It hasn’t been the long winter we experienced in 2020-21 where the first snow arrived in October and the last vestige disappeared at the end of April, but there’s still restlessness for the snow to be gone and the trees to leaf out. What a surprise to wake up to a snow globe scene this past Sunday, Feb. 27, followed by several hours of power outage! It’s not over till it’s over here in Mazama.
One good thing is that the fresh snow covers up the dirty beginnings of mud month and maybe makes the ice coating a little less treacherous. Still, the snow made our planned trip to Arizona for a few days even more desirable. With temperatures forecast to be in mid-80s in Phoenix, digging through summer clothes to find what still fits after the winter hibernation insulation can be a wake-up call. Summer clothes remind us of those sizzling days last summer when the temperatures soared and it was a challenge to find something minimal to wear to keep cool.
Oftentimes newcomers are a little taken aback with the extremes of our little ecosystem tucked up here at the base of the North Cascades. It is perhaps with naïveté that many move here because of the immense beauty experienced during the prime weather, the paradise seasons. Then the reality of digging out of snow, precariously navigating ice, tromping through mud, hot days, smoky days, less-than-perfect days bring home reality that even paradise has its moody moments.
I mentioned last week that I would write about the “More Favorite Recipes from Mazama” cookbook. What struck me in this glimpse into 1990s Mazama were the comments interspersed among the local recipes. It occurred to me that ever since the North Cascades Highway opened in 1972, continuing to the Zoomtown boom of this pandemic era, what draws people to move here has a repetitive theme — “We fell in love with the area and wanted to live here.”
One couple wrote that they moved to Mazama in 1981 to get away from dreary wet winters, traffic and crowded conditions in the Puget Sound. Forty years later, that hasn’t gotten any better and these same comments are commonplace today.
Another couple wrote, “The first year the North Cascades Highway opened, we decided to drive over to see what this part of the country looked like …We fell more and more in love with this area as we visited at every opportunity and finally decided to buy and move here.”
There were also comments from longtime residents — really longtime, like a grandfather’s 1894 homestead, a 1928 farming and logging family, and a1936 migrating family from Kansas. All were attracted to the beautiful, peaceful homeland of the first settlers, the Methow people.
Now we’re all here together shoveling snow, walking like penguins on the ice, fighting fires, escaping smoke when we’re not out experiencing what the Methow Valley has to offer on its best days. Maybe it’s a good time to try one of the Mazama Community Club bread recipes and “break bread” with someone new.