Mountain Senior Scene

Mountain Hardy Seniors

~ By Serene Karplus ~

At age 75, Bonnie lived in a small cabin in the forest. A minimalist, she hauled water in on a sled, chopped firewood for her stove, and enjoyed a few hours a day of solar panel electricity. She had no phone and no car. When she needed to visit town, she hiked out of the forest and along the roadside with her thumb out en route to the bus stop miles away.

Bonnie is a slender wood nymph. Her eyes sparkle at the sight of everyone she loves and her heart glows when surrounded by Nature. She loved where she lived, quiet, away from the hubbub, with a million stars at night, stepping out to celebrate life and its diversity with dancers in the folk and international peace communities.

Hosting ceremonies in the forest, she invited friends to deepen their connection with the spirits of the trees. She worked to protect her beloved tree friends and wildlife. No one can own the spruces, firs, and pines, but the U.S. Forest Service owned the land around her cabin and cut them down.

Mounds of tree corpses piled around her. Friends gathered to mourn the loss of magnificent beings and bring what energy they could to heal the pain of the forest. Two years later, a wildfire begun by careless campers tore through and destroyed it all.

Bonnie’s cabin burned down with every simple thing she owned. Along with the mugs on the window ledge and the photo memories, Bonnie lost the computer containing her life’s work – fifty years of activism and the documents for her nonprofit educating and inspiring people to love and protect the land.

The fire consumed everything but Bonnie’s indomitable spirit. After grief, the sparkle returned to her eye as her dreams regained color. Yearning to return to a forest home, she endures the city, where circumstances have forced her to live to keep a roof over her head. She maintains faith that she will once again live with her friends the trees and wildflowers, elk herds, foxes, and bobcats.

Bonnie is a remarkable woman. But even more amazing than one woman’s story is how many people of such strength and deep connection to Nature live in the mountain communities. With tough resilience, mountain seniors stand strong against the fierce cold winds while sustaining a warm place in their hearts for every living being around them.