Here’s what I figured: Karoline’s tale was part of a bigger picture, a sort of Norsk version of how life should be lived, what with that rapturous and idiomatic notion of friluftsliv, the joy found in an outdoor lifestyle, and allemannsretten, the ability of every Norwegian to free-range across the land, fences be damned. But in pursuit of what? Their bliss, apparently.
Immortality of narrative is dependent on the mortality of beings,” humorist and ecocritic Michael Branch told me one day when I described Beckey’s career. “I mean, that’s how our stories really fill the holes that our lives occupied. Physical death is the first day of the rest of your life if you’re a folk hero.
THAT THE SIERRA might not be so very nevada one day might have been inconceivable to the Spaniards who named the range, or to members of the Donner Party who struggled through house-high drifts, or to those World War II-era entrepreneurs who built ski lifts reaching to the tops of Mammoth Mountain, Tahoe’s Slide Mountain, Mount Lincoln, Heavenly Peak, and Squaw Peak. But Sierran snow seems to have become more fickle. Although there have been the hallelujah winters