Thursday, January 28, 2021

the winter of my content

 Cross country skiers are complaining. "We need more snow, " they say. So are the people who think that low snow years mean more wildfires (around here, it's the spring rains that matter more). Meanwhile, I'm thinking this is the best winter I've had here.

This valley is often besieged with gray, depressing inversions in the winter. Not so much this year. We've actually had some sun. Bone-chilling temperatures and bitter winds have stayed away. My snowshoes are in the truck, but I haven't needed them. I've been able to hike happily with microspikes to several places that usually are covered by snowdrifts. This makes me happy, although my snowboard has been sitting in the garage. I'd rather hike, when the weather is like this.

I venture back into the national park, a madhouse in the summer, even during the pandemic. I see only a few people, but the mountains and trails are just as beautiful, and the bears are mostly asleep. The trails in the national forest are deserted.

Unpredictable February looms. It could be cold and snowy, or this mild weather could continue. If real winter does make an appearance, I'll roll with it, switch to snowshoes and go to the gym more. There's no point in wishing time away. It hurtles along so fast as it is.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

I'm still here!

 Blogger ate a long post I just wrote!

I'll try again soon.

Meanwhile here is a beautiful view of some mountains on my recent hike.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

what's the plan

Now that I've been retired one whole week, I'm noticing some common life themes. I can schedule appointments at pretty much any time. People still want me to give them references for jobs. I can go to the gym or hike any day. And, the main question I get from people is: "What's your plan now?"

My former job required a lot of plans. Some of these were written, as required by policy. For example, if we were going to burn a unit from the air, we had to have a safety plan that detailed specific procedures and risk management protocols. Some of them were developed on the fly, dictated by conditions; for example, I would tell the people in the back of the helicopter to cut down certain trees to make the helispot safer when they got out; meanwhile we would fly around looking for a water source. In firefighting, hope is not a plan nor is it a strategy. You also have to plan out your life: who could you call to watch the cats if you got called to a fire, what would you do for your one day off, would you have enough money saved when you got the boot from the job due to age.

So I understand the question. A lot of us fire retirees do have plans. B. knew she would sell her house and move. N. was going to start building a wood shop immediately. D. was retiring early because, he said, it wasn't worth it and he wanted to spend time with family (he is back in fire now though, part-time). H. took a job with the state so he would have two retirements.

I don't have a plan, not really.  It might have been to finally complete the Greenland trip I had to cancel due to covid last year, but apparently since I am not elderly or in prison, and I have a low BMI, I'm going to be in the last phase for the vaccine, so international travel might be on hold. I attempt to reserve fire lookouts for next summer, but hesitate: what if I want to do something else? Six months is a long time away.

I do have some ideas. L. wants me to backpack in Idaho with her and her daughter. There are a couple of long hikes here I want to do. My garden needs some work, and a deck and fence need to be painted. I have vague dreams of going to Sedona and the North Cascades, and of a greenhouse, but who knows. I think I'll wait and see.

For now, it feels good to not have a plan.