The temperature is dropping and the Mosquito Range is dusted with snow. I love to watch the seasons develop. The sunrises are never pink in the summer or fall; but winter is looming very near.
Other people measure the seasons by the date; here the only thing that measures our life is the weather. When snow is on the ground, it is winter. When the rains fall every afternoon, it is summer. Fall and Spring are a gentle blur of summer into winter and winter into summer.
We basically have three season here: prepare for winter, endure winter and recover from winter. Mornings like this cause me to take a deep, ragged breath, because it is the warning of the harsh, bitter-cold conditions that are about to overtake us. We are helpless against the brutal hand of Old Man Winter.
There is a sense of sadness over the many things we had planned to accomplish before another winter engulfs us and humbles us. But, things are undone as usual. Things to regret and things to look forward to in the coming warmth of the sun, so many months away.
Even the animals sense the excitement and disappointment of the imminent “last call,” before the cold sinks into their bones and they somehow find the strength to endure the torture of agonizingly long nights and heartbreakingly short days. Their undercoats are growing as they gradually prepare physically and mentally. The dairy cows, mules and burros that have been content with the freedom of the pasture now find their way into the barns where they can find comfort and warmth. Their actions change as the position of the earth moves to prepare for the seasonal swap. They see the pink sunrises and understand the complexities far better than I do.
For us, the freezers are full of all the meat we will need for a year. The canning jars are stuffed and sealed with the fruits and vegetables we will enjoy until the next harvest. The firewood is dumped in piles waiting to be cut and stacked as we need it for cooking, hot water and the gnawing need for warmth.
So the time of preparing is almost over and he time for enduring is upon us.