A brisk north wind cavorts across the roof and through the sleeping trees in the garden, making frozen oak branches ring like bells. Seen up close, the icicles embellishing our old trees are abstract glossy confections—they're filled with tiny bubbles and suspended against bright blue sky. Madcap gusts dislodge twigs and tiny shards of ice that skate across the shingles on the roof, then plummet over the eaves into the snowdrifts wrapping the house like pillowy comforters stuffed to the seams.
No matter what thermometer one embraces, it is often well below zero here in February. Predictions are that springtime will be late this year so it will probably be several weeks until the maple syrup season begins, and the great geese sing their way home again. If my favorite birds have any sense (and they are canny birds indeed), they will remain in the south for a while longer this time around. Never daunted by cold and wind and snow, owls are already nesting in the eastern Ontario highlands, and that is a cheery thought.
Having been charged with remaining indoors until a persistent fever abates, I slip outside for a few minutes anyway and snap photos of trees and icicles, chimneys and sky. Wrapped up warmly and looking like a yeti (or an abominable something anyway), I stand in the wonderfully pebbled snow in the garden and capture a few images.
Out of the blue, a thought comes as I turn to go back inside before anyone notices that I am no longer in there, but rather out here. It is the images that are capturing me this morning, and not me capturing them. It's a Zen thing.