Not Words, Woods

Sunday, January 17, 2010
The blog’s been a bit full with talk of words and ramblings about the writing industry lately. Maybe that’s because the new year’s just upon us and I’m overflowing with all sorts of writing resolutions: novel rewrite done by March 31st! A query a week! A contest a month! Develop a website to tout my freelancing writing?!

I don’t mean for ambition and resolutions to undermine the quiet nature of the wilderness.

The temperatures have soared in the past week and last couple days have seen highs in the low 30s. It feels wonderful not to pull on my boots and jacket and mittens and hat when I run out to fill up the bird feeders. These days I’ve been running around outside in a sweatshirt and slippers. The snow banks have the swollen look that only comes in moments of unseasonable warmth or when they’re getting ready to melt for good. It even smells a bit like spring. And that’s not a good thing.

While the lodge Andy works at continues to do handsome business, every other local business is struggling to make ends meet, much less turn a profit. The lack of snow here and the abundance of snow everywhere else in the state provides tourists with little incentive to spend their free time in these particular woods, although things have picked up with this holiday weekend.

I talked to snowmobiler at work yesterday.

“Yeah, we didn’t come up because we heard the trails were really shitty,” he said. “But we decided to give them a try this weekend.”

“Oh,” I said. “How are the trails?”

“Pretty shitty,” he said.

There you have it.

The area ski trails remain in decent condition from what I can glean and all in all, really is quite lovely up here. The days are longer, icicles hang and drip from the eaves and the warmer temperatures bring birds flocking to the bird feeder. On the other hand, I understand why business is slow and that means we need to live rather frugally, especially with two trips on the horizon in April. Luckily I just finished writing an article on heart health and am now convinced that we are all going to die of heart disease unless we reduce our diets to nothing but apples and oatmeal, so eating more economically shouldn’t prove difficult. Everything seems to rest in the hands of the snow gods right now.

Despite lackluster tourism, Andy and I remain busy, busy. Andy’s finishing up a training class called Firefighter 1 and there’s some hope that when the course concludes at the end of the month it will be a little easier to keep the dishes washed, the larder stocked, and the banking done. In reality, he goes straight from Firefighter 1 to a wildland fire course while my somewhat catawampus work schedule is sure to continue.

Lesson number one gleaned from a winter in the woods? It’s only relaxing and low-key if you let it be.

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