Mountain Musings with Uncle Mott – Shangri-La

May 18, 2023 | Uncle Mott


There were some anxious moments back in March when some of our mountaintop communities were literally islands unto themselves, as all routes into and out of the area were rendered useless by torrents of rain, snow, flowing mud and falling rocks.

Welcome to Shangri-La, that mystically romantic mountain paradise, cut off and hidden from civilization, as depicted in the 1937 movie classic Lost Horizon. Anyone who’s familiar with the film knows paradise isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

Your kisses take me to Shangri-La. Each kiss is magic that makes my little world a Shangri-L., (“Shangri-La” – The Four Freshmen – 1962)

Whose fault is it…Mother Nature? Caltrans? Ourselves? Actually, a good case could be made for any or all of the above. Of course, Mother Nature is to blame, there’s no stopping her, but Caltrans could have fixed the roads right the first time instead of doing patchwork repairs. Some even say it’s our own fault for living here, that we should have known this was going to happen someday.

Now that we know whose fault it is, what are we going to do about our predicament? I don’t see much chance of altering Mother Nature, but now that Washington has seen fit to issue an emergency proclamation, Caltrans should have adequate funding to fix the roads properly, but what’s up with all the switching back and forth between lanes on Highway 18?

Now that we’ve discussed that problem, what do we do in the meantime? I don’t know about you, but I’m going to pop another can and continue enjoying life here in Shangri-La. Down-the-hill folks often refer to us as “mountain dwellers,” much like we sometimes refer to them as “flatlanders.” Very well, I’ll go with mountain dweller; after all, I’ve been called worse things.

By the way, how do you know if you’re a mountain dweller? You just might be one if you can see blue sky in the daylight and stars at night; your 10-year-old kid knows how to tune up a chainsaw; you can tell how much it’s gonna snow by the length of the checkout line at Stater Bros; you actually follow the high altitude directions on the back of the cake mix box; you’re on a first-name basis with the post office clerk; you get the latest news at The Stockade; you prefer flannel shirts and jeans to polo shirts and Dockers; you don’t own an air conditioner; there are no bars on your windows; your kids awaken at 6 a.m. and go online to find out if there’s school today; the waitress asks if you want the usual; you know the difference between rain and tree-rain; and you talk to the squirrels.

Be mine, my darling, and spend your life with me in Shangri-La.

Keep it flyin’,

Uncle Mott


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