January 10, 2015

January Magic


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.
The radiator
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.


  1. Snow IS magic! Thanks for the lovely photographs, Gregg. And have hot soup ready when you get home!

    1. Mmm, hot soup on a cold day. Perfect.

  2. Yes, the sun IS coming back. A fellow workmate commented on how bright it was, when we left the office yesterday: 5:00p.m. and not pitch black! You live in a lovely area, by the way.

    1. Deb,

      Thanks - I have been having fun getting to know our immediate area better, and it is proving to contain some amazing trees and forest. Lots of animal tracks, too.

      The sun rises here before 8 o'clock now, and sets after 5. Although it will be very cold tonight and tomorrow, I can feel that spring is on its way.

  3. Ignorance is bliss. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PW_XsaTnPyY

  4. Anonymous1/10/2015

    Still in the deep freeze here, with more snow to come. The sounds outside are so different when it's this cold, the snow crunching under your feet, the sound of your breath. I love the cold, then love coming into the warmth!

    1. Miss Marla,

      The cycles of the seasons are a joy to behold. On the west coast we had two seasons - wet and dry. Here you get all four in all their individual glory. I love it.

  5. Anonymous1/11/2015

    Ah, so nice you got out in the wild, exploring, pondering, enjoying. Read this quote on blog this week.

    “But winter was necessary. Why else would the world have it? The trees seemed to welcome the season, from the way they changed colors before they dropped their leaves and went to sleep. Winter was a part of a cycle, like day and night, life and death.”
    ― Merrie Haskell, The Castle Behind Thorns

    1. Terri,

      That is a beautiful quote that sums things up nicely. Make me think about the cycles of human life.

  6. Anonymous1/11/2015

    Opps, sorry, I forgot to sign my name to the anonymous post with the winter quote.

  7. Your post inspired me to dig out the cross country skis and boots we'd been gifted in the summer while helping a neighbour clear out her shed. With a couple of sticks as poles (they worked fine!) we had a wonderful afternoon scooting up and down the road. Next time we'll venture further afield.

    1. Jess,

      I feel good about inspiring you to get out since it is truly a beautiful time of year. If you can enjoy a cold, snowy winter you can enjoy every season.

      I used to cross country ski a lot, mostly on city golf courses that groomed ski trails all winter in their off season. Even though we were in the city, most courses were on gorgeous properties with lots of trees and perhaps a river or lake nearby.


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