Kirkwood tested us all: a broken promise and a test of skills. As the climate continues to change and shift, ever evolving as all creatures do, gone are the fearsome days that claimed the souls of the Donner Party and that howled as nameless blizzards to guard the rich treasures of the West. Perhaps, in the wake of exploration and expansion, Mother Nature no longer acts as keeper to a fading – arguably tainted – western jewel, and she has consequently lessened her ferocity.

She left us with little snow. And with little snow there was little work and such circumstances, at their root, left us with no money and no security. We all struggled. Sadly, in the face of hardships, we learn the natures of our companions in their truth, and we watch the purest things slowly starve as most are not willing to fight for the finest things in our short glimpse of life and others still are only fine when well fed. And thus we stifle the anger of those who take without balance or redemption, we feel the coldness of parasites gorged full on generosity, and we learn the ache of loving those who crave bliss without knowing the reward of earning it. But through such, I have learned to fall in love with hearts when they struggle, or at least to appreciate, admire, and support them at a deeper level in such times. A heart at its lowest, though still clinging to warmth but obviously faltering, can only grow warmer as it climbs.

Amidst the broken dreams and vows of winter, amidst the dry winds and biting ice too sharp and crystallized to be worthwhile terrain, amidst the heartache and struggle and confusion and fear there existed the greatest hearts I’ve ever seen, and for that I am blessed to have spent my idle days in Kirkwood.


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