(an excerpt from a longer piece that got too long…)
Here’s what my first impression looked like. Deep powder, back county, dark timber. A solitary woodsman with an armful of split wood, a little log cabin, smoke welcomingly wafting from the chimney. Snowshoes left by the simple stool on the front porch, while the wood is carried in, the fire stoked, and the smell of warm stew and drying mittens permeates the air.
Snowshoes. For me, they did then as they do now represent the real deal of living with snow in the back country. Pure and simple. Economical, practical, solid and safe.
OK, it is many years ago. There we are at Thanksgiving. The most beautiful Thanksgiving I believe I ever was a part of. The turkey and pies carefully lifted from the heavy old cook stove crackling in the kitchen corner, upon which a big tub of water was warming for washing the old antique dishes spread out for this bountiful feast, most with chips and nicks from years of use and secrets of stories from many a meal shared in this cozy little cabin. The old heavy wood hand hewed table was laden with home grown goodies, and the room washed in the soft golden glow from a half dozen kerosene lamps carefully tended and chimneys cleaned each day. No electric lights, no music, air so soft and voices kept as low as the lights but laughter still spilling over like wine, staining the tablecloth a jubilant, vibrant red.
The little rough cut wood cabin, casement windows trimmed with wisteria vines then barren of leaves and fragrant purple flowers, trellising up the side and softening the obstruction that the house was to the mountain further still. It somehow fit into the woods, discrete and modest, into the mountain, not stuck on its side or the mountain cut, carved and suited to fit the home.
I still choose to mix my cookie dough with a fork, mash my potatoes with an old hand masher, and wash my hair at night so it’s dry by morning rather than resort to an electric hair drier. In the morning, I fry our eggs on the old cast iron skillet and our coffee percolates in an old steel pot. I’ve survived over thirty years without a TV and I still don’t want a phone. A dishwasher here would be as seemingly as out of place as a microwave oven.
Downsizing, scaling down, simplify, creating the chosen simple life. The pure essence of life. Simple pleasures. An appreciation, commitment and passion for that which matters most. My family, both two and four leggeds. Nature. Wilds. Air and water.
A simple walk in the woods.
In winter, that means snowshoes. A quiet, solitary, snowy walk in the woods.