We were greeted by a Steller's Jay couple sitting on the limb of a bare aspen tree. There was this tiny log cabin, with a wee front porch just big enough to do a couple of side shuffles or the Two Step one time. The inside looked like Log Cabin syrup, golden amber, rustic and delicious. A four rung ladder led up to a sleeping loft, I peered out, the window presenting a conifer view with an iced over creek. There was no electricity or running water. It was the kind of cabin I like the best. Outside, patches of icy snow shown the reflection of a pale sky, with candy floss streaks of clouds. Taking a deep breath in, a long sigh out, I saw the slow curl of my breath. It was cold. The woodstove was ancient and the fire began to roar.
We stayed up late that night, sitting on the porch, bundled up in goose down and wool, staring at the stars, telling stories, reminiscing of days and times gone by. We laughed out loud and pointed out satellites that dodged twinkling stars, orbiting around this earth.
I always find that when I'm away from home, when I sleep in the woods, my thoughts revert back to the past. To the olden days. Of what it must have been like when the Indians stumbled upon such an area and all the astounding beauty they discovered. Of course, they found sacredness in the spirit of nature. But, were they so amazed? Did they feel happiness when they looked up at that mountain? Did they revel in the silence of the forest, like I do? Did they smile and listen closely to the mockingbird sound? Or are those things appreciated only because we've got something else to compare it to. Like automobile noise, loud stereos that boom, boom, boom, and boisterous people. The blather and gossip that never stops. The world we live in is a busy one and I am extremely thankful that I can take refuge in the trees, to get away from it all.
Our Thanksgiving dinner was prepared at one of the very first settlements in Red Feather Lakes. The homestead was built in 1860, before the West was tamed. I mean, Crazy Horse was still around! There is so much history there, in what is now a resort lodge, and it is still very old timey looking, rustic and well cared for. Along the window frames were painted rose maling designs, flower patterns fading into the old wood. Most likely the artistic work of Nordic or Swedish immigrant homesteaders.
Percheron draft horses pulled wagonloads of families on trails through spruce and pine. Normally, this time of year enough snow has fallen to cover the ground and the horses pull a sleigh through glistening white. Because there was only a dusting of powder, the sled sat empty next to the barn. An australian shepherd led the horses on their tour and when they returned, he sat guarding the steeds with muddy paws a smile on his face. He was the cutest thing and reminded me so much of Gyp, another dog I know. The old barn was full of saddles, blankets and tack, hay bales piled high and a few more trail horses standing at the fence waiting for some attention, a kind word and a soft pat. A gal wrangler with a pitchfork in her hand gave me nod and went back to cleaning a stall. I noticed a slab of grey barn wood with the words 'wranglers accept tips' painted on it. For a brief moment I imagined myself working there mucking out stalls, grooming horses, chewing on a stem of straw while watching the sun come up over those mountains. Then I remembered the times I did all those things. That was then, this is now.
On our way out of the village we stopped to poke our heads inside the Silver Moonbeam. Honey colored aspen leaves in the Fall. That's what the inside of the trailer looks like. And that good old familiar smell. Rustic and delicious.