Reflections on Snow

By M. F. Erler

Snow…I’ve lived in places that get a lot of it.  Like Ashton, Idaho–where about four feet on the level was an average winter.  Michigan, where lake effect could dump a couple of feet in a couple of hours.  And I will admit I never liked driving in it, especially after I slid off Montana Highway 37 one day between Rexford and Eureka.

But now, I find myself wishing for it. No, I’m not a skier, though there has been some cross-country skiing in the past.  Maybe it’s because I’m retired…

I have two theories on this.  My current one is I’m reverting to my childhood.  I grew up in southern Arkansas (until I turned 11).  I never saw snow until I was past five years old.  It was amazing!  I remember running out to touch and being surprised that it was cold.  Maybe I was expecting that cottony stuff they put in the store windows to look like snow.

It never snowed at Christmas in Arkansas, but my two younger brothers and I always secretly wished for it.  Dad helped this along by playing his old 78-rpm Bing Crosby record every Christmas Eve.  It was “White Christmas” of course.  white christmas

When we moved to northern Illinois in 1963, I had my first actual white Christmas, and the house we were renting even had some old sleds in the garage.  What fun we had!  I guess this is my current state of mind–looking for ways to find joy in life, as the years fly past me.  Being back in Montana and seeing the snow-covered mountains is wonderful.  And I am thankful for the old memories, too. 


February Book News


LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Ah, winter. We love it, but right about now, most of us wouldn’t mind a bit of a thaw! At least we are blessed with many sunny days here in Northwestern Montana — and many good friends and books!

I’ll be talking about writing, publishing, and using my hometown as a setting at the Bigfork Rotary ClButter Off Dead (final)ub at noon, Wed Feb 8, at the United Methodist Church in Bigfork. And on Saturday Feb 11, at 1:00, I’ll be chatting about cozy mysteries — the lighter side — at the Mineral County Library in Superior.
The first grown-up mysteries many of us read were those of the great Agatha Christie. I’ll be talking about her continued influence on mystery writers at the opening of the Bigfork Community Players’ production of “Murder on the Nile,” based on her book, Death on the Nile, on Saturday, Feb 18, in the Bigfork Playhouse, the setting of my third Food Lovers’ Village Mystery, Butter Off Dead. Showtimes and dates on the Players’ website.

Read — it’s the best way to light a fire in your brain!



Marie F Martin enjoyed her time at Flowers by Hansen.  Here are a few photos taken by Lucinda of Crown Photograpy so you can see how nicely the authors were treated and what the public enjoyed at the First Night Event.


Marie showing a customer her books.

Marie and Shirley Rovik with their books

Marie and Shirley Rovik with their books


Betty Kuffel buying a book


Special Olympics were there.


Sparrows Nest was there


Marie’s Books



Cabin Fever in the Electronic Age

By: Deborah Epperson

According to the dictionary, cabin fever is an idiomatic term, first recorded in 1918, for a claustrophobic reaction that takes place when a person or group is isolated and/or shut in a small space, with nothing to do for an extended period.

I can understand how early settlers in rural locations could get cabin fever. There were no cars, phones, electricity, or the many things we take for granted today. But in this era of television, cell phones, computers, Skype, IPods, streaming videos, Facebook, eReaders, and a never-ending list of electronic wonders, it takes a lot of work to be “disconnected” from family, friends, or world events.

I never get cabin fever. There is simply too much to do. Research for a book or article, write, cook hearty stews or soups, answer emails, clean out the closets or design that special project to build next summer …here too, the list goes on and on. There are shelves of books, baskets of books, a Kindle full of books waiting to be discovered. There are stories running through my mind, scenes playing out in my dreams, and characters waiting to be named and given life on pages I have yet to write.

When I need fresh air and just want to play, I let loose the hounds (in this case – golden retrievers) into the fresh fallen snow. They romp, frolic, and roll around making their equivalent of snow angels. They’re like two silly kids enjoying a snow day. When play time is over, we trudge back inside to find a warm fire, a treat for them, and cocoa for me. Nope, there’s no time for cabin fever here in our winter wonderland.

Thanks for stopping by,


by Deborah Epperson

Breaking TWIG

Breaking TWIG




I’ve always loved snow. As a teen, I lived Joni Mitchell’s fantasy by actually having “a river I could skate away on.” Toboggans, snowmen, snow angels embodied the fun of winter for every child. As an adult, I’ve held on to that fun by cross-country skiing and tramping around on snowshoes in Glacier National Park. One of my favorite memories is a lovely “conversation” with two deer that appeared neither frightened nor surprised to see me.

But, snow is an equalizer with regard to more than recreation. It is beautiful, and beauty holds an element of mystery for observers. I’m always reminded of that when soundless veils of snow sweep from evergreens.

Poets and authors use snow’s transformative ability to show how it can test mere mortals. Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” is a cautionary tale about what happens to those who don’t respect nature in winter. The Indifferent Stars Above by Daniel James Brown, an account of the Donner party, conveys the same with horrors of cannibalism thrown in. James Meek’s novel, The Peoples’ Act of Love, includes the same taboo, but also makes snow symbolize the effects of the Russian Revolution which drove people to commit unspeakable acts to survive, or to rescue those they loved.

My favorite literary snowfalls come from Emily Dickinson and James Joyce. Dickinson acknowledges snow’s playful moods in “Snowflakes,” as well as its equalizing quality in her poem, “Snow.”

I’ll end with the close of Joyce’s story “The Dead.” The main character, whose wife has just told him she once loved another man, looks out on the snow-filled night, “…he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”

Play in snow, appreciate its loveliness, but always respect its power and mystery.