Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The blue light of winter

A former boyfriend, a poet, the one who got away (but it was for the best, though I did not know it for several years), once read a poem he wrote by candlelight in a tipi (I am not making this up). In it, he referenced that blue light that is endemic to winter. Once he said it, I realized this was true. Although winter is not my favorite season, it does come with some incredible light.

We skied in the growing dusk, our second of the season. The snow was a soft powder under my skis. It was perfect. I felt like I could go forever. Far out to the Zumwalt, I could see sun on the bleached hills, while we were encased in a world of thick, cold snow. Though summer is my first love, I can still fall for the spell that is winter in a northern town.
I went for a hike up the West Fork Wallowa River. The snow was deep, the river shrouded in ice.

I pushed past the only set of footprints on the trail to reach a popular summer junction. It will be a long six months before backpackers venture up here. Now we need a snowshoe brigade to pack it down for running. Or not. It's still good to slog, even though it takes twice as long.

The wolves are out and about. We spotted their tracks on a road that is the main artery between the south and north in summer. Now, snow drifts it shut.

Though Ruby was born in the desert, something in her ancestry tells her to love winter. She sleeps outside most nights. She is ecstatic over snow. 

Our backcountry skating rink

That night, a supermoon rose over the snow-covered mountains, so large that it seemed you could touch it. We made the right decision, coming back, I thought. Even though the job situation is precarious, even though we are working ourselves into debt to build our house.

There's something special about living in a mountain town, something that can't be replicated.  My favorite band wrote a song about it:

Hello, blue light of winter.

13 comments:

  1. Great post, and images. And thanks for the attitude adjustment re winter. Yes, it does seem like that is the right valley for you and J.

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    1. It's been a pretty easy winter so far. Really cold, but not a lot of ice. Hope that keeps up.

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  2. May you always be happy in your valley. It certainly seems to me, that it is the right place for you. J and Ruby. Please send some snow north to Banff, where I am visiying my son. The snow and forecast of, is rather poor. Just love your images.

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    1. I'm in Sun Valley where there is no snow! Weird. Hope you are enjoying your grandchild!

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    2. Well, no blizzard to keep folks away from a great book presentation this weekend!

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  3. You've been skiing! Hooray! Our mountains got a huge dump of snow....followed by several inches of rain that melted half of it. Still patiently waiting for more of the white stuff. But...I tried tele skiing right before Thanksgiving and re-broke my toe.... :( Hoping I can still downhill ski for Christmas.

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    1. What? No!! Not the toe!!! It wasn't healed yet?

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  4. You have snow! We have none and right now I'm struggling because there's been no moisture and so much wind, so the air quality isn't great. Today I was all bundled up to ride in 19F (0-4F windchill) and coughing on summer-like dust. Not the most wonderful time of the year.

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    1. It's been a weird winter so far. People in Texas are freaking out because, gasp, it snowed. Really warm in Alaska. We need a little more coverage over here before I can use my good skis.

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  5. Really enjoyed this post ... something so poetic about it! Winter in a small mountain town definitely puts a spell on me too.

    No snow in NM yet.

    I'm going to check out your favorite song now!!!

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    1. You're in the north too..sort of. Hope you get some snow soon!

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  6. I grew up in the north, and I miss it so much! It's definitely still in my blood.

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    1. There are days I am definitely over it. Like today's fog. Also I seem to be colder every year! Otherwise, it is good. I threaten to move to Hawaii but I never really would.

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