Searching around for a theme this week, when it’s too late in the day and too early in the year to be entertaining, clever or full of indignation, I stitched together a few things that exemplify the spirit of generosity that blesses this valley. They are largely self-explanatory. Hold on for a bit of whiplash from one subject to the next.
First, I have new place to live. My shamelessly self-serving plea for relocation assistance in this space a few weeks back paid off in the way I hoped it might. I heard from quite a few people who either had or knew of a place that might or would be available in the near future. Thank you to everyone who contacted me with information or possibilities to pursue. You have been kind, patient and gracious.
So, residentially next for me: I’m about to embrace an entirely different Methow modality. From a cabin 6 miles up the West Chewuch, with a big yard and views and animals traipsing through the place, I’m going for what passes as “urban” in the valley. I’ll be snugging into a tiny house on a quiet residential street in Twisp.
I’ll be going from a 15-mile commute to less than a mile from the newspaper office. I can foresee walking or biking around town (not just yet, however). I’ll still have plenty of reasons to visit Winthrop a few times a week, for work or leisure. It will take some adapting, but I’m looking forward to a new perspective.
More generosity of the tangible kind: Last week, we reported about the amazing gift that Phil and Cathy Davis are about to give the community. They have purchased the horse corral property on Highway 20 in Winthrop, next to the Methow River bridge. The Davises plan to finance the site’s conversion into a public park, in much the same way that the Pigotts did a few years ago to create Confluence Park on Riverside Avenue.
To borrow a quotation from last week’s paper, from Methow Conservancy Executive Director Jason Paulsen: “We have people in our community who care enough about ensuring public access in a time when the valley’s developing rapidly – who are willing to step up and secure these keystone pieces and hand it over for community use. I don’t know if that happens everywhere. It’s just another aspect that makes the Methow so special.”
Nifty segue: In this week’s paper, the Conservancy announces that is has purchased a 6-acre property at the “Mazama Corner” area – between Highway 20 and Lost River Road – thanks to a donation from former Mazama residents Nancy and Dick Gode.
No, these things probably don’t happen in many places. We are frankly fortunate that the valley is beloved by people with means who have the ability and desire to preserve the things that collectively make the Methow special.
And now – as Rocket J. Squirrel used to say in the cartoons – for something completely different. Last weekend I was one of the fortunate 300 who filled every seat in The Merc Playhouse on Friday and Saturday for a Readers’ Theater presentation of “Love, Loss, and What I Wore.” The Merc had to turn folks away – unusual for such a production.
But “Love, Loss” is something special. The play, written by Nora and Delia Ephron from the book by Ilene Beckerman, is laugh-until-it hurts funny, but also poignant, thought-provoking and, gauging by audience reaction, universally appealing (a New York Times review called it “chick legit,” as in “legitimate theater,” for its dramatic substance, piercing insights and emotional honesty).
The original stage production featured five actresses in a variety of roles, but for The Merc’s show director Rose Weagant filled the stage with 15 talented, black-clad local women (there’s a sketch in the play about the timeless endurance of black habiliment) taking on the personalities. I don’t know how Rose did it in just a few rehearsals, but she got fabulous performances out of the entire ensemble.
So, back to generosity: Most of the participants in Merc productions are volunteers who invest a lot of time, energy and commitment to put quality entertainment in front of the community. Live theater is a shared experience whose value works in both directions. I guess you could say that about a lot of things that go on around here.