By Erika Kar
Nothing happened in Mazama this past week.
That was almost going to be the extent of the Mazama column. It was the quietest week probably since last year at this time. With skiing done, not enough snow to snowmobile, and most spring breaks over, it left Mazama empty and beautifully quiet.
Part-time Mazamans Doug and Bonnie Simpson discovered the magic of April last year. For the 10-ish years that they owned their cabin here, they never came in the spring. It is a very long drive from their Bellingham home unless the pass is open. But Doug told me that it is worth the seven-hour drive for the quiet. As Annie at the Mazama Store suggested, we should all enjoy this quiet while we have it. So, I took her advice and began to pay closer attention to the quiet while I was on my daily walk with my dog, Pablo. It was then that I began noticing that actually a lot of things happened in Mazama last week.
In one week’s time, the snow in the upper reaches of Mazama went from “this will never melt” levels to just clumps and patches. The ground underneath is mostly a miserable shade of brown, but hope springs eternal! Pretty little Spring Beauties are covering the forest floor, as are Yellow Bells. Bright green grass is beginning to peek through the dead brown, showing us why green is the color of spring.
As I walked with Pablo in the silence up Harts Pass Road past the Monument Creek Trailhead, we heard the sounds of the forest coming back to life. A gaggle of Canada Geese were busy working their way down river, honking in the sunshine. At the bridge crossing Lost River before the confluence, we saw a pair of ducks sunning themselves on the sand. Further up the road, past the very last of the homes, a woodpecker could be heard jackhammering away on some waterlogged old stump.
Pablo’s nose was working overtime as he sought out the scents of all the animals coming out. Squirrels, still fat with their winter weight, came out to taunt us and although we did not see any skunks, we smelled their evidence. The deer have come back to upper Mazama, as evidenced by tracks. Unlike Winthrop, we become somewhat deer free up here during the winter.
I got back home, not having seen a soul, and then heard the first airplane this year land on the airstrip. Last week it would not have possible for a plane to land, yet in just that week’s time, so much changed. And that, my friends, is what happened in Mazama.
That, and Kevin Petty joined the 21st century and got a cell phone.