photos and article by Karen Giebel
Winter, when the earth slumbers deep beneath her white mantle seeking sustenance to replenish her very soul. Nourishment to reawaken her heart for the coming Spring when the trees shake off their snowy caps and let their tiny buds unfurl to become Summer’s canopy. Winter is silence too. Silence to let the earth rest peacefully and restore her strength for the coming season of growth.
Winter up here in the back of the beyond is, in a word, harsh. In two words, long and harsh and not for everyone. But there is a reason we hardy souls choose to live here. We too, seek quietude and a chance to re-fill the Well of our being. The hustle and hurried pace of Summer can be both exhilarating and draining. Picnics, parties, visiting, traveling, entertaining, boating and swimming, are all good but by summer’s end, we’re looking for some peaceful alone time. Fall brings the Harvest and we’re busy putting up the bounty from our garden and turning Apples, Pears, and Plums into pies, jams, and preserves. Then it’s the hunt when both men and women Camo up and hope for Deer or Elk to fill their freezers for hot meals on cold days. Success means days of sausage making and mouths water as Bratwurst, Italian sausage, Breakfast sausage and more are made by good friends sharing camaraderie and a tall tale or two. Extra hands make cutting and stacking firewood a manageable chore. And a necessary one too. Many folks up here use wood as their only source of heat. And those who don’t still have a wood stove not just for ambiance but if the power goes out, neither they nor their plumbing will freeze.
And then slowly, as days grow shorter and the air no longer holds warmth, we start the retreat into our homes, earlier and earlier, week by week. Windows are closed. Blankets added to beds. Lamps are lit and books are carefully placed by our favorite chair. One day as we glance out the window, we see the first snowflakes fall, and we smile. It’s winter in Ferry County.
We’re not reclusive. Oh no, not at all! We venture out on a regular basis to enjoy what winter has brought. From our back door, we can hike, snowshoe, x-country ski and even ice skate on the lake. When those of us who are year-round residents pass each other silently on a wooded trail, we nod and give each other a knowing look. We chose this life. We embrace the quiet time. We’re not summer visitors here for vacations in these glorious mountains, though we welcome them with open arms. No. This is the life we chose. All four seasons and Winter is just as special as all the others.
Welcome to our world. Sparky and I invite you to winter up here in the back of the beyond!
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