"America is my country but Paris is my hometown." -Sabrina (remake)
While I've never been to Paris, my inner Sabrina always dreamed that this is how I would feel when I finally got the opportunity to go. Now I strangely feel that way about Mazama. To most, it's just a place, a quick stop on the map while you're headed down valley. But to those whose lives it has grounded with the weight of it's massive mountains, it means so much more. You find your real self reflected in the crisp waters and wonder where you had gone to all those years.
Here are the Top 3 reasons why I'm in love...
1. YOU HAVE TO EARN IT.
In Mazama, you don't have a choice. If you want any kind of life or happiness whatsoever, you really have to earn your survival both physically & emotionally. If you're cold? You better get off the couch, onto your aching feet, and build a fire.
If you're out of kindling, you gather it. You need wood for the winter? You chop it down and haul it. Lonely? Invite people over for dinner. Hungry? Better get off your butt and harvest what you grew in your garden. Stuck in your head? Better go for a hike. There's no fast food. There's no delivery. There's no meetup.com.
You have to 'fight for your shitty life, Annie.'
Mazama constantly gives you the choice as to how much you want to live. Do you want to be the tourist or really let it resonate? Drive over the mountains or hike through them?
I find this way of life exhilarating! Not only is it extremely satisfying but it becomes addictive. When I had to buy a coffeemaker when my dad came to visit, I bought a percolator. I didn't want to press a button. I wanted to earn my coffee a bit. And in earning my coffee, I appreciate it more. With a new set of skills and triumphs, you also begin to appreciate yourself.
2. IN MAZAMA, EVERYBODY'S YOUR FRIEND WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT. :)
One of my first nights here, there was a going away party for the baker that I replaced. She's in her 20's. I was incredibly surprised to find myself sitting around a fire with not just twenty somethings, but a wide age range of folks. In a town of 250, most of those being absent second home owners, you get what you get! Despite the fact that personalities and ages couldn't be more different, everyone is friends. And they take care of each other.
If I was in LA, there's no way I'd be hanging out with college kids. And quite frankly, they certainly wouldn't want to be hanging out with a 35 year old. That's old and washed up. Might as well put me to pasture! ;)
Here, because there are so few locals, you find yourself hanging out with people whose personalities are completely opposite of you, with different interests, younger or older, etc. You try to hide and stay in your head because it just doesn't make sense. Yet, with the heart of golden retrievers, they force it on you and make you go hiking or hang out or come over for dinner or.....
.....will blast Gloria Estefan in the bakery while I'm exhausted and in my head, awkwardly dance the 'conga beat' and hip check me and tell the 35 year old to 'live a little'...
The next thing you know they've wriggled their way into your heart you've been friends for months and you're not quite sure how it happened!
I've absolutely fallen in love with the quirks, idiosyncrasies and support within the folks of this community. Everyone has a story and everyone is accepted. It's weird and beautiful. And like my aunt says, "You aren't fit for Mazama unless you have baggage!"
It reminds me of a quote by Marianne Williamson:
"When you meet someone, remember that it is a holy encounter. As you see him, you will see yourself. As you treat him, you will treat yourself. As you think of him, you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself."
Everyone is a teacher. And this student finds herself more and more found when she keeps her heart open.
This is a highway 20 'at the hairpin' cake I did for a beautiful lady named Tina. Her incredible girlish spirit and kindness played a big part in me wanting to stay through the winter. She headed back to Seattle so we had a little party for her.
Nutty, crazy, weirdo people. Takes one to know one. ;)
3. THE BEAUTY
Okay, so this one is pretty obvious. :)
The Cascade Mountains are just east of us and if you follow Highway 20 it takes you down into the Methow Valley.
It's insanely beautiful!
And what I love the most is that there are four very distinct seasons.
In Chicago, it was a hot, sticky humid summer that melted your mascara down to your elbows and a fierce, bitter sleet-filled winter cold enough to take your breath away. In the Methow, there is winter, spring, summer and fall and they are all as they should be!
The 'plan' (never make plans, I'm telling you) is to leave end of February. March and April are the slowest times at the store, pretty uneventful and boring depending on the snowfall. If I happened to stay a month or two longer than February, then I'd really get into the beauty and freshness of spring...
If I left in spring knowing summer was around the corner-- hiking, rockclimbing, biking and the swimming hole!??? I'd want to stay for that. But if I stay for summer to leave on the cusp of fall...
...only to know that a winter wonderland is coming!?
HOW WOULD I EVER LEAVE!!???
And there you have it.
The beauty is astounding and the energy in these mountains is powerful.
One day I was running errands and was awestruck at the snow-capped mountains in the distance. I went to take a picture and realized I had a friend on the left watching me. It's beautiful in many ways...
When are you coming to visit? :)