No-Bad-DaysBy Don Nelson

Suddenly, it was November.

That’s how it felt over the past few days — as if it had somehow sneaked up on us.

The Halloween candy was barely sorted out, but the elaborate decorations and intricate costumes were already passé, the scary movies irrelevant for another year.

And now the transitional eleventh month is upon us all at once: the last remnants of magical autumn light delicately playing over the hills and mountains. Brilliant leaves dancing and fluttering into plush piles. Snow tires and clickety studs. The end of Daylight Saving Time and the onset of early darkness. Elections. Outdoor burning. Snow in the mountains, and then in the valley. Goodbye until spring, Washington Pass. Warmer clothes, winter boots. The ice rink opens. Fireworks at Thanksgiving, and then before we pack up the leftovers, Christmas. It seems to all mash together at some point.

We call it the shoulder season, as fall lingers until we get enough snow to open the ski trails and properly dress the valley for the winter. Indeed, judging by the less-intense weekend traffic around town, it seemed as if a switch had been flipped.

For some, it’s take-a-breath time after a busy summer and before the Nordic season brings the next rush of visitors. It is literally the calm before the storms, and we have it comparatively to ourselves. So savor the quietness. Take a few extra minutes to chat at the post office. Tarry a while longer over a cup of coffee. Drag out the winter gear and make sure it’s ready for immediate use.

It’s not like we’ve entered an activity vacuum. There were plenty of happenings over the past weekend — potlucks, community celebrations and gatherings, concerts, and other live entertainment at the usual places — to keep us more than occupied. I multi-evented on Saturday, first stopping at the Methow Valley Ciderhouse to hear cowgirl chanteuse Lauralee Northcott sing some of her new songs and spin wonderful stories around them. Love that hat, Lauralee.

Then I wandered a couple of hundred yards down the highway to the Winthrop Barn, where the Reddington family was throwing a thank-you party for the entire community, out of gratitude for the support Don Reddington and daughter Donni received for their Alzheimer’s awareness motorcycle ride around the state last summer.

It was a sizeable crowd that included out-of-town attendees who know the Reddingtons, are related to them or helped with the ride. Donni screened a moving, funny and thought-provoking video documentary that she put together as she and her father prepared for, embarked on and concluded their ambitious trek around Washington. With the community’s participation, Donni took what probably seemed like a far-fetched idea to many, and turned it into a powerful reality.

As far as we more-or-less permanent residents are concerned, things are not doing to slow down appreciably. Having collected information for the calendar of events in Methow Winter 2017-18, which was published last week, I know there is hardly a weekend for the rest of the season that doesn’t offer a selection of diversions, indoors and out. November and December will flash by, and on New Year’s Eve we’ll be toasting the next 12 months and wondering how the previous 12 went by in such a blur.

Suddenly, it will be 2018. Not too soon to be thinking about next year’s Halloween outfit.


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