In a few short weeks, hubby and I will pack up once again and make our way into yet another chapter of life; this time in Okanogan Country. In all actuality, it's not a place or a city or a county so much as it's a lifestyle. Time has not much altered the pioneer spirit that lives in the land itself, if not in the people who call it home: cowboys & ranchers & orchardists. The Colville Indians remain the fulcrum.
Okanogan Country encompasses miles and miles of mountains & lakes & streams, as well as agricultural and ranch lands. The domain is situated in the northeast corner of Washington State (the county itself covers 5,281 square miles, making it the 3rd largest county in the U.S.), & runs all the way into the mid-southern habitat of Canada's British Columbia. Scrub Pine and Sagebrush decorate most landscapes, as do grazing cattle and old, decrepit barns. The Colombia River puts in an appearance; and, in a much larger way, so too the rivers Okanogan & Methow.
Earlier this week we left our coastal home near Seattle to make the 4 1/2 hour journey to the Okanogan Valley. This time of year there's absolutely no doubt as to where that realm begins and ends. It's demarcated by a wide array of fruit orchards in full bloom - an assortment of apples, pears, apricots & cherries. Few are more lush or beautiful than the pear orchard that borders our home on three sides. We don't own the orchard, but are the blessed neighbors who get to enjoy it without worrying about its care.
A novel thought struck me as we drove to our new property on Monday: These pear trees remember from year-to-year to set leaves & blooms, and to begin growing in just the right conditions, & at just the right time.
I mulled over that thought many times during the days of our visit, grateful that God engraved certain things into the creation He crafted. No one ever need wonder if the pear trees will produce pears, or become disgruntled & decide to produce cherries, or asparagus instead. They are content to obey their original orders ~ season after season since He first instructed them.
I have the distinct impression I'm going to learn a good deal from those trees.
Footnote: It was here in the heart of Okanogan Country, and in the city of Okanogan that my grandparents chose to homestead and raise their family. It is, no doubt, why my heart feels so at home on this soil even though I never knew these two. However, before my days end, I hope to remedy that.
James Elmer & Annie Claire McFadden-Wells