Summer: It’s All Washed Away Except the Mouse Fur

Mt. Rainier at Paradise

For those of you living in parts of the country oppressed by heat waves and wild fires this year, I’m sure summer can’t be over soon enough to suit you. But in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, the season is short (typically July 5 through early September) and therefore, precious.

My husband and I took advantage of this last gasp of summer to head to Mt. Rainier National Park – just a couple of hours down the road from us – to spend a few delightful days of hiking, camping, and generally communing with nature. The weather was perfect. The wildflowers were out. Do you see why this place is called Paradise?

She had the unexpected happiness of an invitation to accompany her uncle and aunt in a tour of pleasure which they proposed taking in the summer… No scheme could have been more agreeable to Elizabeth, and her acceptance of the invitation was most ready and grateful. “Oh, my dear, dear aunt,” she rapturously cried, “what delight! What  felicity! You give me fresh life and vigour. Adieu to disappointment and spleen. What are young men to rocks and mountains? Oh, what hours of transport we shall spend?” (Pride and Prejudice, chapter 27) 

Tatoosh Range from Paradise

Like Elizabeth, we looked forward to getting away from the stress of daily life, to recharge our batteries and glimpse again the bigger picture. A magnificent mountain looming before you by day and a universe full of stars blanketing the sky overhead at night tends to put things in clearer perspective. But I digress…

No doubt you are wondering about the odd title of this post, so here’s how the story goes:

View from Faraway Rock

Yesterday morning, we went on another hike (to the viewpoint called Faraway Rock). As usual, my “once a boy scout; always a boy scout” husband was on alert as we strode purposefully along. He was watching for wildlife, or at least wildlife sign. He alertly spotted deer tracks in the dirt. Then he explained that an overturned log we saw in an alpine meadow was proof that a bear had been there, foraging for grubs on the log’s rotten underside. Finally, he pointed to some nondescript debris on the trail.

“What?” I said, unimpressed by the small pile of gray, fuzzy matter.

“Old coyote scat. It’s all washed away except the mouse fur.”

Sign on the Trail

I was amazed. How did he know that? Oh, yeah. I guess any boy scout worth his merit badges knows coyotes frequently dine on mice, and that the indigestible fur subsequently shows up in their excrement, which any true outdoorsman would call “scat.”

I continued to think about that line as we hiked along in silence. It’s all washed away except the mouse fur. Then it struck me that it was a great analogy for the end of summer (stay with me, now), especially with the first precipitation in 50 days forecast. Soon summer would be washed away with the return of the rains, and nothing will be left of it… except the mouse fur?

Okay, I admit that part of the analogy threw me for a minute. Then I realized what the mouse fur symbolized! When we are soon sent spiraling down into the cold, harsh realities of winter once more, the only thing we will have left of our lovely summer just past is the warm, fuzzy memory of happier days. Warm and fuzzy = mouse fur. Get it?

“It’s all washed away except the mouse fur.”

“Why, it’s pure poetry!” you cry out. “Philosophically profound!”

Handsome Boy Scout on the Trail, size XL

Am I right? But remember, I can’t take all the credit. The original words of wisdom came from my darling husband. He had no idea at the time he uttered them that they would inspire me so.

Who knows? I may feature more of his sage sayings in future blog posts! Or maybe I should stick with Jane Austen. What do you think?

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About Shannon Winslow

author of historical fiction in the tradition of Jane Austen
This entry was posted in Jane Austen, Jane Austen Quotes, life, Mt. Rainier and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Summer: It’s All Washed Away Except the Mouse Fur

  1. junewilliams7 says:

    Heh-heh! I’m glad you were able to find a bit of pure poetry. As for me, I would probably shriek at the thought of BEARS and COYOTES, and then head to the nearest Motel 6 for “camping.” You are a brave woman!

  2. Lol! I had my big, strong, boy scout husband to protect me, June. I love the mountains, but I draw the line at tent camping. I refuse to sleep on the ground anymore!

  3. When I saw your headline, I immediately thought of a post on another blog, about 18th century cosmetics and mousefur eyebrows. You can imagine the mental image I got! I enjoyed your blog very much.

  4. Jan says:

    Well, you can imagine my curiosity at the headline and very thrilled when I read your post. So, you draw the line when it comes to camping, huh? I am thoroughly amused when people talk about ‘camping’ in these parts of the woods. They are not ‘camping’ in their RV’s and camper trailers and whatnot. That is just home away from home!!!

  5. Ann says:

    Enjoyed the post Shannon. The beautiful pictures surely remind me of some places in Colorado. Oh, to be able to get out in nature again. I can always hope to do so again. I found the mouse fur analogy interesting. I suppose we all have a little something left over from every season and what better leftover than something that can be reused. If it’s a cold, cold winter, some little critter will gather that fur and line their den for warmth. Maybe even a mouse.
    I always enjoy your blog.

  6. Thanks for the comment, Ann! I like your thought about the mouse fur being recycled, although it might feel wierd for a mouse to line his den with his brother. Hahaha!

  7. Pingback: Word Play | Shannon Winslow's "Jane Austen Says…"

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