It’s been a wonderful year, all thanks to you.
Thank you to everyone who shares their stories with the Methow Valley News columnists on the Valley Life page. I love reading each column by Ashley, Sarah and Shelley, and celebrating this place through your eyes.
Thank you to all the people and organizations that made the First People of the Methow map a reality. In my column about the map, I missed acknowledging a key group of people: thank you to the students of the Independent Learning Center for providing thoughtful and critical feedback on the design of the map.
Thank you to everyone who lit up the Native Plant Gardens at the Methow Valley Interpretive Center (MVIC) on the TwispWorks campus! The lights were donated by Gail Price-Cleveland, Zen Branden, Ronda Bradeen, Samantha Carlin, Craig Howard, Darla Hussey, Terry Dixon, the Methow Valley Interpretive Center and the Bear Fight Institute.
Thank you to Steve Love for creating timeless public art. I described my idea to light up the garden to Steve and asked for aluminum tubing bent into three salmon outlines on stakes that I could shove into the ground and attach a string of lights. Instead, Steve created three steel panels: detailed salmon leaping over steel waves of water. This beautiful public art is permanently on display in the MVIC Native Plant Gardens by the small pond.
My hope is for the lights to grow more plentiful and decorative in future winters. The MVIC and surrounding Native Plant Gardens are a treasured gift in the heart of Twisp and deserve to be celebrated all year long, including the sleepy months of darkness.
And finally, thank you to my crotchety neighbor who, in 1981, made Christmas possible for my family. I was 7, and enjoyed handing him tools while he worked on his motorcycle and ranted about everything and everyone. He taught me sophisticated insults: insipid, fatuous, obtuse, and more. I never heard an adult so articulately voice anger on a consistent level. I honestly did not think he noticed who handed him tools, or that a 7-year-old intently listened to his diatribes on the current state of affairs. One day he uncharacteristically asked me a question: when were we getting a Christmas tree?
The night before, my dad explained there was no money for a tree. His shoulders slumped as he said he hoped I was not disappointed. I only wanted my parents not to worry, I did not care about a tree. I explained this to Mr. Crotchet, and shrugged my shoulders to indicate that a stupid tree was not important. He asked if we had enough to eat, and inquired about my baby brother. We were fine, I said, and then took off on my bike after wishing him a Merry Christmas.
The next day I came home from school to find the biggest, fullest, beautiful fir tree leaning up against our house next to a box filled with jars of baby food and a frozen turkey. The electric bill was due that day, and when my mother called the power company to explain why we would not be able to pay on time that month, the receptionist said someone paid our bill the day before.
Mr. Crotchet claimed he didn’t know what we were talking about and rushed to firmly shut the door in our faces when we thanked him. His gift was not the tree, the turkey, the baby food, or even the paid bill. The gift he gave us was kindness.
Being kind is not the same as being nice. Niceties are shallow, and disappear quickly, like snowflakes melting on a fingertip. Kindness leaves a lasting impression, an indented fingerprint on our souls of clay.