There’s something magically awesome about a girls weekend. 2 days in a cabin at Lake Arrowhead. Eight girls, seven bottles of wine, twelve avocados, and 24 bananas. Not to mention at least two pounds of cheese. I’m positive there was chocolate, although I don’t recall amounts (and for the record, chocolate is a gender-neutral food.)
All of the avocados were eaten. I think we still had an extra bottle of wine. A good 18 bananas were returned to the car, untouched. The cheese – obliterated. The chocolate, I remember now. It came in several forms – Samoa girl scout cookies, hot chocolate, brownies, and chocolate chips. The samoas were gone within the first 45 minutes, which is why I can’t remember them. The hot chocolate was opened the second morning, so it lasted us through the final day. The brownies suffered what all high-altitude baking suffers. Being from sea level, it didn’t occur to us to make changes. Still, chocolate is chocolate: even granulated, crispy chocolate.
The chocolate chips were the most withstanding. They went into chocolate chip pancakes and were consumed by the handful. I remember eating chocolate chips with my banana, bite by bite. Taking a chip, pushing it point-first into the mellow center of the banana, and biting. Repeating the process until the chocolate ran out, leaving a quarter of a banana forgotten on the counter.
It’s funny how a girls weekend can start out sounding like a food blog. But I haven’t gotten to the meat of it yet (yes… pun intended. Apologies for the cheese.)
We drove up in the middle of a Friday afternoon. A few of the girls left early to beat the traffic, a wise choice. They made it from door to door in two hours. We were not so lucky. We left at 4pm, only to be stopped minutes later by the curtain of breaklights. Breaklights, as far as the eye could see. No accident, no police… just traffic. It took us over four hours to make the same drive they’d flown threw earlier in the day. The last traveling car left at 5pm and arrived just minutes after us. I hated the unfairness of it all, to be honest. Southern CA roads are a brutal equalizer.
But my road… angst (a step below rage), and aching muscles began to fade once we got to the cabin. The three of us in our car had been chatting amiably the entire drive (minus the outbursts of, “WHEN WILL THIS TRAFFIC GO AWAY??”) when we turned off the main road crawling up the mountain onto a skinny, windy string of a road. Suddenly, there was snow. Big drifts of snow packed with some gravel and dirt, as if the snow had taken up residence. One of the girls, the one just recently moved from Indiana, stopped short.
“Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t there no snow on the last road? Did we literally just turn a corner and find the snow?” She said, baffled. It was confusing for all of us, even those of us from California where “I’m going to the snow” is a perfectly sensible sentence.
Nevertheless, it was true. We had found the snow, and a cozy mountain cabin tucked into it, ours for the whole weekend. A potbellied stove mostly heated the house (although we also turned on the heater. And still, with both of those running, our bedroom downstairs stubbornly remained at near-freezing temperatures.) The cabin didn’t belong to any of us: it belonged to the father of the brother of one girl in our group (that’s right, draw the tree in your head.) The owner was an antique dealer. So that helped explain the giant, shiny rooster in the kitchen. It told why the gilded, enormous mirror which looked like it belonged in Versailles was actually propped against the wall in the living room. It hardly, however, explained the quantity of oddities. It was as if he enjoyed antiques so much that he would rather stash them than sell them. Without any order or display, antiques were stacked on the kitchen counter. On the bookcase. Pictures and paintings filled the walls: a man laughing, President Johnson, two little Japanese girls. I had to watch where I stepped for fear that I might kick a picture off a wall.
Above it all, in all his splendor, hung Duke. Duke, the buffalo (although someone referred to him as a “boar.” Someone who never learned their animals, apparently.) Duke’s buffalo bust oversaw the kitchen, dining area and living room simultaneously, he was that large and prominent. At first it’s shocking, but it’s amazing how quickly the human spirit adjusts to its surroundings.
And then there was the lake. The cabin boasted a fantastic view of the lake, especially at sunset. The light shone off the water, making the clouds glimmer like opals and the lake glisten like crystal.
We spent hours talking. Walking. Looking at the lake. Watching the snow melt. More talking. Making art. Journaling. Playing games. Eating. A lot of eating (if you’ve forgotten, scroll back to the first 3 paragraphs.)
There’s no good way to explain how it felt. The weekend felt like a dip in the pool on a hot summer day. A hug. A jog, leaving you invigorated and spent at the same time. I felt inspired. I felt uplifted. I felt… loved.
So if you have girlfriends, or if you are one of my girlfriends reading this, then know how incredible you are! Know what incredible women you have in your life, and how blessed and enriched you are by friends who show you Love. Friends who feel safe enough to share their struggles, fears, and insecurities along with their successes, hopes, and affirmations. Women who strive to be better: spiritually, physically, emotionally. Women who are not afraid of challenges nor success nor truth. You inspire me, and I love you. I am proud and honored to call you Friend.