Tuesday, October 19, 2010

They may be camo, but they go on the same way

I just returned from my annual hunting weekend in Northern Idaho. How this relates to real estate is vague, I openly admit, but if you stay with me, I will try to make a point.

This weekend started out a few years ago as a way to spend time with my brother on his turf and has turned into a weekend I will never surrender. My brother and his buddies have welcomed me, a city girl with funny boots and a buffalo plaid jacket (although this year I was sporting my new camo vest courtesy of my bro), into their group like I was born and raised in these mountains.

Black Lake in Northern Idaho
Now, those of you who know me, know I am not a gun toting gal. In fact, I am very much against guns....but this, this is different. I am not going to pretend to know why people hunt. But I do know that these guys use every piece of meat they can, and simply put - it is a way of life for them.

I like travelling east of the Cascades. The people of the Pacific Northwest are as diverse as its geography and it is that geography that plays a great deal into how people live. Crossing the vast Palouse of Central/Eastern Washington you see the Ag world come to life. You can't help but notice how the barns are three times larger than their humble farm houses. How money is invested in outbuildings and equipment rather than on lavish homes.

Crossing the state line into the panhandle of Northern Idaho the mountains rise up to greet you once again and the expansive grasslands are replaced by small mining towns, complete with saloons, assayer offices, and county jail. If you look closely, up the gulches, you can see the old mine shafts from an earlier time. The houses in these towns are simple, usually one, maybe two room wooden structures that provided shelter for a miner looking to make a fortune. Over time, these homes have been added on to, but compact and efficient they remain.

Wallace, Idaho circa 1910, a mining town
It's in a town like this that my brother and sister-in-law live. Pinehurst, Idaho. That was my home this past weekend. At night, Pinehurst became the backdrop to many exciting conversations about Elk... 
Pinehurst, Idaho
...but the days, they were spent tucked on a  mountainside along Black Lake, in the glorious sun, breathing in all of mother nature. "Never underestimate the power of great natural beauty to bring you inspiration, peace of mind, and clarity of thought. In nature you find yourself." Wayne Dyer

Sunrise over Lake Coeur d'Alene
Canada Geese feeding before heading South for the Winter

Marsh along Swan Lake
Here's what nature inspired in me Saturday

Ok, yes, it was a really long day!
But I am digressing from my point. What I have come to realize is that the lay of the land, and the rich history that belongs to each area defines the way its residents live. And it is only in understanding how those two collide that you can truly understand the people who carve out a rich and beautiful life there.

Immersing myself in a world I know very little about opened my eyes to the fact that just like me, these guys throw open their doors and welcome in company, pop open a cooler and hand you a cold one, lend you an arm to help you up a steep trail. They cherish family and home and friends. And just like me, they put their pants on one leg at a time...theirs just happens to be from the fall line of camo from Cabelas.

We talk about creating a gentler, kinder world, and I think putting ourselves in someone else's boots goes a long way to accomplishing this goal. I know I use to have an idea about hunting that was based on how I live here in Seattle and it wasn't until I spent time with these guys that I realized that isn't fair. How they spend their days is just as different as the style, design and function of the houses we live in...but what we feel is the same. I believe, that if we accept this fact, than we will once again work together as a nation.

As I headed out of town this morning, I pulled in for gas and found my brother at the local Exxon, standing in the middle of some friends, waving his hands about, sharing his story about how he came across an elk in the fog....I waved to him 'goodbye' and drove off with a big grin and a grateful heart! Thank you David for a great weekend!

My brother, nephew, Jeromy and Greg

 Until next week,

la chasse au bonheur

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