We are nestled in our new digs experiencing something we’ve not witnessed in twenty years… four seasons. The fall colors are emblazoned with orange, red, yellow and the mercurial colors that become purple, brown, and finally baron stems. This change occurs when the heat turns to warmth which becomes cold and quietly morphs to freezing. The blink of an eye within natures window of time turns sunshine to clouds and rain to snow.
Two days ago a blanket of cotton balls covered the ground. At least that’s what the earth looked like. The trees held the snow in their bows against the verticle trunk that shot up to the sky. This wooden sentry I viewed as elegant, stoic, and determined in its will to carry the weight from percipitation froze in mid-air.
WIld life hide and hibernate realizing that the tides of winter now beckon them to sleep. Empty caves now became the residence for the bears exhausted and full-bellied. Other creatures foraged for food while keeping a keen eye for preditors including man.
Hunters and fisherman dot the landscape looking for food, a trophy, or both. Without a gun or a fishing pole in this area is like going to the beach without a chest full of beer. Most of the Orofino hunters have lived here their whole life. They consider the opportunity to hunt as a way to provide sustenance for their families. The Orofino men and women honor the animals by following the rules of the hunt and using every part of the animal for both clothing or feasting.
Living in an area that provides this much natural beauty along with the resources of crystal clean water, plant and herbal remedies, and game, is a gift. However, to much that is given much is required. Learning the ways of nature in any area is a full time education.
There are many wonderful teachers in Orofino. None better than the people that have lived in this area their whole lives. This is an Indian area that respects the many customs of the local tribe, the Nez Perce. The Nez Perce Indians have lived in this area for over 11,500 years.
The Nex Perce Indians were partly responsible for the success of the Lewis and Clark expedition ordered by Thomas Jefferson. The guidance and protection (which began in Orofino) afforded these explorers by the Nez Perce Indians traveling in northern Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, ensured the successful discovery of a waterway that led to the Pacific ocean.
The locals are very adept at adapting to the upcoming winter months. They take the weather conversation in stride. Put the snow tires on, wear the coats which will protect you down to well below freezing, and look out for anyone in distress that may need your help. Why? Because these Orofino residents are about community and the beauty that is born from the understanding that when it all comes down to it… all we have is each other.