The days are short,
The sun a spark,
Hung thin between
The dark and dark.
Fat snowy footsteps
Track the floor.
Milk bottles burst
Outside the door.
The river is
A frozen place
Held still beneath
The trees of lace.
The sky is low.
The wind is gray.
Purrs all day.
- John Updike
It was - 16 Celsius, - 26 with the wind chill. The snow lay somewhat deep, powdery and in disorderly drifts. More snow was coming down. After 9 years of wimpy winters on the west coast I was thrilled to finally get out on a classic Canadian cold and snowy winter day.
And what better way to celebrate a perfect January day than to go on a ritual snowshoe trek in semi blizzard conditions?
I went out my back door and boogied through the field that slopes down to the forest. The wind soon convinced me to pull my hood up and draw it tight. With sounds muffled by the snow, everything was wooly and fuzzy like an isolation tank as big as my back yard.
The wind spoke to me. As did the snow, the grass, and the trees. Especially the trees. I felt a strong pull towards certain trees, and the forest invited me to enter and explore. "Magic is all around", everything was saying.
After a while my legs were tired, my nose was dripping, and my left thumb felt like it was in the primary stage of frostbite. I was loving it - the challenge of survival, not to mention finding joy in winter.
More. I wanted more and couldn't stop. I followed roads and trails through the forest, all the while seeing my new surroundings for the first time. The landscape welcomed me, and I immersed myself in it deeply.
I felt perfectly safe in the shelter of snow-covered conifers. I could have stayed out for hours except my thumb began to hurt from the cold. Time to go in, warm up, and listen to some music. Or play some. Or both.
Outside. Inside. Everywhere there is magic. But inside is the magic of a wood fire and glorious, glorious heat.
It is January. Feel the magic, and stay warm. The heat of the sun returns... slowly, but surely.