Wonderful Walter Cooke

Lord of The Woods

Walter worked for the US Forest Service in fire suppression the summers he was 17, 18 and 19--back in 1953 through 1955. He spent most of his time at Mt. Shasta trimming the lower limbs off of pines with a pole saw. This was supposed to create straighter higher grade timber. On occasion he'd get sent out into the old lava flows to chase down a fire caused by a lightening strike. The second summer, he even got to drive the tanker truck that they used to haul water to fight fires. Once he got flown down to LA County to actually fight a big fire.

Walter A Cooke at Lake Tahoe with Ponderosa PinesWhen he went off college to Cal Berkeley he hadn't made up his mind yet whether he'd major in engineering or forestry. In the spring of that first year he had to make up his mind. He had the option to enter a work-study program in engineering that would allow him to work in engineering jobs for six months and to go to school for six months each year. This would easily pay for his tuition and room and board which was a major issue since he was paying his own way.

So he spent a day walking around in the rain crying trying to decide between spending his life in the forests he loved or as he says, going for the money. He knew that life in the Forest Service wasn't going to be everything he dreamed of. Once he had a degree he wouldn't get to spend much time out in the woods and instead he'd end up behind a desk waiting for some head ranger to die or retire so he could get a promotion. After much soul searching he chose to become an engineer. And really never regretted it since he really has loved his work.

He spent a lot of years hunting and fishing in California so he could be out in the woods. Finally he realized he could do that without having to do the hunting or fishing since he really didn't like either fish or venison!

When we were living in community in Massachusetts he got to spend more time out in the woods. Each Saturday he'd spend the community workday out in the woods cutting firewood or clearing brush and he loved it. A housemate looked up the meaning of Walter and told him it meant Lord of the Woods. This made such great sense that it stuck.

Walter A Cooke at Ponderosa State Park McCall IdahoWhen his wife, Sara, first began channeling, Harmony, one of the angels she channeled, played a game with folks she called the Creation Game. She took them through a series of questions to determine what species on planet earth they were involved in the creation of. When Walter did this process, it came out that he'd created the Ponderosa Pine. Ponderosas live all through the Sierra and on the east slope of the Cascades, country he loves very dearly. They're tall and straight and grow in widely spaced stands with very little undergrowth--a lot like Walter who is tall and thin and likes his space.

When we moved to Winterhaven, our home in Monroe, WA, the first thing he found himself doing was limbing up all the Doug Firs around the house to let light in. After a few weeks he stopped and realized he was doing his best to make them look like Ponderosas which usually lose their lower limbs as they age--unlike Doug Firs.

Winterhaven is about 2 acres with half in woods and half cleared for the house and garden. The acre of woods provides us with plenty of firewood in the form of downed or dead trees. Walter spends much of the summer cutting up downed limbs and chopping and stacking wood to supply our wood stove in the winter. And one of us favorite pastimes is to pick up the Doug Fir cones that fall all over the driveway and lawns. He puts them, along with all smaller downed limbs and prunings through his chipper. It makes great mulch.