It's twelve degrees and sunny today. Only yesterday, the snow was so deep that when I tried to walk outside I was thigh-deep in it before I'd walked 100 feet. I had to turn around and come back inside. I felt so discouraged. The longtime locals all tell me this has been the worst winter they can remember in a decade. I know perfectly well it's going to be freezing cold for the remainder of the month and I'm going to be prowling around the house like a caged beast, but it's been far worse than in previous years because I've had health troubles this winter that have been exacerbated by the cold. I really needed to know how I'd be able to cope once the warm weather arrived, because honestly, there's no point in being here if I can't enjoy the backbreaking labour that fills my every spring, summer and fall day. I was hoping I'd feel well when it warmed up, because my trips out to the carport for firewood this winter are less taxing on warmer days, and such torture on very cold days that I've had to opt out of burning firewood on occasion and use just electric and propane heat.
This morning, my first trip outside was to the compost bin (now that I am able to find it under the snow). I freeze my vegetable scraps which helps them break down into compost more quickly, but there wasn't much room left in the freezer. That done, I checked the level in the propane tanks (32% full, so at least I won't run out) and then I thought, "I wonder how deep the snow is out on the land".
It's to the very top of my rubber boots, and a bit deeper in some places. But, as I said, it's a warm day, and I thought it wouldn't hurt to walk to the top of the very steep hill that leads down to the wooden bridge to the island. Last fall, I'd tied a rope to the trees on the left side of the hill, to hold onto as I descended. I'd forgotten that rope was there, but once I was at the top of the hill, still feeling fine, I figured I'd grab onto the rope and see if I could make it down the hill. The snow was surprisingly deep, but gravity was working in my favour and once I was at the bottom of the hill I was curious to see what damage the beavers had caused on the island.
I practically ran across the bridge. Once across, I noticed a few areas where new growth was already evident, and some circular areas around trees where there was no snow at all.
I walked to the north end of the island, looked at the sun glinting on the half-frozen water of the ponds, noted the damage to a few trees, and took a few photos and a little video.
Heading back, I dropped by my little yellow boathouse, The Adam Vaughan, peered in the windows and found that it had survived the winter admirably.
I took note of the major limbs that had fallen off my huge, gnarled willow tree, and wondered if they justified the purchase of an even bigger chain saw.
When I got back to the house, I still felt like a million bucks. I can't begin to tell you what a lift this day has been to my spirits. I came inside and warmed up a large bowl of the lentil and barley soup I'd made yesterday (Google "Thug Kitchen Lemony Lentil Soup p. 85" and substitute pearl barley for potatoes).
Now I'm going to put my boots back on, find a garbage bag and some rubber gloves, and walk down the road as far as my neighbour Cathy's driveway, picking up the garbage that gets tossed out of car windows. Because what's better than feeling like a million bucks? Feeling virtuous and like a million bucks!
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