[Says John] Sometimes one little thing blips across the screen of your consciousness to remind you that you’re in a very different reality. When I unpacked one of our boxes in our new apartment this week, a dried up poplar leaf fell out onto the carpet. A leaf from back home on the Little Bob Channel in Bobcaygeon. I picked it up and turned it in my hand, a mottled yellow-brown (the leaf, not my hand) and it struck me that there are no leaves up here. Wow. Who knows how long till I see another one?
Further unpacking revealed a small print of a turtle that Lorraine had brought with her. I looked at it and thought: No turtles either. Very different than life on the Little Bob.
But there are things I like too. I went for my first cross-country ski of the year today (Dec. 1) and it was great. A two-block walk to the beach, then skied along a snowmobile path around the end of the bay, probably about six km out and back. On the far side of the bay, near the big tanks that hold all the fuel oil for the town, I could hear the unearthly howling of what sounded like hundreds of dogs. Apparently most of the sled dogs in town are kept tied up (out of reach of one another) out at this far end of town. Must be quite a sight. I would have had to go way out round the end of the fenced in fuel tanks to get to them, so I didn't bother this time. Maybe next time.
On the way back, though, I passed seven or eight sled dogs staked out at the edge of the beach by themselves--again, out of reach of one another. I almost ran over them before I saw them, as they were lying quietly curled up against the wind, with their noses tucked under their tails.
What else did I see? Fox tracks. Mouse or lemming tracks. Lots of ravens, of course. A big jet plane that came in low right above me on its landing approach (the runway lines up with the head of the bay).
I also saw one lone snowmobiler cross the bay, pulling a komatik behind him, and picking his way slowly amongst the big chunks of ice that get thrown up by the tidal action. I guess that means the ice is safe now (although I’m not ready to go out on it yet--don’t worry Mom). It was only about 10 days ago that there was a ship in the harbour, unloading fuel oil--the latest they’ve ever had one here apparently.
It was a great ski, even though the temperature was about minus 20 (minus 30 with the wind chill). But it’s a dry cold, and all you have to do is dress for it. I’m definitely going out tomorrow again, too. Maybe I will get in 100 outings this year. It's funny how that works for me. Before I went out, I was feeling disgruntled and a bit depressed about being up here, so far from family, old friends (like my SwingBridge bandmates), and trees and other familiar things. But after skiing, I glowed with happiness the rest of the day.
The other thing I like about the winter (so far) is NO SLUSH, just crisp snow, I’m hopping around in my crepe-soled, fleece-lined moccasins, just as comfy and cozy as can be. I love that; it's like going out in your slippers.
All for now. I'll let Lorraine tell you how she kicked butt at Scrabble tonight with a couple of our new acquaintances; I think I can say, friends.