The Shack has taken on a decidedly wintery tone this evening. There’s bread baking in the oven, Andy’s up and running again, and with a cup of cocoa and Bailey’s by my side, I just finished reading Bob Cary’s Root Beer Lady about Dorothy Molter, the lady who ran a resort and lived on Knife Lake (more on the Ely side of the Boundary Waters) from the time she graduated college and until her death, nearly 50 years later. Of course part of what’s made the night so cozy is that I’ve been running around in long johns and brand-new wool pants.
I feel a little bit like the Channel 4 News Team in Anchorman. “New suits!” they cry when they’re thinking of ways to cheer themselves. I answer that with “wool pants!”
In the advent of living in the woods, in the fall and winter, it’s come time to admit that my beloved jeans are lousy winter pants. In the past few weeks, I’ve been out stomping around in the damp brush with Andy on deer scouting expeditions, while moisture rapidly creeps up to the back of my knees from the hem of my jeans. Enter the wool pants.
I’d been looking for decent pair of wool pants since the summer and last week Andy ordered a pair from L.L. Bean for me. While in my searches I’d always been faced with dichotomy of women’s dress wool pants or men’s outdoor wool pants, Andy managed to find women’s outdoor wool pants fitted enough that I don’t feel like a complete lumberjack in them.
For a long time I fought the fact that I live in the woods and no aspect of my life reflects that more than my clothing. Sure there are plenty of sweaters, but I never replaced the snowpants I grew out of when I was fourteen and I’m decidedly fonder my peacoat than the bulky Columbia parka with a broken zipper I’ve had since eighth grade. I finally broke down and bought a pair of snowpants this fall: nice bibs from Cabela’s to me dry and my tummy warm all winter. With Andy’s enthusiastic help, the winter wardrobe continues to steadily grow, with chopper mittens and the, now, infamous wool pants. I may be somewhat apathetic to the snow’s arrival, but I’m more ready for it then I have been in quite sometime. And the wool pants are unexpectedly causing me to wax poetic about frosty winter days.
The ice saga continues. In Ojibwa tradition, November is Gashkadena Geesis, or, the Ice-Forming Moon. This weekend brought temps in the mid-forties and this morning, the rising sun revealed an ice-free lake outside my window. I’m hoping this will give the lake a chance to freeze over in one solid, smooth mass when it does freeze, but it’s pretty obvious that Mother Nature will do whatever she darn well pleases.
That’s okay. Whatever the weather throws at us soon in the inevitable thrashings towards winter, I know I’ll be cozy.