It’s 2017…seems like just yesterday that everyone was worried about Y2K, and life as we know it coming to a halt.  How many people bought non-perishable food stored in buckets and still have it stored in their bomb shelter?  How many were ready for the power grid to go down, and we were all going to have to live with no running water, and use candles or lanterns for light?  How many made sure that they had many 5 gallon containers of gasoline with which they would be able to keep their generators going?  And how many of us were ready to lose all communication?

Well, here we are…SEVENTEEN years later.  In those 17 years, we’ve elected 3 presidents, and experienced tragedy far worse than the thought of having no lights or access to the internet.  But still…we carry on.

In those seventeen years, here at Rock Creek, we have experienced forest fires, floods, and loss of life.  But, we have also experienced gain…through the forest fires we gained grassy meadows as feeding range for the deer, elk, and bighorn sheep.  Through the flooding the stream was scoured, and the habitat was improved for the rainbow trout – allowing them to come back strong after whirling disease nearly destroyed them.  And though we lost iconic figures like Doug Persico, Jerry Olson, and Miller Barber – we have gained new friends to help fill the void that came when the others departed.

And the wheels keep on turning.  In those 17 years there have been changes to this little business we call Trout Bums too.  We’ve gone from offering a few cabins, to having as many as 15…then back down to a few again.  We converted our little rental cabin into my office; with a flyshop, coffee bar and gift items.  I have been able to garden more, and have found that people love my huckleberry jam.  Our little store has become an extension of our home…and those that stop in regularly know they may have to come in the house to wait while I finish putting jam in jars, take cookies out of the oven, or glaze a huckleberry pound cake before I can help them with their fly purchases.

And it is good…all of it!  In this, my 60th year, I can think of no where else I would rather be, and nothing else I would rather be doing.  And if we lose power, and internet communication, and all the things we worried about 17 years ago – it doesn’t matter.  We worry about so much that doesn’t come to pass…there are things you learn as you grow older.  One thing is to take seriously the words “don’t worry about tomorrow, for today has enough troubles of it’s own.”  Live for today…for tomorrow may never come.  And why allow the worries of tomorrow rob us of today’s joy?

When my daughter and her husband moved to Germany several years ago (14 maybe) I sent her a little gift to help ease her homesick heart.  It says ‘find the joy in every day’.  When I visited her in North Carolina this past October, it made me smile to see that same little painted tile displayed on the sill of her kitchen window…the same place it goes in every house she has lived over these past 14 years, in many parts of the world.  There is joy, but sometimes we must look for it.

Yesterday we woke up to -20 degrees.  How do you find joy in cold such as that?  The rivers are frozen and jammed up with ice…with air so cold that (as my friend Gale said) the snot freezes in your nose.  But, if you look you can find it…in the crisp color of blue in the sky, and the ice crystals in the air that look like glitter as they catch the sun’s light.  In the wee tiny Northern-Pygmy Owl that decided to make the local squirrel his lunch…right off the corner of our deck!

So, as I listen to the crackle of the fire and try to be productive…here I am, thinking of you all.  And to those that ask me “what is winter like?” and ” how much snow do you get?” and “why do you close in the winter?” I say winter at Rock Creek could not be any more different than summer at Rock Creek.  If you follow us on FaceBook, look at the pictures and videos I have posted…you’ll see.  Winter is truly a time of solitude and rest…and yes, peace in the midst of snow storms and cold temperatures.

Tomorrow I will post about some exciting things that we have in store for 2017…but for now, it’s time to go in the house and make dinner for the hungry carpenter.

Until then…be well, and stay warm