Let yourself be silently drawn
by the strange pull
of what you really love.
It will not lead you astray.
You wouldn’t have to travel far to see the kind of place that makes
people want to be from here. Just across the fence is a path that is cut from water that comes off a mountain lake up a couple thousand feet in elevation. Water falls through sage, oak brush, pines, and aspen until it reaches the calm of the lakefront. At top, there are wildflowers in summer and in fall, gold on some of the tallest aspens you can find anywhere.
I have brought many visitors to this place. Most have traveled far to come visit and are struck at first by how far up the gravel road it is and how long the quiet echoes. Just beyond the line of property is national forest, which touches BLM wilderness. If you follow the path that is traveled by cattle and the occasional ATV, you’ll reach yet another mountain stream that runs full and robust in spring and a little less vigorously in fall.
Occasionally, elk follow the stream and come to the edge of the pond
to drink. They pass through to higher country as the snow melts in May and come again near Thanksgiving on their way back to lower and warmer country where they winter. They are in smaller herds than in years past. Occasionally, I have spied one traveling solo. One winter I looked out the window during a heavy snowstorm and could see a bull elk, six points, pushing through shoulder-high drifts. It was a stunning sight.
There is peace in this place, one that reaches softly to touch even the most hardened and jaded of those who visit. It is easy to forget about the morning paper that is not delivered, the television that is not present, the convenience of trash pickup that is unavailable. Easy to accept the occasional cow who finds his way through the barbed wire, the nasty bat that finds its way into the
bedroom, and the 350 inches of snow that one finds to plow from the driveway in winter.
Perhaps the best time of year to experience it is in autumn, as the
warm days of summer begin a gradual conversion to the cold nights of
winter. The sky is bluest, the air is snappy, the aspen are splendid and sunlight has a remarkable glow in the morning and evening hours. Canadian geese congregate at Spence Lake and do a fly by at dawn and at dusk. Wild turkeys parade past the propane tank and the oak brush looks its finest.
This time that I favor will not last long. Truly without pause, the days will shorten and the sun will move till it goes down between the mountains seen from the far side of the driveway and not the mountains that are due west. And winter will come.
But before it does, there is time to drink red wine outdoors by a fire that burns fallen aspen, time to take a few more walks in the woods and time to take a few more photographs of this place that I love.