those of you that care. But if the music’s fine, or the company’s finer, I’ll stay, and make the choice to dance. It reminds me of that sappy Lee Ann Womack song…

 I hope you never lose your sense of wonder

You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger

May you never take one single breath for granted

God forbid love ever leave you empty handed

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean

Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens

Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance 

I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance

Never settle for the path of least resistance

Livin’ might mean takin’ chances, but they’re worth takin’

Lovin’ might be a mistake, but it’s worth makin’

Don’t let some Hellbent heart leave you bitter

When you come close to sellin’ out, reconsider

Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance 

I hope you dance

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3 thoughts on “Teton Daydream (Part Two), another motorcycle

    • You are so right, Duane. Such a surprise when it EXCEEDS expectations! Look forward to catching up with your adventures when I return to Seattle! Admiration on both sides of this equation.

  1. I have always loved that song-my life long friend Peter Weber introduced me to all things James Taylor when we were at SHHS. The words however, are currently very applicable at the moment! Loved your late summer thunder showers throughout the Tetons-perfect props for taking in the scenery! Reminds me of some theatrical storms I experienced in Boulder, CO. Keep smilin’ XO Bethany

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