It’s an imaginary world. Sometimes we’re deep in the bush other times dreaming at night.
Willow slept most of the day after the cold night. The cold can take it out of you. It’s like exercising without moving. It strips the body, leaving only what’s needed.
Being older, it takes on greater meaning. Sometimes wisdom is just concurrence letting things be. Then again, I’ve never been more prepared for a fight. That’s the old man talking.
Cold water. Ice. Temperatures dipping. Snow. Knee deep. Frost bite. Dim light.
We’re all warriors until we slip on a patch of ice.
The Milky Way over Columbia Lake. Venus can be seen over the ridge. Jupiter is above and to the right. Light pollution from the town of Canal Flats and atmospheric airglow contribute to the surreal colour. It should be noted these colours can not be seen by the eye but is recorded on the camera’s light sensitive sensor.
It cleared up this weekend and only seemed fitting to get a few shots of the stars. Jupiter and Venus rise in the morning before dawn near the brightest part of the Milky Way, as viewed from this part of the Earth.
The Hoodoos and stars.
Lisa, Willow and I headed out in to the brisk -25 night. We drove south to Columbia Lake then walked to a bluff. The lake groaned below, the ice contracting in the cold. It is a sound I grew up with and always makes me feel good. I always thought it sounded like whales singing when I was a kid.
We had to wait for Jupiter and Venus to rise along with more of the Milky Way. Finally they were up. Luckily we weren’t yet frozen. Very fine morning.
Woke up and all the puddles were froze. Some as nice as skating rinks. It reminded me of when the girls skated the puddles and the joy of finding such a surface.
Willow and I took to the creek behind the mountains. It was easy going after leaving the ice behind. The snow crunched under foot. Willow rode on top of the surface. The pussy willows were replaced with ice crystals.
Several flocks of Buntings flew and blended into the flat sky. I knew they would never land for a picture. The minus 13 wind was cold after yesterdays plus 8.
The garden gate.
Here it is the start of February and the temperature is 8°c., in a month it can go as low as -40!
A warm wind rolled in yesterday. The snow has mostly melted in the valley bottom, leaving puddles on the frozen ground.
Willow with a full coat of hair, looking worried, while winter seems to be coming to a premature end. “Did I grow this hair for nothing?” she was heard to say.
I had three people mention gardening to me today. It seems too early to consider. Still I looked at seeds online. Willow and I even strolled out to the garden. The deer have really trampled my garlic rows. Hopefully the plants won’t be effected. There is deer shit from asshole to tea kettle (asshole to tea kettle, was a saying my father regularly used. It means a lot and afar).
The forecast is calling for cold temps.
It was a good day to hang out in the wood pile.
Cooper’s and Papa’s axes.
Fresh cut pussy willows for the studio.
This is a first. Pussy willows in January. Before this, the earliest I have seen them is mid-February. They appear much more commonly in March.
I wasn’t looking for them, it being too early. They just caught me eye. At first I thought they were ice or snow. It is hard to believe they are out so early.
This has been a strange year. Not only have we not had a cold streak of -20° for an extended period, we have not had much snow in the valley bottom.
The ice on the lake is also thinner than it is usually. There haven’t been many trucks or ice shacks on the surface. Nor has the Whiteway, a skating and skiing track on Lake Windermere, been able to open.
Last year near the end of February, after a warm spell, I convinced Lisa to come with me to look for pussy willows. She said we were too early and she was right, we didn’t find any. We were in the same spot I found this years. On the way back down the mountain I got the truck stuck and had to dig it out of the snow.
This year we can get higher into the mountains. There is still plenty of snow, but I suspect the snowpack is way down.
There is still lots of winter left and things could turn around. If not this will go down as a very mild winter.
Jake runs with Chewy. Dave looks on.
Dave, Jake and I thought it was about time we let the dogs get to know each other. Jake and Dave’s dog, Chewy, a purebred poodle is six months old, only a puppy. She is an intelligent specimen of the breed, with expressive eyes and smile if you can see through all the fur.
Willow wasn’t sure what to make of all the excitement. Jake and Chewy ran rampant. Taking turns knocking each other into the snowbank. Willow tried not to get trampled and had to give a snarl and nip on occasion.
Jake sharpens the end of a stick. Regardless of age one must have something to run with.
Dave and I talked about people who have died recently. There has been quite a few. Local people. Winter can be hard on life. We are men after all, that’s why we talk, trying to be serious, knowing someday we will be the ones talked about.
In the meantime, it’s kids and grandkids, knee deep snow, colours dim but alive in winter’s waning light and dogs running happy.
We all agreed, men, boy or dog, it’s hard to be serious when January feels like spring.
The creek bottom. Red willow and mountain tops.
Such a nice day, Willow and I decided to spend the afternoon at the river. The snow is mostly gone from the valley bottom. It hovered around 3°c. I parked myself on a log. Willow carried sticks around. Dropping them near me and then standing in the river wanting me to throw them for her, which I did. She has me trained well.
Willow packing her stick over the tracks. She always brings one back with her.
We watched a train go by. In honour of Jim from Iowa I counted the cars, 124 and two engines. Some of the cars had snow on them from coming through the Revelstoke pass. It has been a long time since I counted cars. It was a favourite pass time when I was a kid. Sometimes, I’d lose interest mid-train. Looking back I guess my attention span wasn’t too long. Or perhaps there was just so much to do on those tracks beside the river that I couldn’t wait to get at it.
Plenty of birds. I heard a woodpecker drumming, a Kingfisher rattling, a flock of Waxwings chirping, cleaning up rose hips in the wetlands. I saw none, but a lone Water Ouzel, dipping on the opposite shore, undisturbed by Willow and our juvenile stick antics.
My log by the river, cleverly disguised with bad focus and light leaks.
The water was clear. I looked for fish. Perhaps they are still on schedule, considering it’s only January.
The old pontoon bridge. A long ago used drunken shortcut from The National in Radium to home in Wilmer.
If this keeps up there will be pussy willows by February. Very fine day/
It still looks snowy up Forster.