First real snowfall, 8 inches, fell fast. The road I live on lies in a bona fide hollow between two mountains, and it's about 300 years old. Up this way there are about 10 houses and a trailer spread out over about 3 miles to the end of the road, which used to continue all the way up through the pass, but now it's a hiking trail.
A few families lived on this road for hundreds of years, though few are left, among them my closest neighbors. Some of his older brothers and sisters were born in the house I live in. The birthing room was where the kitchen sink is now.

When the snow stopped everybody came outside who could, comparing notes on the snowstorm. How many inches, 6, 9? Near a foot? My closest neighbor said, Not even winter yet. His wife said, Just so long as I don't wind up in the hospital. Too many people in the hospital these days. She said she hoped 2006 be a better year for everybody. Turned to the mailorder catalogue she calls her wishing book, pointed out snowboots for $14.95.

Everyone's got their wishing book. And there is no question that there are ghosts around here just as there is no question there are bears around here. The ancestors watch over the living just as the snow falls in the hollow. Sometimes a name will slip into conversation when it has no business in there at all, but the oldtimers say that's just so-and-so, tapping on your shoulder.

photo: Marcus Leatherdale

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