"In My Mountain Town, We’re Preparing for Dark Times" Article re Twisp

steelydan

Newb seeking wisdom
A version of this article appears in print on Oct. 17, 2020, Section A, Page 27 of the New York edition with the headline: In a Mountain Town, Preparing for Dark Times

In My Mountain Town, We’re Preparing for Dark Times​

As the contagion spreads, we look ahead to winter and wonder whom we can safely pull close.
By Christopher Solomon
Mr. Solomon is a contributing editor at Outside Magazine




17solomon-articleLarge-v2.jpg


The North Cascades in Washington, mid-October.Credit...Ian Allen for The New York Times

TWISP, Wash. — At dawn the deer are as thick as cattle in the valley bottom, feeding on what remains after summer’s final haying. Soon, hunting season’s first shot will scatter them to higher country, where winds shake the aspens’ first golden coins to the ground. There’s not much time. So they eat the stubble without pause, fattening up for the hungry months ahead.
At the river, the water is skinny but runs cold again with the return of freezing nights. The trout feel the change and are voracious. This makes them reckless, and the fishing is good in the squinting hours around sunrise. I tie on an October caddis and skate the fly over the water in the blue morning. Big trout lunge after it, detonating the quiet.
It is autumn again in the mountains of the West, and what is not gracefully dying is desperate to live.
I live in the lap of tall peaks in Washington’s North Cascades, where the turn from summer to fall always mixes beauty with melancholy. October’s yellow afternoons smell of winter at the edges. The soft ovation of the cottonwoods sends another round of leaves adrift on the water. Everything lovely harbingers an ending. Nothing gold can stay, as Frost wrote.



Even in the lovely moments, a franticness belies the season here, the underlying rhythm of life in hard places. The black bear roots for the last frost-shriveled berries. The fish lurches to the fly. The woodcutter’s saw screams in the quiet forest, as she piles the rounds that will warm her family. All of us in our fashion rush to lay in the things we need before winter descends.
I stand in the river, ice water girdling my hips, and I cast, and cast again. I am as ravenous as the trout. I, too, need something to sustain me. But what, exactly?
This autumn feels different than those of the past. The wistfulness of the season is stronger, and the pace of the days feels more urgent. All spring and summer, as places such as New York suffered terribly because of the pandemic, we enjoyed our relative isolation and the lack of outbreaks. Our valley wants for many things, but we do not lack for elbow room. When the news, and the numbers, grew ever more awful, we simply headed outside, alone or together, as we sought the solace of open spaces, as Gretel Ehrlich put it.
The other asset that makes this place special is its sense of community. Late each autumn the already-small population of the valley shrinks smaller still, as avalanches close one of the few roads to Seattle and the snowbirds migrate south. People who have scattered to the woods and peaks and fields all summer now return, and the community knits itself together again for the cold winter months, buried in snow.




There are Tuesday night science talks at the Red Barn, and pickup hockey at the rink on Wednesdays, and costume parties at the Grange Hall. Friends crowd into snug, stove-lighted places, and they share meals featuring the tomatoes they canned the previous summer. We are the rancher’s cattle pushed down from summer range by first snow to gather together closely for the winter, warmer together.


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Image
The turn from summer to fall always mixes beauty with melancholy Credit...Ian Allen for The New York Times
In an era of contagion, though, closeness is treacherous. We are told to stay out of one another’s homes. We are advised to avoid gatherings. What makes us human — the need for connection, for human touch — is now suspect.
And so my friends and I fish too long when we should be picking the last frost-sweetened plums. We put our hands on the still-warm granite of the climbing pitch rather than cook down the applesauce. We take ridgeline hikes among larch the color of struck matches when we should be at the work desk. We run for hours through the mountains without thought of tomorrow’s soreness, or the firewood left uncut.
We tear at the days immoderately, like animals, and we wolf them down, hoping to fill a hole we see yawning ahead. There’s not much time. The forecast calls for snow up high this week — “termination dust,” the locals call it.
And so we also grab at the invitations to dinner outside with others — invitations that once felt casual but that now feel urgent. We sit on the patio drinking summer drinks long after summer is gone, ignoring the shivering night. We look for more human connections to make, wondering who we can safely pull close, whose friendship will keep us both warm. We are laying by memories for winter, as the bear puts on fat, in hopes what we have will be enough for the long, dark times to come.
Christopher Solomon is a contributing editor at Outside.
I had forgotten what good journalism was like.
Outside Magazine always did have some amazing writers.
Thank you for sharing.
 

plugboots

Member
Dude writes well, but seems to be a real estate agent the way he pumps it up. "Big trout lunging" at a skated October caddis? OK, sure.
The real reasons most of us moved here have nothing to do with what he talks about. It's basically x-country skiing, BC skiing, and mountain biking. We all wish it was a lot colder and got more snow.
 

ianpadron

Active Member
My wife and I got married between Winthrop and Twisp this August, were joined by about 40 of our friends/family.

Locals there were no different than anywhere else, some thought the world was ending and gave us the stink eye for not having masks, others were hugging us like long lost friends.

The short term rental market in the area was actually busier in 2020 than ever before due to so many folks working remotely. For example, the Mazama store was overrun basically every morning and afternoon and the area trail heads were packed to the gills with West siders.

Article was a bit dramatic compared to our experience over there.
 

enlightened

Active Member
My wife and I got married between Winthrop and Twisp this August, were joined by about 40 of our friends/family.

Locals there were no different than anywhere else, some thought the world was ending and gave us the stink eye for not having masks, others were hugging us like long lost friends.

The short term rental market in the area was actually busier in 2020 than ever before due to so many folks working remotely. For example, the Mazama store was overrun basically every morning and afternoon and the area trail heads were packed to the gills with West siders.

Article was a bit dramatic compared to our experience over there.
Okay, I have to say, as a gal who was raised there in the 1970s and 80s and consider it my home still, we did “fish for dinner” legally. Times were different back then depending on the family. Culture was different but issues were still there. Yes the writing is nice, though it paints a very rosy picture of events that have occurred there in the past couple decades. Look at the history, the logging, etc.
As far as the stink eye goes when you got married, all I can say is shame on you for entering my community and not follow the rules. I don’t care that some greeted you with open arms. It’s called a pandemic. Not an epidemic. I will let you teach yourself, as I do it daily to those entering our world very soon.
Wear a mask all and stay safe. Keep up with the science that changes daily.
 

ianpadron

Active Member
Okay, I have to say, as a gal who was raised there in the 1970s and 80s and consider it my home still, we did “fish for dinner” legally. Times were different back then depending on the family. Culture was different but issues were still there. Yes the writing is nice, though it paints a very rosy picture of events that have occurred there in the past couple decades. Look at the history, the logging, etc.
As far as the stink eye goes when you got married, all I can say is shame on you for entering my community and not follow the rules. I don’t care that some greeted you with open arms. It’s called a pandemic. Not an epidemic. I will let you teach yourself, as I do it daily to those entering our world very soon.
Wear a mask all and stay safe. Keep up with the science that changes daily.
Lol

Please. Spare us from the theatrics.

I'll add that my wife is a nurse.

Zero shame in our game.
 

triploidjunkie

Active Member
My wife and I got married between Winthrop and Twisp this August, were joined by about 40 of our friends/family.

Locals there were no different than anywhere else, some thought the world was ending and gave us the stink eye for not having masks, others were hugging us like long lost friends.

The short term rental market in the area was actually busier in 2020 than ever before due to so many folks working remotely. For example, the Mazama store was overrun basically every morning and afternoon and the area trail heads were packed to the gills with West siders.

Article was a bit dramatic compared to our experience over there.

Lol

Please. Spare us from the theatrics.

I'll add that my wife is a nurse.

Zero shame in our game.
Theatrics? You needlessly put a community at risk during a worldwide pandemic.
 

enlightened

Active Member
Lol

Please. Spare us from the theatrics.

I'll add that my wife is a nurse.

Zero shame in our game.
Okay, now I understand completely and get it. Your in need of some education. I’m going to leave this here as I’m choosing not to debate someone who literally thinks trying to hurt my loved ones is funny. Your a waste of time. “Can’t argue with your kind.” Good luck to you.

For the rest, life teaching online live is awesome and my students are doing well! Life has been hectic, and fly fishing is rare, but Trip makes it up for the both. I’m still out there, just tonight I finally checked in. Mask up to my friends and Stay safe ❤️
 

ianpadron

Active Member
Lol

Please. Spare us from the theatrics.

Okay, now I understand completely and get it. Your in need of some education. I’m going to leave this here as I’m choosing not to debate someone who literally thinks trying to hurt my loved ones is funny. Your a waste of time. “Can’t argue with your kind.” Good luck to you.

For the rest, life teaching online live is awesome and my students are doing well! Life has been hectic, and fly fishing is rare, but Trip makes it up for the both. I’m still out there, just tonight I finally checked in. Mask up to my friends and Stay safe ❤️
Your response is so absurd it's impressive.

"Your kind"...wtf does that mean? You don't know anything about me.

Talking about science and data has become nothing but gaslighting for "people like you".

Here's a graph I put together on the CDC's website this morning...just for you.

Hope you all wore your masks everywhere you went for the past 5 years when the excess mortality for URIs in our state was actually higher than in 2020.

I'm not going back and forth on a fly fishing forum about COVID after this message, but holy cow, the amount of cognitive dissonance and alarmism in this state is mind-numbing.
 

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Griswald

a.k.a. Griswald
Your response is so absurd it's impressive.

"Your kind"...wtf does that mean? You don't know anything about me.

Talking about science and data has become nothing but gaslighting for "people like you".

Here's a graph I put together on the CDC's website this morning...just for you.

Hope you all wore your masks everywhere you went for the past 5 years when the excess mortality for URIs in our state was actually higher than in 2020.

I'm not going back and forth on a fly fishing forum about COVID after this message, but holy cow, the amount of cognitive dissonance and alarmism in this state is mind-numbing.
Hey guy,
You sound like a person who can string together a decent sentence, so what I don't understand is why you have such a personal sense of self entitlement that you would place others in jeopardy because you refuse to wear a mask?

Doing what you want can be called "independence," doing what is right for the greater good is called "integrity."
Where do you stand? Do what you want in your own life-leave the rest of us out of it.
 

ianpadron

Active Member
Shit, another one...who are these people?
Oh you know, just a young couple...one a nurse, the other with a degree in public health from University of Wisconsin...with the ability to critically analyze data and triage risk without the media and politician talking heads bastardizing the data set for us...

I will never cease to be amazed by the mask-shaming whackos that came out of the woodwork in the past 9 months.

And the irony of them throwing fits about listening to "the science"...talk about low-rent virtue signaling.

It's impossible to look objectively at the body of publicly available data and arrive at the conclusion that we should all be wearing masks, avoiding our friends and family, and screaming about a worldwide pandemic.

That's not a politically charged statement either, it's based purely on what the numbers say...not what the news tells me the numbers say.

And then to naturally progress into attacking the character of someone none of you know...just insane.
 

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