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!