SHOVEL READY

It was a week ago when we installed ourselves in the cabin on Casper Mountain.  A couple of days before our arrival, Sam Weaver and his son, Sam Jr. (brother and nephew of our friend, Rebecca) plowed a path from the main mountain road to the cabin.  Sam then allowed us to use his 4-wheel drive pickup truck to cart dog, cats, guitars and our other sundry supplies down the path and into the cabin.  We took one more trip into town on the Thursday of last week to get Wyoming plates for Gypsy Rose and to grab some more groceries. 

Over the last week, I have gone out two or three times a day to build upon Sam’s plowing with some shoveling.  The goal was to create a few additional trenches that would make it easier to dump ash and old cat litter (all of which should rejoin nature with the Spring thaw).  In addition, I had a project in mind to make a path from the parking area to the back door.  When we first arrived at the cabin, we saw that the back door and the porch were piled with about a five-foot drift of snow (half obscuring the two living room windows).  I had this ambition to try and dig a path to that back door.  For one thing, I thought it might be some good exercise.  For another, it would be good to have access to the additional exit. 

I felt more than a little like Sysaphus this Tuesday morning, when I woke to find that some 2-3 feet of new powder had fallen overnight; all my efforts having proved in vain.  Our roommate, Trey, had returned  last night, and I could see his tracks leading up and out of the path to the main mountain road.  Beyond that, the parking area was a new blanket of snow. 

Our usual morning routine is to reset fires in the two pot belly stoves.  I did that, then spent a good half hour shoveling a new path from the door to the bank of snow that borders the parking area.  I then dug a new pit in the bank for yesterday’s ashes and dirty cat litter. 

There had been some remarks made about Warren Weaver (Rebecca’s father); some comments about how, over the last ten years or so of living in the cabin, he had sort of let things go.  And it is true that, upon his passing away, when Rebecca and Geoffrey took possession of the cabin, it was in a sad state of neglect.  The last five years have been a project of gradual reclamation of the place.  And I can say that it is very liveable now.  Old, soiled carpets were torn out, floors and walls and shelves all scrubbed and cleaned, new rugs thrown on the floors, and everything is in a better state now. 

Still, as of this morning, I had a new measure of sympathy for Warren.  Growing old is not for sissies, my father used to say.  And keeping this place going in the winter is not an easy task.  I’m not really complaining.  For the most part, I can say that I’ve been enjoying our first winter week on Casper Mountain.  But I guess I have a better understanding of how overwhelming it could get to stay on top of things when winter really sinks its teeth into the place. 

Growing old is not for sissies.  You got that right, Dad. 

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