Tag Archives: Mosquito Range

The Promise of Winter

Buffalo Peaks

Buffalo Peaks

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.

Misquito Range

Mosquito Range

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The View of Mt. Democrat from Windkist Ranch

Mt Dem

It won’t be long now until all of the Mosquito Range will be covered with snow and beautiful like this picture of Mt. Democrat.  This summer has gone by, far too quickly, with too many things left undo.

Anyone that has studied basic biology has probably learned about the four stages a butterfly goes through on its way to maturity. A butterfly starts out as an egg that hatches into a larva that we recognize as a caterpillar. The larva becomes a pupa or chrysalis and finally a beautiful butterfly emerges and flies away. Within this metamorphosis is a message for us in how we live and grow throughout our human lives.
We also begin our lives as a humble egg that grows into a child. Over the course of time children grow into adulthood but for many of us that is where the transformation ends. We understand the responsibilities and duties of being an adult, but many of us never enter the chrysalis stage. We all go through the motions without much introspection of our life, our contribution or our purpose to the greater good. We wrongly think that because we are grown up and have the ability to reproduce we are butterflies. It is impossible to become a butterfly without going through the chrysalis stage.
When I decided to change my life I didn’t  realize I was still in the larva or caterpillar stage. I had a wonderful education, a Masters degree; a job I liked; family all around me. At the time it seemed a perfect picture. I wanted to move and challenge myself to try something new, but I didn’t understand a new live would give way to a new me, my butterfly self. Americans have so many external forces setting benchmarks that determine when we have realized our fullest potential. These touchstones of self identification include the car we drive, the neighborhood we live in and the income we earn. In America there are three classes of people: the haves, the have-nots and the pretenders. The vast majority of Americans fall into the pretender’s category as we desperately try to buy our way clear of the have-nots. Debt is not prosperity.
What is needed in our lives is the honesty and clarity only revealed through the insight gained during the chrysalis stage. Henry David Thoreau underwent his chrysalis stage at Walden Pond where he discovered a truer meaning to life and the depth of purpose we are all called to if we have the ears to hear. Arguable Thoreau had less external distractions than any of us do today, so simplifying his life and refocusing his future may have been an easier undertaking, but the need for us to find our true butterfly self has never been greater. We cannot continue on our current paths as blind consumers, workaholics and material dreamers.
The time for introspection in now. The time for clarity is now. To change tomorrow, we must change ourselves today.