Friday, September 14, 2012


Is it possible to be completely in love and yet still not feel you have found the "One"?
I must be clear here, I'm not talking about my marriage.  I am, instead, referring to how I feel about where I am living and a guilty secret I am carrying around with me.
I have fallen head over heels for the Okanogan Highlands.  I've seen it through all its seasons now.  I have survived my first real winter, enjoyed every drop of Spring rain - knowing there would be months without it, breathed deeply the smoke from late summer wildfires and now I have the sense of full cycle that Autumn brings, that Winter is coming.  Again.
I have been befriended by many people who inspire me, strengthen me and add color and companionship to my life.   Who make me think, make me laugh, keep me going through the harder times.  My kids love their school and have been welcomed by the local children, my husband has once again established his Thursday night mountain biking adventures, something he enjoyed even when we lived back in Scotland.
The greater community is my type of people:  The kind who wave when they drive by - a simple gesture acknowledging another human being, the kind that are fiercely independent but at the same time look out for you and don't pass by you if they think you might need help.  Noone cares about what you wear, what you drive or even what you do for a living, they are interested in you as a person.  As I said, my kind of people.
I spend hours running on little-used trails in the mountains, learning about all the wildlife and plants here.  Eating berries as I pass by, meeting bears, moose, Bighorn sheep, coyotes, owls and eagles.  Sometimes I think: "Wow, it feels really remote out here."  And then I remember, yes, actually it IS really remote out here!
And occasionally, fleetingly, as I run I hear, and feel, a sound best described as a 'thrum', a drumbeat which I am convinced is the Earth's very resonance, her lifeblood.  I dip dampened fingers into the thin soil and suck off the dirt just to see what it tastes like, I run my hands through the grasses, leaves and tree bark in a silent greeting. This is the closest I have ever felt to just being part of the earth, part of nature, part of all of life rather than something separate, distant or superior.
And yet.....
And yet I am being pulled north.  At night I dream of Alaska, leaving here by foot, with the verges on the roadsides bursting into flames as I pass.  I read books about that country and listen eagerly to the stories my Alaskan friends have to share. I trace maps and follow weather forecasts from various towns up there trying to determine if this great place is the "One".  Everytime I see an Alaskan car license plate I am envious.
And for this I feel guilty, as if I am having a dangerous illicit relationship while a perfectly good partnership is being sidelined, one who has more than surpassed my expectations.
I throw it out there to the universe asking for help to figure out what I, and my family, are to do.  Should we plunge yet again into another adventure or are we - I - not quite grasping just what is being offered here.  All I get back is: "Enjoy the ride." 
So I will wait and try to be faithful.
Easier said than done.
I'm sure tonight I will dream of Alaska and the road will burn behind me as I walk north.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Well I've done it.

I've figured out how to upload photos to my blog.  I'm a genius.
The header picture was taken driving up to our house from Tonasket, looking west over the Cascades. It's a view we never get tired of.

And some more:

The sign that greets you when you come out of the national forest onto one of the local roads.      
Pretty accurate.

Last year's Harvest Moon with Mt Bonaparte from our back deck.

Duncan, the 'monster' I wrote about.  For those asking for an update - he now has a hen girlfriend who he brings to the back door for snacks.   I guess it's his version of taking her out for a meal.

I'm sure there will be plenty more photos of this beautiful place to add during the coming year.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


In my dream last night we were fabulously wealthy, my hair, make-up and clothes were perfect and I was in a swanky London hotel eating a top-notch meal with absolutely charming company. I thought about this today as I slid on sheet ice trying to feed the animals, looking like someone you'd throw money to in the street and wondered 'what if'...Then I faced the mountains, the cold wind hit me and I listened to the songbirds which are starting to return. I know what I really prefer, I know what is truly the good life.
That said, a nice solid surface, such as a sidewalk, to walk on would be nice. 
We have been under snow for five months and now, with a freeze/thaw thing going on, walking on the ice could be considered an extreme sport.  To feed the animals I cling onto the shed, then the trees, then the corral in a bid not to fall over.  It's taking double the time to get anything done outside, but I'm not getting frustrated, one of the many things I have learned this winter is that all things pass.  My cabin fever did, just when I thought I couldn't take it anymore.
I have really struggled with the true winter here - for many people it will be second nature, but to a child of the rainforest (Scotland, Western Washington) I have found it disorienting in its white constantness, fierce in its coldness and the boredom that came with it almost drove me me daft.  I learned that my family doesn't do well staying inside quietly.  I learned knitting gives me road rage (although I am improving with that a bit).  We like to do, we like to move, make things, be outside, have projects - yet we didn't know how 'to do' winter here.  I wanted to go home to the familiar - rain, greenery, mud.  Yes, I missed mud.
Then we discovered cross-country skiing.  I had no idea that strapping two long planks to my feet could completely change my attitude to being here.  It was like a whole new world opened up to us, even our young boys took to it (okay, we bribed them with treats, but hey, they can go for several miles now).  I have taken to examining the snow daily for skiing purposes.  Is it sticky?  Is it icy?  Oh no, it's thawing - it can't go yet!
And yet it is,  the  yearly wheel is turning and soon we will have mud, lots of it.  Last week we had heavy snow, then a major thaw.  Local roads washed out by the sheer amount of water and our feed shed and corral turned into a lake of poop soup where the the debris which had been covered, quite conveniently, by the white stuff started to show itself again.  Spring cleaning of the area will take on an entire new meaning.
And I am starting to write again.  I am very annoyed with myself for not doing so over that past few months for despite my ennui there has been much to talk about - "find the orange man' game during hunting season, my addiction to star gazing, cabin fever (I am now an expert in this field) and the thrill of making all my own herbal skincare and medicines, the list goes on.  But I feel re-energised now and want to keep a log of our times here.
I think I also stopped writing partly because I struggled with the Blogger format and may move to Wordpress- it's all terribly computery for me, but I will persevere.  I will get pictures up and make sure I write regularly.
Just like the buds on the plants, the voles that live in tunnels under the snow,  I am emerging from winter with a new lease on life.