Hardscrabble Returns

It was 14 degrees when we got up this morning.

Yesterday’s fall storm sure felt a lot like a winter one. Dropped over 10 inches and was a pure white-out from time-to-time. The sky began to clear at sunset last night. and then it opened wide. the stars and the moon all played their roles well. then, the temperature nose dived, and everything froze.

DW called as soon as he had cell service on the way to school. He wanted to report on the bear tracks that ran down the driveway. thought i should go and check them out.

i waited for the sun to take the edge off, and headed out once it was 26 degrees. I was overdressed. i’m not used to any weather condition that cannot be met with a cotton t-shirt and a cottoner hoodie.

i wrapped the bear spray around my waist and my camera around my neck. i summoned the dogs and off i went. to investigate the bear tracks. that went through the driveway (not the winter driveway that extends another 5.5 miles…the allthetime driveway, that connects us to the road).

the journey had a bit of exhilaration in it. and a bit of fear too. i reckon the exhilaration lies on the far side of fear.

the tracks were frozen. so the bear must have come through in the evening. after DW and the kids came home, but before the temperature dropped. they seemed extra big.

i followed the tracks until it was clear that it was no longer a good idea to go further. i breathed deeply the crispy fresh mountain air to keep myself cool. once i was heading back home and knew that the coast was clear, i began playing this game. i would see something out of my periphery, that i knew was something safe, and pretend that it was something predatory. i’d illicit my stress response on purpose. and then i breathed, increased my alertness and awareness, all the while trying to stay cool.

i’ve been practicing that my whole life. the origins of Hardscrabble i suppose.

Ultra Violet and La Madre ran the show all summer. Solar Powered. Lunar Influenced. They absolutely crushed it together. Hardscrabble got to kick back, recharge, and power up. All the other seasons are hers, but not summer. she gets summer off. (we are all the better for it).

Saturday, we took a trip into Yellowstone. we are skilled at avoiding the sheeple-crowd feel. i’ve been practicing that my whole life too.

Sunday, we butchered an entire elk in our kitchen. Several arduous hours later, we had it all packaged and labelled. Deep Woods and Hardscrabble did the work, and La Madre folded her arms and smiled at the neatly stacked and frozen packets of nourishment for her family.

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