Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Walking in winter
We did the shopping including buying some liver treats for dogs and cats, suet and bird seed for you know who, (not the turkeys!), dog and cat food and assorted other necessities. Then I decided that I'd drive by the wood lot on the way home and the dogs and I would go for a walk. It was such a beautiful day.
Such is the way of weather, that by the time we got to the wood lot it had clouded over. However, it still seemed like a good idea. So out of the car jumped the dogs and we started off - when I realized that perhaps I'd made a mistake.
Wearing my "Sunday go to meeting" boots, not my normal rubber boots for walking in wet, I'd not thought this through. On our wee property, the land is frozen where we walk. There are iced over puddles and the wee fish pond has frozen once again, the aerator creating bubble patterns like the finest crystal in the centre.
Stepping carefully along the road allowance in the wood lot - and then along the pathway, densely blanketed with leaves, I crunched my way along, avoiding as best I could where the dogs paw prints obviously said "water here, mud over there." The puddles and freshets had not frozen very deeply.
The pathway sounded like crackling twigs but in reality it was skims of ice under the surface of the leaves, but not deeply into the ground. The entire walk I watched my feet and didn't stop for my usual meditation, or quiet look around at the beauty of the bush lot. Even with no snow it was lovely I determined with the odd quick glance around. The heavy sift of leaves, many coloured browns and beige was broken by splashes of acidic green - mosses unphased by the cold, stretched lovingly over the sides of roots and stones as if to keep what was beneath it warm.
Suddenly the sound of my crunching feet was broken by hysterical barking. As I got closer to a huge beech, up one of the smallest limbs imaginable, I saw this enormous raccoon staring down at me.
"What are you doing letting these devilish dogs loose in MY woods," it seemed to say as it stared at me, not the dogs, while clinging to a stem I thought couldn't possibly hold it.
I trudged on, determined to make a truncated circuit but make it I would, to give the dogs a good run...they run in this woodlot far more than anywhere else we go for walks. The dogs, much to my surprise, grew quickly bored with the creature up the tree and ran off ahead of me.
Closer to evening we were doing a circuit of our pasture. The second walk of the day. The dogs trotted or walked ahead of me sort of lacklustre. Then Bliss took off like a shot - I watched in surprise - what was he after? Suddenly he was face down in a snow drift - bottom in the air, tail wagging enthusiastically rubbing his head, ears, nose and chin turning it again and again, as if he was wiping his face the icy remains of the drift. Aha I thought - that's what they were looking for today. Snow! The dogs love it as much as me.
And tonight we've been rewarded. As I type this, a fine drift of snow is hardly visible in the air but my deck is turning white. Real winter has returned. I said my thanks to the winter gods.
I know some of you will think I'm simple minded to love the snow. But we all have our likes and dislikes - and the wonderful changing seasons in this part of Canada is one that I find blissful. I hope you have something this evening or tomorrow that makes you feel blissful, or at the very least enjoy. And make a wish - you never know it might come true like mine did! I think there's magic in the air.