Follow the ridge. Telemark through the spruce.
There is a little extra daylight. Not much but noticeable. There is something to be said about the colours of winter, deep shades of grey, colours only seen at this time of year, hues of mauve and blue.
Evaluate the shadows in winter to plan a walk in summer.
To be without would be a shame. To see them a gift. The owl on a snag, eagles waiting for a fish or a duck to get separated. The mountain ridge fully defined. And the quiet that accompanies it.
It’s the kind of weather that feels cold. Snow or rain most of the time, wet and overcast. Everything is grey, it seems, even the snow.
Inside is hot, outside holds a chill. Caught between seasons and unusual for November, usually cold as fuck frozen
Got in a few casts before the lake was completely frozen. The fish weren’t biting. The next time I’ll be dangling a hook down a hole in the ice, never hopeful with such a situation, no action on the lure, no casting where the fish just jumped.
They say time compresses. In the right state, at the right time you can hear the paddle wheelers stuck in the salmon flats trying to make the last 400 yards to Lake Windermere.
It’s whoops and yells and calls for more firewood.
The church bells ring a valley over. Signalling time for the lonely, looking for hides, to return to the cabin.
There’s still the ones who went off the pontoon bridge, a couple every year, yelling ‘shit’, before drowning in 6ft of muddy water, trapped in a tangle of heavy metal, the radio still on static.
Put an ear to the track, can you hear the spikes being driven, the dynamite going off ahead clearing the way? Getting ties from the travelling mill, cutting the biggest and easiest.
It’s there somewhere.
Time that is.
Was behind the mountains where we used to catch fish in the streams. Where we sipped the cold water from the spring beside the trail. How we used to look forward to it on a hot day after exploring the back country, or hunting for deer and elk, sometimes we only came home with chicken. I remember thinking, if it wasn’t for all these damn trees I’d be able to see something to shoot at.
Now the trees are large and I wonder sometime if they were always there. Every trip it’s like I’m seeing them for the first time. Same as the ridges, the way the light hits them. It’s cold in the creek bottom, dark and icy, but those ridges basked in the last light look mighty inviting.
I don’t go far, never have, there is still plenty of ridges, I haven’t walked, without ruck or crowd, right under my nose. Tamarack, old, hard, and twisted. Scree slopes, waterfalls, fish behind rocks, mountains that change depending on the light, enough for 10 lifetimes if you had four sets of eyes.
It’s getting chilly. The snow is on the mountains. You could die if you break your ankle, freeze if you fall through the ice, get lost in the crooks and crags, too scared to move in the dark.
Who needs a jet plane to explore? When you can count on the stars.
Two Boxers got on Willow, she realized she was in trouble and was fighting back. I saw it from inside and ran out. A couple boots and I picked up Willow. This is not what you are supposed to do when your dog is being attacked by other dogs.
The Boxers where persistent. They snapped at her. Unlike some of the other fights I’ve been in I had to use both feet. I hit them in the chest. I was out of breath by the time the Boxers ran off.
I knocked a Rottweiler out once, when I was a youngster I was bitten plenty, I kicked him right under the chin. The clack his teeth made was like the sound when a good punch lands. It was square. Never planned.
He stumbled around for awhile and retreated.
It can go either way. That’s dogs for you when they remember they were once wild.
It’s been awhile. The stars are up there still. The old moon this morning was a reminder of dark skies, the best time to wonder around.
So off we went.
Plenty of cloud, not the best conditions. Willow and I headed higher without further success. We walked the old road trying to register bearings. Taurus, up in the valley bottom, was down in the mountains. Cassiopeia was left, showing the way to Andromeda. Despite the weather, or the week, or the news, or our predicament, distance became irrelevant.
That happens when you are where you belong.
Watched the snow from a distance, in the valley bottom, the mountains were calling, it would have felt good up there.
It’s a warm wind, even sickly, grey clouds, the leaves are hanging on, the lake finally left alone. The boats brought in and the tourists gone home.
The wood needs splitting, but it ain’t cold enough to seriously tackle it. For now, it’s good enough it’s in.