Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ice-Box Galavanting

Living in Alberta, one gets used to the continual shifts in the weather. Much like a two year old in a grocery store, the moods of the weather go from mild and gentle to a tempestuous howl in moments. As Canadians, and furthermore, as Albertans, the snow is like a visit from an obnoxious relative; we curse it's coming, we roll our eyes at it's staying, we celebrate its departure, and when its all said and done, we reflect on how much fun we had complaining about it all.

Maybe its because of our proximity to the snow that we slander it so much.Familiarity, at times, breeds contempt.

I write this because I went snowshoeing today. Oh yes, I voluntarily left the warmth to strap some criss-crossed sticks to my decorative moccasins (which aren't supposed to get wet. Ha!) and brave the trails. Well, trail. Having walked a whole kilometer using nothing but a will of iron, I came back feeling as though I'd done something to blog about.

Somehow though, I don't think the deer who packed that trail before I got there are triumphantly blogging about it. I would even go so far as to say that in passing a squirrel, they didn't even thrust out their little deer chins with unadulterated pride. Why the lack of gloating? Well, its just another day, and they take it as they come. This season has something to offer them, just as every other season does. Though it is leaner than the summer months, the bounty of winter is not lost on them. With bark to chew, twigs to nibble, and grasses hidden by the blanket of snow, the woods still have what the deer need to survive.

The seemingly unconnected moral of this story? Go outside. Tuck your long johns into your socks, throw on a sweater underneath your coat, layer on two sets of mittens, and head out into the great white yonder. It is simply fantastic. Follow some animal tracts to watch where a coyote chased a hare. Find where a herd of deer spent the night. Watch the waxwings, drunk off fermented berries, swooping and careening madly through the air.

The woods aren't dead; they aren't even sleeping. Grab a friend and go see what there is to see. Then, once you re-enter your house, exilerated, follow the great Canadian tradition of curling up with a warm cup of something and complain freely about the cold. It'll be fun, I promise!

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