On our last full day, a small group of us hiked up to somebasalt formations for one final look at the landscape. "Thesedried-up lava flows are the result of an ancient eruption of amajor volcano," Chip told us as we gazed upward. "You're looking ata remnant of what I like to call 'deep time.' It's almost tooancient to comprehend."

In retrospect, "deep time" strikes me as an apt summation of theVista Clara Ranch experience. Time is the most valuable commoditythese days, and meaningful time is all the more so. It's not thatthere are fewer hours in the day; the problem is that so much ofour time is spent racing around breathlessly. What I loved aboutVista Clara was the way it programmed both my mother and me tosuccumb to a slower, more deliberate rhythm―a rhythm thatsuffused everything from the morning yoga classes to the leisurely(and beautifully presented) meals to the conversations we had firstthing in the morning and last thing before bed.

That evening, my mom and I sat on the porch of our room,watching the sky go from orange to rose as the sun sank below theSangre de Cristos. My mother said she felt as if we'd been gone fora long time, even though it had only been four days, and I had toagree. Though Vista Clara hadn't left us looking particularlybuffed, toned, or glamorous, it had given us a rare taste of whatit feels like to savor four days of quality time together. And Iknew that no matter how busy we would both be once we got home, wewould remember what it felt like to be in tune with ourselves andeach other, and the way the wide open sky put everything else inperspective.

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