APRIL is the cruellest month,
— T.S. Eliot
By the end of last week I was beginning to see a few early signs of spring and I was sure the weather would continue to improve. It has not. Instead, the weather has chosen to regress by several weeks and return to the deep of winter. The weather provided us a steady snow on Saturday and by Sunday morning there was 5 cm. of the stuff on the ground and the temp was hanging well below zero. Well, Damn! It’s very pretty and it might actually be nicer to look at than the gray grass and mud of last week, but I don’t care. I’m gonna stamp my feet and mutter curses and shake my fist at the sky and tell winter to go home. Do you hear that, old man winter? Go on, now. I think I hear your mother calling.
Sorry to be late posting our walk today, but I spent the afternoon at my dentist’s office waiting for him to squeeze me in. It seems I’ve developed an abscess in a lower tooth that’s going to require a root canal, but first I’ll need to take a course of antibiotics. Ugh. The day itself was a bit grim as well with gloomy, overcast skies and a bitterly cold north wind. It even started to snow a few times, but thankfully only a few brief flakes that didn’t last. I feel like it’s Groundhog Day and winter is stuck on repeat. Again, Ugh.
I did not know that spiders were active in the snow. I found this one in the forest climbing out of my footprint on his way to an important date. He was moving pretty fast, probably because Jack was giving him the nose. Photos are below the fold.
It was a damp, cold zero degrees when Jack and I were out this morning, but now it’s climbed to +4 º and melting is finally happening again. Hooray! It looks like Spring has finally decided to make a reappearance and this time it might actually stay. If the forecast is to be believed it’s supposed to stay above zero all week and might actually climb all the way up to +9º. Be still my heart. I cannot wait to see the end of snow and ice this year. It feels like winter’s been dragging on forever and I am bone tired of it. Melt, melt, melt, I say.
Jack and I ran into a couple of big, beautiful horses today. It’s maple syrup season and this farm hosts a pancake and syrup breakfast during the month of March. This team are here every year to give wagon rides to anyone who wants to bump up and down a country road full of potholes and slush. What fun! I normally try to come late enough to miss all the fuss and foofaraw, but our timing was a bit off today. Jack barked like a fool at them from the car until they were far enough down the road to let him loose. He jumped out, watched them for half a second, gave one final woof and then ran into the woods to chase after the newly emerging spring smells. Each new bare patch of land requires very careful sniffing and Jack takes this job seriously. Some places require an extra bit of pee which Jack is always happy to provide. I always know the important places, though, because Jack will pee, turn around and lift his other leg to pee again and then turn back for one final squirt. The triple pee is always done with great seriousness, but it’s only half of the ritual. Next, the boy will dig in his back feet and rake up oodles of debris and mud as he stretches his legs way out behind him before giving a final snort and moving on. I wish I spoke urine.
Woo Hoo! It’s +13º C today and there is melting happening. There’s also a light drizzle that’s helping the melting along and already I can see the brown earthy edges of the lawns. The ice on the sidewalks is breaking up and there is a steady stream of water running down the street to the sewers. It’s wonderful. Really wonderful. Why, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s finally Spring. At least until Saturday, that is, when it’s supposed to plummet down to zero and stay there for a week. I won’t think about that today, though. Today I’m just going to enjoy wearing my spring coat and watching Jack get muddy.
Jack and I took ourselves to our local park today and discovered that we’re not the only creatures waiting for spring. There is a paddling of ducks (I looked that up!) that is unable to paddle. The pond is still covered in ice and the river that runs through it is flowing fast and high. Not really friendly water for smallish birds. These ducks don’t migrate. They live at the park all year and are fed by a keeper in winter. These two had been sitting in the parking looking glum, but they took to the ice when they saw Jack. Sorry little ducks, stay safe.
The weather is due to change tomorrow with a promise of temps around +13º C. That sounds too good to be true, but I’ll be happy with any temp on the plus side of the scale. I’ll even happily take the rain that’s due to come with the warmer air. I’m ready for the season of mud so bring it on.
Jack and I went to the lake this morning and for the first time all winter we saw ice fishermen. Normally we see a few ragged huts that stay on the ice all winter, but for some reason this year they were absent. Our little lake is full of bass and pike and in the winter the conservation authority lowers the level of the water by about half which concentrates the fish into the deep center of the water. I think that’s a bit unfair to the fish, but it does make sitting in the cold and watching a hole in the ice more exciting. These chaps were in good humour and full of optimism and they even took a few minutes to play with Jack before heading out to try their luck.
Well, it’s still the deep of winter around here and the forecast isn’t very hopeful. We’re due for snow tomorrow, rain on Sunday and temps swinging up and down for the next week. Until spring finally decides to appear Jack and I are stuck with snow and ice, but the river path is well trodden, not too slippery and a fairly gentle walk. On the south side of the river we discovered nesting boxes hanging on many of the trees and this one poor nest stuck on a stump. I hope it’s waiting to be hung higher because it looks like a downright poor location for a bird family to occupy. Seems to me that cats and snakes and most other bird hunters could just climb right in. I’ll keep my eye on it and once the snow is gone I’ll bring a hammer and nail (and ladder – I’m short) and hang it higher myself. You know what they say in real estate…location, location, location.
Today Jack and I went to the non-beaver side of the river. We haven’t come here very often this winter and I thought the change might help overcome the ennui that’s set in. Jack certainly enjoyed himself, but he didn’t want to go swimming. That’s probably a normal attitude for a dog in winter, but Jack has always loved cold water swimming. I’ve seen him floating down the river surrounded by ice with a look of pure bliss on his face. Not this year, though. Thinking back, he’s only gone in the water once or twice and not for very long. I’ve noticed changes at home, too. Jack sits by the fire more often and he’s started worming his way under the covers in bed. I know it’s his age. He’s 11 now and entering his senior years and like most old people he doesn’t run as hot. He still enjoys the snow, though, and I hope that never changes. It’s Jack who taught me to see the beauty of winter and the pleasure of snow and today his antics helped me find something to smile about. Take that ennui!
I’m feeling a bit blue today. I think it’s the cold. I’m so tired of the cold. I’ve gotten myself through most the winter by feeling adventurous and brave, a voyageur and her trusted sidekick out tracking beavers and fairies in the wild. I also like to be challenged and uncomfortable sometimes because it makes me more grateful for simple things like warmth and shelter. Today, though, I just can’t muster up that sunny good attitude. I’ve been fighting double gravity for days (and days) and the cold is just pissing me off. I hope things are brighter for you.