Monday, November 13, 2006

Fen and Pine

November usually holds out revelations of some kind, and while they are occasionally surprising, they always seem to give me food for thought.

As this month at the cusp of the seasons moves into its middling days, the annual northern phenomenon is in full swing here as myriad friends and former colleagues ferret out their summer togs, secure their domiciles, pack up their "stuff" and head south to the mountains of Mexico, the coast of Texas, northern Florida or faraway Bahamian islands set like jewels in wide and sunlit seas.

There is something completely different in motion here, and perhaps it constitutes a seasonal malaise of sorts, then again perhaps not. My own November thoughts are of an altogether different pattern and colour, but they are no less urgent for all that.

This morning I awakened with an vision of endless boreal forest lingering behind my eyelids, the smell of woodsmoke in my nostrils, a deep need to pack up my snowshoes, parka and battered old enamelled coffee pot and head out for points northern, wild and snowy. The longing today was so strong that it almost brought me to my knees, and it reduced me to tears for a few minutes. I don't shed tears gracefully, and I probably made quite an apparition.

The truth of the matter is that palm trees, lagoons and sunny beaches are not for this creaky old hen, and they just don't "do" it for me. Such places are lovely, but they are usually crowded and strike no chord within me - they rouse no enthusiasm whatsoever. This morning I need fragrant jackpine trees stretching into the distance, frost rimed fens, icy gorges and the companionship of good friends to share the journey with. A few wolves singing at twilight would be good too. Oh, how I wish I could go.

A collaborative Monday effort written with Shelley Krause for One Deep Breath is published here.


Peaceful/Paisible said...

I watched Tv today, my son 's being here, he wants to share...a cooking program, in sweden, the girl was cooking fidh near a lape tant for in the north of scandinavia...Sames's country...I love it so much, anytime I see it I cry and feel all my body longing for it...There's something in the north...that calls us...something very deep, coming from long away, long ago...I can just imagine how you feel Cate...
Love from Mousie

Anonymous said...

Oddly enough, just this morning, while editing some photos of Blakeney Rapids for my blog, I realized what seemed "wrong" when I was there yesterday. The hemlock and white pines seemed still and rather brooding, the way they do in winter, but there's no snow on the ground. I've always loved visiting the rapids late in the year when the rocky shores begin to freeze with rime, and there's a layer of fine, fesh snow scattered round the lichen-covered granite outcrops. The snow-laden boughs of the hemlocks sweep down from above like deep emerald draperies, absorbing sound and creating such a peaceful atmosphere. I believe that's what is "missing" at the moment.

Maya's Granny said...

We currently have huge snowflakes, the ones the size of your thumb nail, swirling around outside my office window. We are expecting two feet of snow by tomorrow morning. It covers everything and softens the noise. In the morning I can hear the sound of a raven's wings as she flies above me. It is enchanting.

Tabor said...

I am afraid that I love all of the places on earth, the beaches, the hills, the mountains, the praries and the deserts to name a few places. I do like them much better when they are not crowded with throngs, though.

robin andrea said...

I also prefer the cool forest to the warm beaches. I like being invigorated by the cold. It enlivens my senses and awakens me, in the way the hot temps of a tropical paradise just wouldn't. Very beautiful photograph.

Kim Antieau said...

I am imagining you out there, howling with the wolves! You're giving me a different view of the coming winter. I grew up in Michigan and eventually left because I hated the winters. And here in the Columbia River Gorge in Washington where we live we dread the winters because of ice and power outages that happen when it is way too cold and too dangerous to drive somewhere that has power. But I'm going to try and welcome it this year. Thanks, darlin'!

Maureen said...

I love love love the way you write, kerrdelune! your words evoke the literal smell of wood smoke in my nostrils -- NOT just in my imagination. guess I have a super strong imagination.... well, we are going to be having Thanksgiving this coming week at the cabin in the mountains, so i really will get to breathe in deep swales of woodsmoke. I wish you luck getting to the far north country, having enough snow to use your snowshoes ... and sunlight streaming down through pine branches.

Like you, I am one of those who does not crave going south in winter. I much prefer the crisp cold -- the kind of cold that gives your nose and brain room to smell (as opposed to oppressive (to me) heat or humidity that clings to the smells of life)

I prefer the muted colors, lonelier walks, lower but lighter skies of winter in the Rocky Mountains ... I love the way, in winter, nature lies down from her exuberance. She rests. She goes inward, making it that much more okay for me to go inside -- inside my heart, inside my house, inside my thoughts. Doesn't mean I'm always "up" and happy in late fall and winter here in Montana. Somehow in winter, my heart opens even when I'm feeling down.

Love this piece of writing! And the photo - exquisite. so peaceful. Wish I could go hiking in the jackpines with you.