Over the last (almost) 30 years of life, living with each seasonal shift that occurs through the year has become less scheduled and more second nature. It wasn’t always like this, and it would be naïve to assume that this rhythm will stay the same in the future. The ebbs and flows will be embraced as they come.
Equal parts lucky enough to have grown up in an area rich with outdoor recreation opportunities and lucky enough to have created a life that allows us to continue to live here, it is a way of living that is not to be taken for granted. Even the simple, mundane moments hold special value.
Early mornings exploring the fir ridges behind our property are an example of this. The spring melt has yet to even begin; as we trudged through the poplar stands, every few steps landed us in knee deep snow. This time of year, we are in limbo. Waiting for the ice to come off the lake for fishing, the ground is not ready to be worked for gardens, the foraging options are limited and there is even more waiting for spring bear season as most of the yogis are still tucked in their dens for a couple more weeks.
Even a successful shed hunting season eludes us. Wandering through the hills with high hopes, we seem to be thwarted in our early efforts. Antlers are a fine prize for an afternoon hike, but they are certainly not the whole point. Sitting on a rocky outcrop in the warm spring sunshine, it’s a pleasant spot to recount what we saw on the way up; the ruffed grouse sprinting through the understory, the squirrels chattering away from the gnarled limbs of the firs and the first hints of cottonwood buds appearing. We point out the pockets of forest that we want to check for morels, even though that is weeks away.
Passing a freeze-dried macaroni and cheese packet back and forth, sipping on fresh instant coffee water sucked from a backpack bladder, it’s hard to desire a heck of a lot more. There’s no hustle (that will come with the flurry of green appearing in the landscape once the snow disappears), just simply soaking up that little moment in time.
What a dream it is, to cultivate a life that one doesn’t need a vacation from.