Monday, December 15, 2008

Seductive Sun

This morning, the thermometer dipped to -35C. During the course of my life, I have never experienced temperatures this cold.

There is no Wind.  The Land  is still, shatteringly beautiful, and very silent. I haven't seen a Bird or a Squirrel for days.

The deep blue of the Sky against the differing shades of white Snow is an artist's dream. Sometimes, it looks to me as if the very Air is blue.

Surfaces feel fragile, as I walk around the ploughed areas of our property.  It feels as if I am walking on an enormous field of shattered shards of glass...the frozen Snow sticks to my boots and will build up, if I don't shake my foot.

The silence is punctuated, at times, by branches that crack sharply in the cold. There is Wind in the forecast, and I pray for the Standing Beings...with temperatures this cold, there will be breakage, with the subsequent power outages, and a Wind Chill temperature I don't want to think about.

As I crunch upon the packed Snow and Ice on the ploughed driveway, I watch the dogs. Their playfulness, when Snow first arrived, weeks ago, has been dampened by the cold.  The pads of their feet have not hardened, and they walk gingerly, fearful of the pain that occurs. They look at me with puzzlement in their eyes. The Sun is out, ...they tell me...Yet it is still so very cold!

It is only a few minutes before one dog, then another, begins to limp, begins to hold his feet off the packed Snow. They are learning to do their business quickly, these days!

After I insist the dogs go inside, ignoring their abject countenances, I continue on my walk.  I cannot go far as yet, but the fields of Snow are close to being frozen enough where they will hold my weight. Snowshoes once more come to mind.

I find the most difficult part of the deep cold is the sunny weather that goes along with it. The dogs are not alone.  The Sun beckons, reaching his long arms through the Window, with the pretence of warmth. I want to go outside; every cell in my body will not believe it is really this cold, with Sun pulling at me.

And yet, it is.  Even with proper clothing...layers of it...there is a limit to the amount of time even I can be outside. But I suppose I will challenge the cold over and over is just too bright and cheerful...and be ignored.

There appears to be no end in sight for the Arctic blast which covers the province; Christmas will be very white this year, especially in the Cariboo. Driving could be treacherous, I muse to myself...I will have to make sure the survival package is in the car before we head to the Coast on Christmas Day.

I look down at our home from the top of the driveway.  Small and compact, there are no drafts anywhere inside.  I am so grateful Graham managed to find a smaller home, amongst the large homes for sale at the time. I cannot imagine what a heating bill would look like here, for a large home not heated with Wood.

And with that thought, I think of the fireplace.  I think of the Big Chair and Ottoman, I think of a warming cup of Tea...with one of those delectable Tarts I made yesterday.

I think of how my legs appear to be stiffening in place. My joints cannot fight this cold, even with layers of clothing.

It is time to go in.

But only until the seductive Sun once more reaches inside the house with his long fingers, and beckons to us, with his wicked Winter grin.


  1. Marion,
    This is an exquisite, poetic post. -Perhaps the most beautiful you have written. It is as though I were there with you in the beauty of your crystal perfect frozen world.

  2. A lovely post indeed, but so evocative, I found it hard to was almost physically real!

    I hate snow, although admitting its beauty. I hate ice, in particular, which I find brutal and punishing, as well as dangerous. I have to say, I don't miss it at all--but I do miss those long winter shadows where as you say, the air even seems blue. (-27C is my personal record; I am amazed by Canadian temperatures!!!)

  3. Wow marion....-35C. I though it couldn't be and then I enlarged your photo. That is cold and painful for any one to be out in those temps. Thank goodness for the warmth of your home and modern day communications. Certainly a time for "cutching" up, keeping warm a good Welsh word meaning cuddling up either to someone, or something warm] warm and reading.
    I'm looking forward to reading about your winter adventures.

  4. This is a beautifully poetic post, and yet it contains a subtle hint of terror. I cannot even begin to imagine what -35 degrees must be like when we complain bitterly if our temperatures drop to 5 degrees!

  5. -35C!!! i cannot imagine myself there. but wish one day i will be able to see, touch, taste snow. your writing is so beautiful! i could feel the stillness of your land. and wish one day i will be able to visit.

  6. I cannot imagine a cold like the one you describe. It send chills up and down my spine as I read your words. A warm looking cold sun how difficult is that for one to realize. I wish you warmth and have an xtra cup of tea for me.

  7. What a great post!

    Admittedly, I felt cold just reading and checking out the photos. It's been below freezing here in Ohio, but not to the degree you're having it.

    Have you had a look at What I See Out My Window? It looks like you have some fantastic views, aside from the unique shot of the thermometer I'm guessing you shot from inside. I'd love to have you start submitting some views.

  8. Princess,

    Thank you. The temps are still below is indeed a frozen World. Mother Nature compensates for the bone chilling cold with awesome beauty.


    Every single thing changes, with these temps, I've discovered. Wood and vinyl make terrible cracking sounds; it makes it scary sometimes, when I'm walking on the deck and CRACK!

    OK. Time to go in, lol!


    Cutching up...that's a great term. One of those where you can actually feel what it means.

    Very warming! I will use it, along with Scottish and German idioms I've picked up along the way.

  9. Vanilla,

    How great to see you! And how perspective of you to see the terror. It is, unfortunately, there, inside me.

    I keep expecting Rain to arrive and wash it all away, as it would on the Coast. But here...I could be facing those temps. for a long time.

    I hope I will handle it with grace.


    Here's an invitation! It would be great to have you as a guest. We have much in common, I think.


    Yes, the warm Sun inside the house sends a completely different message from the reality outside. I keep trying to manifest a warm, Spring day, but so far, no luck. lol!


    I took some photos this morning; if any turn out I will send them to you. Actually, it's the only way I can shoot photos, from inside, as my camera freezes up quickly.

    As do I, lol.

  10. I got a chill reading your fantastic description. Do you ever feel that you are on some far flung planet? It seldom gets below 45-50 here and no snow since 1960, but we have fog and overcast skies that make me feel so much colder when we can't see the sun.

  11. What a pleasant reward to read your beautifully written words! Yes, we did walk alongside you. Take care and enjoy this time. I know cabin fever will set in but maybe that will allow even more wonderful writing.

  12. Anonymous3:14 p.m.

    This is indeed an evocative post - I had to go and fetch my fleece while I was reading it! Here in northern England, it's the coldest it's been for years, with the daytime temperature down below freezing for days on end - and of course we've all been moaning away as we British do! But there's *no comparison* with what you're experiencing there. -35! Good grief - and you've even provided proof! I can understand your need to walk and your frustration at not being able to stay out longer. Have you thought of buying a treadmill and putting it beside a nice sunny window? :-)

    My very best wishes to you and your family for Christmas - I hope you have a safe journey to the coast!

  13. Jan,

    That's exactly what it feels like! A frozen, sunny, far flung planet. It seems like most of the whole of North America has had at least a bit of Snow, with this cold front.


    I've heard cabin fever called "going bushy". I try and walk at least to the end of the driveway, no matter the temps. The sun calls and off I go, coming back to stand and thaw in front of the fireplace!


    That treadmill idea sounds pretty good, actually! My walks have been severely curtailed these past few weeks! But driving on hard-packed snowy roads is relatively easy, the tires grip well.

    It is the hidden ice that I worry about. We will take it slow and we have our survival package, should a sudden snowstorm have us stranded. I hope Hwy. 1 will not be closed...if it is, we will have to wait.We will be travelling on Christmas Day, so traffic should be light.

    Have a Merry Christmas, every one of you, and a very creative and joyful New Year!

  14. Anonymous9:27 p.m.

    Marion, you are indeed a gifted writer. This post actually made me envious of the bone chilling cold you described.

  15. hi marion, just popping in to wish you and family a merry christmas and happy happy new year!! happy holidays!! ho ho ho!

    ohhh... thanks for the invitation, it would be soo nice to meet you in person, and your beautiful place. yes, i think we a lot in common too. that's why we're connected in here?