Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Small Openings

We have rung every possible seasonal weather change of late, the pendulum oscillating from snow and deep icy cold to rain and temperatures above zero, then back to subzero temperatures, snow and bitter winds. Yesterday there was a little sunlight, and it made my creaking bones and weary heart glad. This morning, it is snowing, and it will snow all day, lucky us. There are several centimetres of white stuff in the offing.

My neighbours have begun to inquire if my canine companion still lives here. Snow in the garden behind the house is so deep that they can't see Beau running around the circular track I keep shoveled out for him there. The walls of his makeshift twitten are almost four feet high, and he disappears from view completely when he is standing in it or galloping round and round in circles. Enough already.

Areas around the creek are sheltered from the north wind and blowing snow by embankments on both sides, by tall old trees in whiskery winter splendor. There are footprints along the creek's verges, the meandering tracks of birds and field mice, cottontail rabbits, now and then a raccoon. On this day, there were also the prints of a weasel, or ermine as it is known in winter when its fur turns white. Not surprising as the little creature is a fierce and very proficient mouser.

The diminutive tributary is blanketed with snow except for an opening near the bend where the water flows a little faster. In that small and hopeful aperture, the icy water sparkles, holding clouds and light and whiskery branches. It sings blithely of springtime and green things emerging from the earth, of wildflowers blooming and geese coming home. It counsels patience. Soon, it says, very, very soon.

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