Sunday, April 22, 2012

Warmer Winters

Dreaming of Flowers
Even if the temperatures are still below freezing each night, Snow and Ice have melted completely. Any Snow which arrives now will disappear quickly during the warmer daytime hours.

During the last month, when it seemed Winter would never release his hold on the area, for the first time since we moved here, I felt like a prisoner. Depression hit for a time...I could not enjoy the outdoors in any way because of the Cold. I could not write, had no inclination to do any of my hobbies and projects...even my appetite disappeared.

There have been times in my life where I have felt like this...usually in response to some crisis or other. But this low feeling I have only just released was something new...I felt at odds with everything, even Nature.

It was a long Winter. Were I healthy, I suppose the length of it would not bother me as much, since I would still be able to be active. But the amazing Cold stymied me completely this year...physically and mentally.

Cabbages grow so well here!
The Cold attacked my arthritis, which was further irritated by fibromyalgia. I felt as if I were one round ball of pain, each and every time I braved the weather for a walk with Lucky. It could take hours for the pain caused by the Cold  to go away, yet I felt the need to be outside, to stay connected and grounded to Nature.

But after awhile, that need disappeared, as well, especially when a flu Bug found me. During the infection, there was no more energy then to brave anything...

But now, Spring has come to stay. I cannot say it is as warm here as it was on the Island during our Easter holiday visit, but every day seems a little more temperate. And of course, now, the garden requires my attention.

Working in the garden has healed me many times over the course of my life, and I expect it will do so again.

Change may be in the offing for Graham and I. Our intention is to move back to the Island this year, one way or the other. At the moment, we are contemplating the options we have; nothing is concrete.

I will miss my friends the Mule Deer...
And so, this Spring, my garden will be set to rights with the thought of another gardener working in it next year. Instead of building more gardening beds, I will concentrate on dividing perennials and filling up the beds already in existence. If our house goes on the market this summer, I want it to look good, to look as if it is the easiest thing in the World to turn out a pretty garden in this arid, cold climate.

Gardens are what I look at, when I am buying a house, and I assume, quite wrongly, that others look for the same. When Graham and I were on the Island looking at homes, I cannot remember the houses we looked at, but I can remember their gardens. I am grateful that Graham rarely looks at gardens... the house and the way it is built is his primary focus.

This fellow appears every Spring...I have a multitude of photos of him!
Between the two of us, perhaps we can find a balance between great gardens and properly built intent is to find a place for sale which has both.

I will miss the Animals. Living here, there is no way to not be part of the wild Animal world. I will miss the sounds of the many, many Birds, the howl of the Wolf and Coyote, the call of the Eagle, Hawk and Raven...and the screech from the Bobcat and Cougar.

A few weeks ago, when dirty Ice and Snow were still compact on much of the driveway, I ventured outside onto the part of the road bed which had cleared. Lucky, of course, had little trouble traversing the icy pathways, and bounded ahead of me.
Chickadees are prolific here...and stay thru the Winter.

He was behind the woodworking shop, out of my sight, when I heard the scuffling in the deep Snow. Lucky began to ferociously bark and howl...but beyond that, I heard a big Cat's indescribable snarl...

I had no way of arriving where Lucky was any quicker than I was already going, desperately calling Lucky with each careful step I took. Lucky, and then Ozzie, the Dog from next door, continued their frenzied barking, so I assumed he hadn't been attacked. As yet.

I've heard the big Cat's cry many times here, but I've not always been sure whether it came from a Cougar or a Bobcat. This time, as close as I was, I could tell it was a Bobcat, but I didn't know where it was. I could not see behind the shop, where Lucky was creating such an extreme ruckus.

Our Raven steals many of Lucky's bones...
I came around the corner of the shop, moving very carefully...not wanting to come face to face with an Animal of this nature. Lucky had his front paws up against a Fir Tree, howling his fool head off. Ozzie also decided to join in, and in no time, neighbourhood dogs from across the valley were united in their outrage against the interloper...the din was incredible.

I looked up. Yes, there he was, staring down at Lucky from his perch on the Tree branch. It's the closest I have ever been to one of these wild was frightening and wonderful, all at the same time. I wanted to remain there and study him...but I was not completely sure he would not attack Lucky at any moment.

Look at his huge front paws!!
After calling Lucky's name over and over, finally projecting what I call my ugly voice towards him, he heard me, glanced my way, wavered and then finally came, with the biggest grin on his face I've ever seen.

I grabbed his collar, and made my way back to the house over the Ice, my neck prickling all the while. I could feel those beautiful feline eyes on me, even if I didn't think he could still see me for the shop...

Lucky was so proud of himself. I cannot begin to tell you.

My heart pounding, we made it into the house. I waited a moment or two, until I heard Ozzie stop barking, and then I let Lucky out into our fenced area. By then, I felt our visitor had left his perch.  Our Lucky, though, lay on the deck all day, watching that particular Tree...reliving his moment of glory when he vanquished a big Cat.

What is interesting and synchronistic, since I bemoaned the fact I did not have my camera with me quite vociferously, is the next day a co-worker of Graham's  was driving on the highway just below our place when he saw two Bobcats, one sitting on a concrete highway barrier...and was able to snap a photo of him, which he has graciously allowed me to use.

I have no doubt it is the same one, even if I did not get a good, long look at him. There are no co-incidences, after all. And I've heard since, during mating season, Bobcats will travel in two's...

Where did that big Cat go?
I wonder where his mate was, while I stood staring at him? 

I think our Dog was called Lucky for a reason...

I will miss these kinds of encounters. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to live here and will miss it tremendously...the Cold and Winter notwithstanding.

During my time of introspection, when depression knocked softly, I realized the large distances involved in travelling back to where I consider it to be home were becoming more and more difficult to do, as the years go by.

Realizing and accepting my limitations, when I am not accustomed to having to take those into consideration with respect to where I live, made me re-evaluate. I'm taking my age and have come to an understanding I want to live the rest of my time closer to family and more accessible medical care. 

And warmer Winters.

Photo of Bobcat courtesy of Roger Hollander...Thanks, Roger!


  1. Oh Marion. Once your body accepted the winter into it, you knew it was time to be closer to the coast. Your beautiful paradise is a lot to give up. The animals. The peace. But family and access to medical treatment? In a different beautiful place? Yep!

    Looking forward to pictures of your "seller's" garden!

    1. This is such a great comment!

      "Once your body accepted the winter into it, you knew it was time to be closer to the coast."...exactly.

      I hope the weather will co-operate for the garden. Last year's garden was amazing and I took many photos of it. I thought of making up a small booklet with those photos. We bought this house in the Winter with Snow covering everything. And when the Snow melted, there was absolutely no garden anywhere, haha...

      So I want the new owners to know where the beds are, if our house is sold during the Winter, so they can give the proper care. I hope they'll give the proper care, anyway, ha! xx

  2. Marion, I'm SO glad you've posted again but sorry to learn that the cold and the blues have teamed up against you in recent months. If it is your wish to relocate, then I wish that happens for you without difficulty as soon as you feel you are ready. Your story of Lucky and the bobcat gave me goosebumps. Were I in your shoes, if I hadn't already decided to move, that incident would have made the decision for me. Wishing you warmth, health, and peace of mind.

    1. I thought of you and Levi (and your pup) should something like this happen. I can imagine Levi...oh, my goodness! haha

      I've had many experiences up here with animals and I'm glad I wrote about them, my memory being almost non-existent these days. There was one with a hawk which I have yet to write about and I want to remember to do that.

      Peace of mind is coming closer, dear friend! xx

  3. I can so relate to your winter depression. I think I must have been a bear in my previous lives and i still think their lifestyle is the best.

    I can just imagine Lucky thinking he had saved you both from something that looked like a cat.

    1. I can relate to how you feel about the bear. It's exactly what I feel like when Winter begins...but even the Bear was out and about this year long before I was able to be, haha.

      I will not forget the happiness Lucky projected after this episode. He's getting old...he'll be ten in a month's time...and treeing the biggest cat he's ever seen was soooo exciting for him! xx

  4. Being close to family is important. And moving back to the Island is something to look forward to. Plus, your gardening season will be longer. Now that you will be getting more sun, I hope you start to feel better. - Margy

    1. Margy, when I read your blog, everything you talk about is so familiar to me and I'm tired of homesickness. Much as I love this amazing and stunning land which makes up the Cariboo, I need to be closer to the Ocean.

      No way around it...xx

    2. Let me know when you head out this way. It would be fun to meet. - Margy

  5. Marion, a sad, but beautiful post. I could tell by your last few posts, that you were feeling the cold, the as close to the heart of Nature's Realm is glorious....but also isolating...when you are hurting physically, you feel everything more accutely. Winter is magical....but too much is ...well, too much. Time for Spring, for have a family to be closer with...that is paramount...I feel you and Graham are making the right decision.

    Still, the "Lucky & the Bobcat* story is thrilling! (Especially because no one was hurt!) The photo of Mr. Bobcat, proudly atop that barricade is gorgeous!!!! He's a beauty.
    And...I love the image of Lucky, grinning up at you....saying: "Look at me, Mum....aren't I the bravest doggie ever"?

    Be warmer with each passing day...

    I will miss the Mule Deer and your wonderful photos of them....


    ♥ Robin ♥

    1. We'll have a few more adventures before we leave, Lucky and I. The animals are on the move, it is mating season (almost over). Now I look forward to seeing the youngsters...the Fox and the Coyote both bring their families at least once for me to see and all the young birds who are so silly and foolish at the bird feeder. And the young mule deer...they are the most curious of all.

      One thing I know I will miss is the bellowing of the cows across the is either the bulls wanting to mate with cows kept away from them, or young calves taken from the mother cow for health care. But for me, it is the sound of Spring in the ranchlands of the Cariboo.

      Take care...loved your photo of the lightning and the bridge. Awesome! xx

  6. Beautiful photos, Marion, and HAPPY EARTH DAY TO YOU! (kiss)

    1. Ahh, Daisy...Happy Earth Day to you, as well, and many, many more! Thank you for all you do for the rest of us!!!! xx

  7. my friend: transition brings up so many feelings; knowing what you will leave, not knowing where you will land. i think time itself changes when you know it is now limited, and surely now your garden knows that.

    i am happy for you. i know you well enough to know it is time. my cross my fingers and my heart that all will happen smoothly and quickly.

    i too will miss your stories of the natural world but i too know you will still be telling them. hang on, lucky, the adventures will continue :^)

    and you made me laugh: " I assume, quite wrongly," hahhaha

    i love you dearly

    1. I am so much more interested in what is planted in these strange, to me, garden beds. I could stay outside a house for hours just looking at its garden! Finding a new home is not going to be easy, but I am convinced the time is now, for both Graham and I.

      The actual move scares me a much to do...but I'll try and take one thing at a time and not get overwhelmed. Ha, famous last words, hahaha!!!

      Hope you are resting and feeling a bit better! xx

  8. I am so sorry for your feeling badly and having to move, but you do what you need to keep yourself well. I will miss hearing about these wonderful animals, but I am sure you will have adventures where ever you go.
    So glad Lucky is okay! Have a happy Spring.

    1. Writing about the impending move helps enormously to come to some acceptance.

      If I move to a spot in the country, I'm positive there will be many animals for Lucky and I to have adventures with. I've learned a lot about the wild living here and I'll be forever grateful! xx

  9. Beautiful photos, Marion. I feel sorry for you having to move but surely you will find new and great adventures.

    1. Thanks for visiting, Lorii! Certainly life will be a little different, busier, perhaps. And I'm looking forward to it!

  10. I will miss your posts from this place but I know that wherever you go, flowers will bloom and wildlife will be blessed with your presence.

    1. Oh, Pauline, I am so looking forward to a year round garden again! Winter on the Coast is not anywhere near the length it is here...and I recall going out in Jan-Feb to see all the bulbs rising and the perennials beginning to grow. I've missed that early Spring! xx

  11. "Lucky was so proud of himself. I cannot begin to tell you." Lardy is much the same but we only have domestic cats and squirrels. If she came face to face with a bobcat she's run a bloody mile! Lucky is a gorgeous dog and I'm glad you have him with you. You've had so many positive things out the time you've lived there, and it may well be that there are even more positive events awaiting on 'the island'. I'm sure that's true. Big hugs sweetie, xxx

    1. I know that's true, Michelle! The Island I keep talking about is Vancouver Island, just off the coast of BC. It's about the same size as the UK, I think, I've got to look that up again, but it is big!

      The only time I've seen Lucky feel afraid is when our resident Bear has visited overnight. He sticks pretty close to me then, as he can smell Bear pretty easily.

      Big hugs back at ya! xx

  12. I need to search the internet for a site where I can listen to those "big cat" sounds. Would be good to recognize it when I hear one around here, as we've seen cougars and I'm sure there is the odd bobcat or lynx, too.

    It's always such a treat when you post an entry, Marion. I hope you're feeling better, and look forward to your adventure in moving!

  13. There is a site with bird sounds, too, which I love to listen to.

    I love it when you write about the moose that visits you...they are gorgeous animals. We have one who travels through on the animal trails, which have been on our property for eons, but I rarely catch a glimpse of him, but I hear him crashing through the forest! xx

  14. Hi there Miz Marion - I'm a late comer to this great post - I was savoring it from afar. I can completely understand your pull/push love of the area and your home and garden. I lived for too many years in a house that was beyond my capabilities, and it took me a long time to admit it. Now, I realize how wonderful it is to have an easier physical life, and wish I had done it sooner.

    Like you, I am getting addicted to the outside and being with nature. I live in a rural suburb, but can still hear coyote, see deer and fisher cats, and listen to them all at night. I'm addicted to fresh air, cool night air. I'd miss it all, but I also know that other things would take its place.

    I'm rambling. Just really wanted to say - Hello, and yes, this sounds like it's the right time for you - it'll all work out.

  15. Hi Marion,

    I can understand the need to be being closer to family, particularly with the winters that you have there. At least you wont feel so isolated in the winter, as travelling will be that bit easier. Still you have experienced the Caribou and will always have that to look back on. You have improved and remodelled your present house so no doubt you will be doing something simililar after you move which is always exciting, getting a place the way you both want it. So good luck with everything and keep us posted . All the best. Dave

  16. Depression can strike swiftly and being at odds with nature, for me, was a terrifying result -- like a gauzy drapery dropping down between me and the rest of the world. A terrible feeling, but corrected chemically after a time. Things change. . . and we change.
    I am glad you are moving back to the coast. I long to see photos of that part of the world.

    I think that is a pileated woodpecker?

  17. The Upper Midwest here in the US is the coldest part of the country, yet it's where people live the longest, it and Hawaii where a lot of people are Asian. If it weren't for the weather, I would probably have looked into emigrating to Canada where things are, hopefully, a little more sane, but, gee, those winters!

  18. Hey Marion :) Have you seen this? Are you involved with these meditations to bring the world back to its natural 13:20 synchronised time realised by the Mayans for the good of humanity and our mother earth?


  19. Nice photos! It is so natural and warmth despite of the cold weather.