"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I have not lived."
Thoreau's quote is on the wall of my office. It reminds me of how I wish to live. Of the essential facts in my life. Of my grandparents. And, of my Aunt Bass who lives in Idaho in a picturesque mountain valley where living life day to day must indeed be deliberate. There is no city water and sewer. No natural gas. If wood isn't cut for the stove, there's no fire. No utility company comes to save you. To get to work my aunt travels nearly 100 miles round trip through terrain that can be breathtaking but also treacherous, especially during the winter.
This morning she called with a request: please pray that there will be no wind. Snow can fall in abundance and she and others who live in the valley can usually still manage to travel at will. But wind is another matter. Rising above the west rim of the south fork of the Snake River is Antelope Flat where wind gusts can create drifts taller than a snowplow and ice that brings traffic, and therefore life, to a standstill. The winds can cause other roads on her route to become impossibly drifted and iced as well.
My aunt needs to travel, literally, over the river and through the woods from work tonight to the valley she loves, to her family and friends--she's in charge of the church Christmas party and she wants to be home, in Swan Valley. If you've never been there, Google some photos of it. Who wouldn't want to be there?
So, please, pray there will be no wind so Aunt Bass can get home for Christmas.
And the little shack in the photo? My grandparents actually once lived there, on Pine Creek Bench, which is east from Antelope Flat toward Jackson Hole. The shot was taken by talented photog James Neeley. Click here to see more of his work.