winter days at Red Meadow

Most winter days at Red Meadow pass quietly. 


Snow falls. (And falls, and falls.) I measure with my hands.

Horses are measured in hands, from withers to ground. I learned this when I was young, and fascinated by the horse. At the time, I thought I wanted to run a horse farm when I grew older. Now I am content to hole myself up in a barn-house for the winter, and write and take photographs and measure the snowfall with my hands.

Some of the snowfalls are soft and unintrusive. Others, less so; one knocked out power, heat, and internet for a week, blew down patches of forest, and covered the deck in so much snow that I didn't see it again until April. Alone in the barn-house, I listened to the wind blow and watched the snow skirmish and saw trees fall with loud cracks: cannonshot in the forest. 

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The forest beyond the railing was something strange, grey pencilly trees against the white, sinking away as the snow piled higher and higher on the railing. I remember being small, building forts with walls as high, or higher.


When an especially big snowstorm hit, Red Meadow had to resort to a generator to survive--which, as it turned out, needed repairs of its own in order to run. Meanwhile, the woodstove served as everything: hearth, heat, comfort, stove, and light. A cast-iron pan handled breakfast without incident, but the handle of the espresso pot is--to this day--a half-melted tangle of plastic.

Battle-scars are worthy scars. The espresso pot is still in service.

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And not all days are as dramatic. Some are simple quiet Sunday mornings, made for eggs and bacon and coffee, cooked on (and in) the woodstove merely for pleasure, not survival.