I promised myself that I would add one of these stories here every time I told one. I tell them at one point or another throughout the summer. There will be no chronology - not yet anyway - nor will there be much of a schedule. You never know; I might add a story every day and I might not. This is my life. Every day is an adventure.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Winter's Last Gasp

I woke up this morning to a fairly thick snowstorm outside my window, and when I let the dog out, I saw upwards of two inches of snow on the steps. Course it looked deeper so I went out and measured it.

It's well into April; last gasps are supposed to happen in March, or well most of the time they do. March was beautiful. Clear skies, cold nights, and warm days. All this week it has been clear skies most of the time, warmer nights - most of them barely getting below freezing, and very warm days reaching well up into the forties during the day. It did try to snow once a couple days ago, but it was scarcely enough to give a white dusting noticeable on various dark objects and gone by the end of the day.

This is the time of year when I dread going outside, even to go to the freezer. The path to the freezer is still three feet deep in snow. I know this because I broke through the other day and was suddenly sitting on said path, and I don't recall my foot touching ground.

This is the time of year when the packed part of any trail becomes narrower with each sun's crossing, when all the tree trash blown out of the trees over the winter has started eating at the snow, creating a choppy surface sure to twist the ankle of any unwary creature. And now that I think on it, this is why moose, and other assorted bovine-type creatures, have the leg structure they do. Mother Nature long since created them to be able to walk most anywhere without twisting an ankle.

Now that there is a brand new layer of snow over those trails, twisting my ankle is more of a certainty. Fortunately, my excuses for going outside are few and I'm very familiar with the hazards, so the worst that will happen to me is that I fill my shoes (again) with snow.

I wear my shoes most everywhere, most any time of the year. I put my winter boots on when I know I'm going to be wading around in snow for an extended period of time. Even if I'm wearing my snowshoes, I prefer to wear my shoes. Back in November, when I was packing the runway the hard way, I was wearing my shoes with my snowshoes. Though I might not have developed blisters if I'd worn my boots, neither would I have managed to get most of that runway packed in one day. The only other time I wear something other than my shoes is when I start walking to work and have to wade across a muddy spot along our trail. Spring runoff creates a small creek, and when the ground thaws out the mud seems bottomless. That's when I wear my husband's knee-high waders, at least until I get to the boat. These poor things, made by Timberland, have covered a lot of distance on my feet over the years, and if ever I see another like them, I'll get a new pair. They've spent their fair share either in the oven over night or hanging over the wood-stove drying out after I've filled them with snow once too often and they start feeling soggy.

It's hard to say how long this snow will last, not long I'm sure, but the white will slow the melt and cover the ugly for a little while anyway. Spring is the ugliest time of year. Things are no longer white, draped in winter's glory, nor are they green, bursting with summer's promise of bounty. Even fall's colorful glory is by far prettier than spring.

But such is the time of year. Now is the time when I start thinking about accumulating enough water to make it from gathering the last of the snow to collecting the first of the rain or going to work, whichever comes first. Now is the time of year when we should be gathering firewood, but with my husband's seemingly constant migraines, it looks like that may not happen this year. Weather change, be it good or bad, and even if it misses us directly, gives him a bad headache and running a snowmachine, not to mention the chainsaw, becomes a painful prospect for him. Aw well, we may still get out there - there's still plenty of time, and now maybe just a little more.

Back last October I posted a spring rant I'd written on my other blog, before this one existed. There I talked about the ugliness of spring in town, sad really. Out here I go out of my way to pick up my trash, any trash wherever I am, even going off out into the brush to pick up what a bear drug off. Last fall, on one of my last trips out with the boat, a friend tossed a soda can on the beach. Sure, it wouldn't have been there come spring, but out of sight does not mean gone. So what if it's somewhere else. So what if it ends up at the bottom of the river crushed to an unrecognizable lump of aluminum. So what if it will cause little damage in the grand scheme of things. It is trash and I won't litter up my world. I picked up that can and tossed it in my boat. I don't know if my friend even noticed, I didn't say anything to him. But another friend there saw and noticed the entire thing. He smiled. Even here at home I'll pick up after my family. A couple winters ago my son was out here. He and my husband both smoke (trying to stop), and at the time they had cigarettes with filters (store-bought cigarettes). Their habit was to stand outside and smoke (giving me a break), and then flick their butt somewhere in the snow. Roll-your-owns I don't worry about, heck, I don't even find them come spring, but cigarette butts are another thing. When I started picking them up by the handful (almost), I started hollering. I believe in taking care of my world the best I can. Too bad so few people feel the same.

Do you take care of your world? Make me feel better about spring; tell me how.