The bare deck boards have disappeared beneath a thick layer of ice and snow. The counting of bared deck boards will have to begin again! Which, as it happens, I will gladly do, because the deck boards are now piled high with the snow load that is falling from the roof. It isn’t all down yet. The off loading started at 2 a.m. this morning. I know because I was sitting in the living room waiting to feel sleepy at the time. More came down after noon today, and there is more to come. The side entrance to the house is completely blocked now, and if I need to get out quickly it will be onto the deck and over the railing. Which sounds like it might be a problem from the second floor; but it isn’t because the snow bank is as a whole storey high, so I could step right onto it and slide down, if the need arose.
The reflections from a strengthening sun this morning were almost blinding. And yet I was drawn to the window, to stare out at the sky, to savour the image of wet. The landscape was melting beautifully.
The spring equinox is fast upon us, arriving next week. Another winter has passed, and the opportunity to slip away to the south, for respite, is sleeping away. No matter, despite the fact that this was the most intense and relentless winter weather I have experienced in my lifetime, I have passed through it relatively unscathed. Cabin fever visited me for only a few hours, on two occasions over this past winter. It might have been that Attila worked shorter hours, and managed to come home for lunch frequently, that made the difference. Shorter hours had a domino affect on our lives in the winter months. One extra hour of free time each day gives Attila more opportunity to deal with the fire wood and snow removal. That in turn frees more time to spend with the family; that would be Mist and myself.
The other significant factor, which was totally beyond our control, was that I received few offers to work during the winter, and those offers that did suddenly appear were primarily of short duration, and in humane locations. Thus little of my time was spent in toxic environments, and none of my precious peace of mind was tattered and in need of mending. There was one significant exception to that, and so there were a few visits to the dark night of the soul.
This afternoon I spent several hours out of doors. There is an old plastic lawn chair that sits in the back yard, year round. It is blackened by weathering, uncomfortable by design, and expendable enough to store out of doors where it is readily put to use. After bundling up in parka and warm rubber boots, the chair was a natural destination. Carefully rearranged so that it did not sit directly under dead tree branches, it served its purpose well.
The wind sang gloriously, the trees swayed slowly, majestically, the transparent clouds rippled like water, the snow melt dripped in evolving syncopated harmonies. Breathing slowly, I became a solitary, unmoving, sensate particle of the whole. An hour passed without notice.
It was a red squirrel that ended the reverie.
A red squirrel has been living in our garden shed. Attila let him/her stay for the winter, as he did not discover him/her until after the snow had begun to accumulate; too late in the season for humane eviction. Being the territorial creature the he/she is, the red squirrel tolerated my presence in silence until the breaking point of his/her patience had been reached. The scolding began, loud and aggressive, delivered from various safe vantage points; the roof of the wood shed, a high tree branch, behind drifted snow, all these became soap boxes for harangue.
Poor red squirrel, he/she only succeeded in engaging the enemies’ interest. I watched with fascination as the strategies, to rid the landscape of me, were employed. Nothing worked! In fact, the longer the scolding, the louder the protests, the bolder I became at investigating the area, the woodshed, the woodpile, and gasp, I even walked toward the garden shed! Horrors!
Red squirrel gave up and retreated to high tree branches, where he/she leapt from tree branch to tree branch, until well out of sight.
I am sure Attila will hear all about this when he goes to the wood shed for our firewood tonight!
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Tuesday 11 March 2014
Pressure: 100.4 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Wind: W 21 km/h
“The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it.”
1856 – 1924
“Wilson won the presidential election of 1912 when William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt split the Republican vote. Upon taking office he set about instituting the reforms he had outlined in his book The New Freedom, including the changing of the tariff, the revising of the banking system, the checking of monopolies and fraudulent advertising, the prohibiting of unfair business practices, and the like.”
Source: Woodrow Wilson: Nobel Peace Prize 1919