They say a big storm is coming. We say, let it snow. We stir with anticipation and spend the day preparing, too excited to come in even after dark. Tools, piles, stuff, junk – anything left out will be covered for the next six months. Four feet under, covered in a smooth, white all encompassing casket which encloses the mountain for miles and miles.
I am glad to have it gone, picked up, put away. It is clean, neat, tidy. There is a peace in that, in knowing everything is in its place. Safe for the season. You decide what will be needed, what you can do without. Some of it I will not want to see again even in the spring. But you better know where stuff is, and how to tuck it away.
Otherwise, it is buried alive.
Will this be it? The big one to tuck us away for the season, to close our road and open our concealed vast white expanse of winter wonderland?
I don’t think so. But fools we would be to be caught unprepared. Do we challenge the mountain or ride on her waves?
The ritual of tucking away for winter, as natural as the change of seasons and as old as time. It was never more apparent than the years we had to pull the bridge before high waters would wash the timbers down river. A ritual if any that claimed winters presence. There from the high waters of the Pacific Northwest’s November rains, an average of 68 inches rainfall in a matter of months. Mud slides would close the road. The bridge would block access to the cabin beyond. High waters, raging and fierce, so frightening I would not get near and hold back the dogs, did for me then what the snow does now. We would wait until the waters of the creek were touching the logs crossing the expanse. Every year, putting off the inevitable as long as we could, then be out there scrambling in the drenched ground and soaked timbers with slick footing, grasping with wet and frozen fingers at the sodden, slippery planks. Always just in time…
And here we await the ritual of the closing of the road, giving in to the inevitable heavy mountain snows. Leaving our trucks by the plowed section. Farewell to the easy access and a town trip, there and back, in one day. Suddenly it is easier to stay home. Where would you rather be?
A closed road, followed by a forced hibernation.
You may at first look at this as unnatural. But I believe it is not. It is, perhaps, as natural as the rain or snow… We humans may have the extra baggage to care for, from bridges to tools and piles of, ah, junk… but is it any different than the bear or squirrel or Stellar Jay who knows food will be scarce, travel nearly impossible, and does what it takes to prepare themselves, to tuck themselves away?
We are tucked away. We are safe. The fire is crackling and the world outside in the first light of the day shows me nothing but white. We await the snow and anticipate the inevitable change and allow the calm, quiet white world to become all that we see and do.