Woke up to the sound of Willow throwing-up the stick she ate the day before. She does that sometimes. It was 2:30am. I put her out and cleaned up the mess. I tried to go back to sleep with no success. Since it was clear, we (Willow and I) decided to go for a walk and look at stars. Willow was happy, it took me awhile to get into it. We opted to stay in the valley bottom. The ice is almost entirely off the lake. The Milky Way stretched the length of the lake and was visible regardless of the artificial light. By 7am it was off to work. The days only guarantee would be an early bedtime.
A White-Winged Crossbill makes a landing.
Willow and I were up into the mountains once work was complete.
The day with bright sunshine reached 10°c. The snow, in the valley bottom, is melting with nowhere to go. Big puddles reflect the blue sky. Soon the frost will come out of the ground and the water will be absorbed where it can do some good.
Sun halo. Caused by ice crystals in the air.
Willow and I walked a frozen snowmobile path into the mountains. The birds, numerous, chirped in unison, but most refused to be seen. It’s hard to consider yourself a smart animal in their company, under the spruce, rock and snow while they rule from above, laughing at our plight nature inflicted.
A Pine Siskin, responsible for the trees going ‘zzzweeeet’!
Once off the path I sunk up to my knee. I remembered being young, setting off in the morning in the cold, before the sun cleared the mountains, walking easy on top of the snow, only to find the same snow soft once the afternoon took over, and having to slog back slowly home, taking twice the time for the same distance.
Colour among the buds.
I kept the windows open on the ride home listening for song.
A couple of Crossbills commission last years’ copious cone crop.
Very fine morning.
The March winds are starting to blow. It won’t be long the ice and snow will break up, turning every patch of standing earth wet and muddy.
The birds have been singing and I even saw a few young Bighorn rams clacking heads. It’s good to practice the the fight and fuck so when they get older they’ll be good at it. It’s the same for humans whether we think so or not!
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.
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.
Willow keeps an ear out.
Went out to the bar tonight. It’s been awhile. My good friend turned sixty. Hunter was kind enough to come along. The food and beer was good. Everything is expensive. It has to be. $7 for a draft $20 for an appetizer.
It’s a new year. Not sure what to say about it. Last year was tough. We got by and in this day and age that’s a good thing. Maybe the most we can ask for. If lucky, this year will be much the same.
The truck not yet stuck.
According to the news the world is topsy-turvy. Worse than ever, they say. But I don’t think it’s changed that much. Some things have got better, some worse.
One thing that has stayed the same is our leaders are a bunch of self absorbed arseholes. But when haven’t they been?
Why I’m careful where I break trail.
We have had three days of above freezing temperatures. The lake has an inch of water on the ice. The snow has receded to the benches. The deer are walking around like it’s springtime. It’s disconcerting, I expect winter to be winter. I wake up and look outside to see if snow is falling. When it isn’t, I go back to bed but not to sleep.
Our occupation with the undoings of Trump and Trudeau is puzzling. They make good news. However they are far from us. They are certainly scoundrels. But they take away from the more dangerous scoundrels closer to home. Think about that School Superintendent that works to cut wages in the district and gives himself a raise. How about all those developers that, selflessly run for town council changing bylaws for their own benefit.
In 2019 fuck Trump and Trudeau and all their hype. It’s only a distraction. If you want to slay dragons, do it closer to home.
A small Downey chips away.
The night is clear. Orion is up ruling the dark. The temperature is dropping. I should be in the bush, knee deep in snow, Willow clearing the perimeter, with only an outward breath between me and the sky.
It has been a strange winter so far. The mountains are getting snow, yet very little in the valley bottom. The last week has seen temperatures above freezing during the day. Today was sunny and plus 5°. There is ice on Lake Windermere, but open spots here and there. The ice freezes different than when I was a boy. The open spots are in in other locations. It changed when they filled in some of the wetlands for development. It increased the pull of the river exiting the lake.
Columbia and Windermere Lakes are often described, by experts, to be a widening of the river. When I was young I used to try to see where the current was under the surface of the lake. I imagined a time when the lakes were not as wide. If the banks of the lake looked freshly cut within the last thousand years. I’d squint and remove the railway tracks and the few homes along the shore. I would look for schools of fish, under the ice, how they moved, if they were being fed by the years dead insects and animals finally loose on the current. During summer, I would swim the width of the lake feeling where I would get cold from water moving quicker under the hot sun. I would confirm it swimming back.
It is a lot tougher now trying to figure out the current. My father and I used to venture onto the ice, early in winter, when it was safe. We would put up a tree in the places the last of the ice froze, to warn people of thin ice. It was the same spots year after year. My father said there was a spring under the ice in those spots. The tree always looked like an undecorated Christmas tree. The warning was observed, everybody knew.
Now, the lake freezes later. The weak spots are more plentiful. The current doesn’t meander like it used to. I ask myself, why should it be different? The snow is coming. I know that.