Restless.  A blue funk had hold of me so I took a few days ago to visit my dear pal Yogi up at Swan Lake (near Big Fork).  His house is tucked into the forest in a narrow tree-filled valley between the majestic Mission Mountains and frozen lakes.   No cell service.


The last stretch of road to Yogi’s bends and winds for an hour through thick forest.  Deer must be watched for.  Glimpses of lakes were a respite from trees.  Ice fishermen sat like salt and pepper   shakers on white linen – the remnants of a grand white-table clothed feast stained here and there with abandoned fishing holes.

We had a few shots at Yogi’s before attending the “Fireman’s Ball.”  Slipping in cowboy boots, I navigated across the obstacle course of slush and ice toward the community center where pink and red paper Valentine decorations hung from the paneled ceiling and cornmeal dusted the dance floor.  Yogi scored some Rose Tequila, Jack Daniels and a giant propane torch in the silent auction.  Other items included a delivery of propane, a load of gravel, a basket brimming with hand knit washcloths and a crocheted quilt. 

I met a  bubbly animated writer – a pretty little gal married to a big handsome clam grower.  They wintered in the Swan Valley while their clams hibernated in Vermont.  The cheerful big-boned ladies in the kitchen joked with me as we unwrapped tinfoil and plastic wrap from potluck food items.  The tiny community has less than 200 residents and it seemed like most of them were at the ball.

I’m guessing many of the Fireman’s Ball attendees were nursing hangovers the next day but we were out skiing with the dogs.  Yogi adopted two abandoned puppies…fluffy little bouncing fur balls.