Wednesday, March 9, 2011


After ten years living in this remote mountain community, I have learned a thing or two. I have learned that I talk too much and listen too little. I have learned that I am not perfect, nor is my spouse, nor will we ever be. I have learned that life goes up and down, but that over the course of time, progress is made.

I have learned to relax my standards: That I can live with a little dirt. And that today’s big gossip will become tomorrow’s old news. I have also learned to be more tolerant of people not like me, because, frankly, there is no one much like me out here. If I wanted friends at all I had to widen out my personal preferences considerably, which is what I’ve learned to do.

After ten years in this valley, I have acquired a few new skills. I have learned to garden. I have learned to can. I have learned to waste less and save more. I have learned how to skate ski well – maybe not in comparison to the locals, but definitely in comparison to the tourists. I have learned how to ice skate and drive on snow and pack for any emergency. I have also learned some patience. This is not a virtue I thought ever to acquire. WAIT was always a dirty four letter word. Now wait is a period of time I can live with. And I do.

I have learned that I like wolves more than deer because the deer eat my garden but the wolves eat the deer. I have learned that there are more good hunters than bad, and that they help control the deer population. We need them. I have also learned why farmers and ranchers resent the intrusion of environmentalists from the city telling them how to live. Not that I always agree with them, but this is a tough place to make a living and we all need to feed our kids. If we want people to change, we should help, not punish them into changing, and allow them the dignity to survive.

Mostly I have learned that my life, as odd as it is, is a pretty good life. Though there are problems a plenty, I doubt a different life would be much better. When measuring the things that really matter (health, love, family, a beautiful environment, peace in my home) against the things that really do not (my brilliant career that isn’t, the big income I don’t have, the travel I haven’t done, or the status I haven’t achieved), I would say the scale is pretty well balanced in my favor. At least on most days….

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