Winter Resort

Winter wonderland for skiing, skating and snowshoeing when the mood strikes and the weather is perfect. Nature-made snow sculpturing. Little birds buffeted by wind in their brave search for seeds and suet. Nights with clear skies, millions of stars overhead. Sometimes eyes stream from the cold. Absolute beauty. Makes you glad to be alive just so you can see it.

winter resort skiing-photo-Jim-StewartWhere is this paradise? At home. Open fields perfect for cross-country skiing with flat expanses and some small slopes to add a little thrill – spills too. Step off the porch, put your skis on and go. No strapping skis to the roof of a car or wrestling to put them inside then having to drive home again with wet, cold clothes and dogs.

A small spring-fed stream makes a skating rink.  As long as the snow isn’t too deep, the wind is your zamboni. It’s not the Rideau Canal, but it’s enough. A milk crate provides a seat for putting skates on.

Snowshoes get you through the fields and into the woods to check on trees and animals. Silence. The snow baffles noise. Just you and Nanook of the North, wearing Poodle camouflage.

Three winters here, each different. One with snow and sun, wind and storms spaced out as if planned by a tour guide. Second – snow, melt, snow, melt. A crust of ice thin enough to break when walked on but thick enough, when cracked, to trap a foot. Impossible for arthritic old dog legs. Third winter, no mild spells to melt snow before more piled on top. Snow mountains from the plow, rounded snow bluffs made by the wind. Walkways for dogs, people too, made with the snowblower.

Sometimes the wind blows so hard the house howls. Snow drives straight across hard from the northeast. You bend sideways to keep upright. Maybe you have to go out, maybe you don’t. But you go out anyway, just to feel it and then feel the warmth when you come back inside.

The hens stand in their coop doorway, wanting to go into the sun. They do, but quickly run back inside. Still too cold. Birds not seen since last year return to the feeders.

The days get longer. Daylight savings time soon. It is nice to have the light, but I mourn the end of winter.