Saturday, January 14, 2012

Dark of Winter

January's Icy Driveway!
The dark of Winter has enveloped my corner of the World. Twilight arrives very early...sometimes lights never go off during the day.

It has not been terribly cold...the temperature dipped to -20C a few times and every number in between, but we have had very warm days, as well. Day in which I felt an instinctive urge to garden, were the ground not frozen solid...

Snow blankets every thing. It is astonishingly beautiful, sometimes blindingly so. The landscape can be harsh, depending on the lighting and the time of day, but it can also be meltingly soft and inviting. The Cariboo is a land of extremes; I do not find it easy to live here, yet I love the stunning views, the never-ending Sky, the very feel of the place.

No Saskatoon Berries Left! Awwww....
The Animals are behaving strangely, I have noticed, lately. They seem to huddle near this house, during their resting periods. The other day, Lucky and I were taking our usual walk, when I noticed something...different...down in the Draw.

I had to take more than a few glances at the dark pile that looked as if it belonged, but wasn't there yesterday. That dark pile turned out to be one of the largest mule Deer I have ever seen.

She was lying against a small Birch Tree, not more than a few feet from the house and visible from the Office window. Lucky, because of Wind direction, did not smell her and his eyesight is bad, in any case. He seemed agitated, somewhat, but he did not catch sight of her.

A Mule Deer's Bedroom
I'd heard Wolves howl very early that morning, under the Wolf Moon. I wondered if she'd been chased, and had taken refuge in the deep Draw, close to Humans. Or perhaps she'd actually been hurt...

I stood at the top of the Draw. I tried to take photos, but it was cold that day and my camera would not work properly. Since I could not zoom in, these photos here are the best of the bunch.

She knew I was taking photos. She knew I was there and that Lucky was there, as well. Her eyes half closed, she seemed completely at rest...but what if she was not? What if she'd been injured? How could I find out?

I thought I would stop projecting my what-ifs into the ether and let sleeping Deer lie, after a bit of time where I went into a tizzy.

For two days, the Deer chose that spot for her resting place. During the one afternoon, she did not go far...I spotted her browsing across the road, at one point. And she was there again the next morning, completely at ease. Then she was gone...

She decided we were no threat to her at all...

The Deer is a blatant example of Animals seeking refuge here. There are many places where I find Vegetation and Snow trampled down in the shape of an Animal who has slept there for awhile. The Squirrels have their favourite branch of the Fir Tree outside our bedroom. They will rest at any time of day, in full view of our comings and goings, looking very cute and peaceful.

Since about two thirds of our property has been left in a wild state, and since even here, wild pieces of property are becoming increasingly rare, I imagine there are many Animals who call this place home, deep in the Forest. And as I rarely go into the very wild places, preferring not to come face to face with a Bear or Cougar or Wolf, Animals would certainly find  safe homes there.

But these resting spots I have found are very close to the house. The feeling is strange, but it is as if they are seeking the security of being close to...a Human? If I were an Animal, possibly the last place I would want to be is right beside a Human's home.

I wonder when the Ice will melt!!! It could be months...
But times...they are a'changin'. And Animals are far more in tune with Mother Earth than Humans are.There is an odd feeling of contentment within me in having Animals feel comfortable enough to enjoy the surrounding peace here.

January has me more house bound than usual. The trip into Williams Lake can be iffy, depending on the ever-changing weather. I am very grateful that I have a vehicle which takes road conditions, whatever they may be, with panache and ease.

With the constant melting and freezing, the bottom of our driveway has turned into a frozen Pond. I have not been able to go for my usual walks; I am terrified of slipping on this great expanse of Ice. Graham's small commuter car takes on a mind of its own, when he goes to the office.

But the Torrent, a small SUV, has no problems with the Ice whatsoever. I know I can drive out of here, at least...

Welcome home!
I rarely do, however, preferring to buy everything I need in town about every two weeks or so. Especially in the Winter. Walking anywhere, be it here on our property or in the City, can be treacherous...Ice lies on every road and sidewalk.

The only time inclement weather bothers me is when we must travel for medical reasons for Graham. Twelve hour round trips to Kelowna can be so much more difficult in Blizzard conditions.

I've learned to take the time for quiet activities...ones which usually have me dozing in my chair. I sleep far more in the Cariboo Winter than I ever did on the Coast. And I find long-time residents are surprised at my is the way it is here and it is expected.

This little home is so welcoming and charming in the deep, purple twilight!
All I know for sure matter how much sleep I receive during the night, I still doze each time I attempt any 'quiet activities'.

And what better time to give in to those delicious little dozing moments than in the Dark of Winter?

"And something born of the snowy desolation, born of the midnight and the silent grandeur, born of the great listening hollows of the night, something that lay 'twixt terror and wonder, dropped from the vast wintry spaces down into his heart—and called him."~~Algernon Blackwood  The Glamour of Snow


  1. This was a wonderful post. I don't envy you your weather or your relative isolation (I do envy you your wolf cries and delighted to learn about the Wolf Moon), but you draw sustenance from it--as Peggy would--so I'm glad you live where you do.

  2. Anonymous5:24 p.m.

    Marion, thanks for sharing the magical anecdotes from your wintry corner of the woods. The animals must feel they are safe. They must sense your connection to nature and like hanging out in your space. The pictures are a treat. Stay bundled up and watch for that ice!

  3. I ( for once) agree with our friend Snow - this is a lovely post filled with quiet and restful thoughts.

    I wonder about the deer. Somehow she must have figured out that she would not be chased when near your house. Also didn't you have a young deer coming by last year or so. Could this be that deer grown up?

    We have barely any snow this year but do have ice. I'd rather have snow with its quiet white blanket. I'm with you on the sleeping during winter, it's storage for summer.

  4. Seems like you and the deer are both experiencing contemplative dreamy moods amid the wintry grandeur of the forest. I wonder if your home is much like the lantern light you have pictured … giving off an aura of safety to creatures nearby. In your prose, I sense the beauty of long lasting snow that doesn’t turn to slush the way it so often does on the coast. Curling up by a window and reading a good book seems warmly inviting in your part of the world, Marion. :)

  5. When I see you have posted, it's rather like looking at the glowing house in the *Violet Hour*....(sorry, couldn't help myself)!
    I feel I am *home*....sharing the marvelous, magical world you live in.

    I truly believe that deer - and all the animals who stay near your home feel your love and famaliarity with Nature....they sense you are one with them....they have a refuge -

    I can understand your reluctance to go out a lot on icy walks and drives. As much as I adore snow....I'm not so in love with ice! You must be careful - you don't want to end up with a *gimpy* knee like I currently have. But, I feel the pull of Nature....and now that my knee is healing, I try to get out and have small hikes as much as possible. It helps me heal and feel connected to the natural world....our N.Cal Winter has been beautifully mild....but....yesterday it changed...and is now COLD (for SF)....a *balmy* 40 degrees... however, rain is finally on the horizon - continuous storms on the I have two more days to get out among the trees, the sea before I become *land-locked*.... I am stocking up on DVD's, soup, Sourdough and some nice Shiraz! (And extra food for my feral cats....)

    Sending you warm, loving hugs! We are so entwined in our love for the beauties of the natural world....Renee knew how to bring friends together, didn't she!

    Stay warm...stay safe.


    ♥ Robin ♥

  6. A Dylan reference, very nice -- caused a smile.

    Virginia only had to brave 5 hour round trips when I was in Hosp. a year ago. But your trips are way more treacherous . . . be very careful.

  7. We have lots of ice here too. Every sidewalk and driveway is dangerous. I live in town and work and have to go out almost daily, wish I could stay home for two weeks at a time :-), sounds lovely.
    Nice that the animals trust you.

  8. Your place looks like a dream house tucked in the woods. You are such a gentle soul it's no wonder animals are not afraid to come close. Blackwood's quote is stunning.

  9. Oh, your photos are wonderful!
    And your house, well I can just imagine what a welcoming sight it must be!

    I love my winter walks and would so miss them if I could not venture out!

    Always a pleasure to visit you, Marion.

    Take care and be careful out there!

    Margie x

  10. Snowbrush,

    Yes, I believe Peggy would love and understand the silence in the Winter forest. Right now, we're under extreme wind chill factors of -45C and to hear the North Wind moan through the tops of the Trees fills me with apprehension sometimes. I am really isolated,even housebound, at the moment! xx


    You are also experiencing this Arctic front, Miruh, I've seen photos of all the Snow! But I hear it'll warm up for you by this weekend. In the meantime, enjoy the beauty...xx


    I love that sleep is "storage for summer". I even stored some up today!

    I wondered about the same thing regarding the Deer. Lucky didn't seem too excited. This Deer had the same look about if Dogs were not a bother and she was used to them.

    She was really big...I wondered if she was pregnant. With this cold, cold weather, I hope she's found a place to keep warm...xx

  11. aka Penelope,

    Sounds like you might have a lot of Snow yourself which is not yet turning to slush! I remember the was sad when it happened, in a way, yet I much prefer the melting to the long-lasting kind!

    Especially when it has been snowing for the last two days with frigid temps! Heh..xx


    I've been in SF when it turned was such a surprise, haha! I can imagine the lovely hikes (along with your photos) you take in that area. I know there is a big storm headed for the lower coast...stay safe and warm. It's always good to stock up on comfort foods! xx


    We will hope our next appt. is after this blast from the Arctic...the whole province is crippled by it.

    I'm sure it was no hardship for glad you feel well these days! xx

  12. Annie Coe,

    There's advantages in not having to go out for sure...I'm so glad I stocked up on essentials. The temperature reached -41C this morning, which is also -40F. This is without wind chill...don't even want to think about that!

    Poor Lucky's feet freeze almost instantly. There is not much relief in sight, only more Snow in the forecast along with it!

    Be so careful on those sidewalks, Annie...I've seen enough people slip and fall on sidewalks this year. Some have really been hurt. Please take care! xx


    The last two photos aren't mine, although I wish they were. I've used them a few times on this blog...they are so comforting to me.

    My house is similar to this little one, although in a much more forested area. Very difficult to take a good photo of the whole house, because of the trees. I took these photos off of Clip Art.

    I think about the animals who must be outside in these vicious temperatures. I can't begin to describe how COLD -40C feels.

    The house cracks and creaks, startling me and Lucky.The furnace can't keep up...I'll also have to use the fireplace for awhile today. No relief for the next few days, at least.

    It is even too cold to plough the driveway; we now have about a foot of Snow covering the Ice Pond at the bottom of the driveway, making it far more dangerous for visitors.

    And yet, businesses and schools are open as if there were normal temps. I'm sure glad I can stay at home! xx


    I can't describe how cold it is to go out. I am bundled up from the tip of my head to my feet and within a few minutes, that cold penetrates every layer of cold weather clothing I have on. It even freezes the cloth on my gets all crinkly!

    It'll be next week before I can continue my walks, I think...xx

  13. To deal with the ice and snow we pulled out our Yaktrax. I just wrote about them today. We have the Walker style, but maybe the pro would be better on that ice. They aren't perfect, but give my shoes more stability. - Margy

  14. Hi Marion. I'm sure the widlife can pick up on when there's a danger and when there's not. That deer certainly has. I notice it when I'm feeding the birds in the garden, some dont even bother flying away. Your house looks lovely and that light really is a welcoming beacon.

    I sometimes have trouble posting comments and I'm sure that this is the second time I've tried.

  15. You should be getting some nice Aurora from the recent sun activity about now? Sometimes we can even see it down here at the 37° parallel, but not yet -- I am hoping. Some Pics if you can see the lights would make nice desktop background.
    Hope Graham is doing OK.

  16. Your house looks absolutely gorgeous! I love the deer photos too. I'm not at all they flock to your area, they must sense how wonderful you are. Cracking post. I'll mail soon, my fingers are giving me hell at the moment xxx

  17. Powell River Books,

    I found some of those for sale here in a store, but haven't bought them yet. Thanks for the tip! xx


    I believe you're right. This Deer seems very comfortable here and is possibly one that interacts with the dog(s)(Nate,when he was alive). I find living here miraculous some days!

    By the way, this photo of this house isn't mine or my house. It is similar, which is why I was drawn to it, but our property is very hilly. To get a photo of the side of my house with all the photos I would have to take on a snow-covered steep path to get to the bottom field. One of these days, I will attempt it! xx


    So far, I haven't seen any due to cloudy weather. I keep hoping...

    And certainly, I will take photos of those amazing lights if I have the good luck to see them. xx

    All Consuming,

    Dear Michelle...for you I will attempt the hill and take a photo of my house, haha! (See above)

    I hope my home is half as welcoming as that photo is. I love it! xx