In the Quiet of Winter

The days have passed, the calendar pages turned, and I find myself in the middle of the quiet winter. It's quiet in that way that nature provides. When I walked up to the mailbox earlier, the only sound was the squeak of the snow under my feet. More flakes were falling silently, joining the millions of others already laying on the ground. This is one of the prettiest winters that I can remember, as the trees are still laden with thick, heavy dollops. The roofs are stacked with layers of previous snowfalls. In some cases, I can see the delineations, like the lines in sedimentary rocks. Fortunately, the ice line is very small, almost unnoticeable. That came right after Christmas, and was immediately followed by more snow. As a result, we've not had to deal with icy roads. Just a good old-fashioned winter with plenty of snow.

Despite the quiet nature of the season, life is busy here and all around us. Yesterday morning as I sipped my tea, I heard Greg call to me from the kitchen. It was in that loud whisper sort of way that signals to me that Something Big is Happening Outside. I silently hurried to where he stood by the door, and saw a big beautiful timber wolf, standing in the roadway. We watched, unmoving and mute, as it surveyed the area. Greg whispered that, while he was preparing his cup of coffee, he had noticed a deer running by, outside the kitchen windows. He went to investigate, and there was the wolf. The deer was nowhere in sight. Somehow, the wolf had lost the trail in its pursuit, and was attempting to determine its next move. It started to sniff along the ground, and came to a bit of leftover food, given the previous day to the ravens. The wolf then looked up, and suddenly caught scent of something. It gracefully lifted its nose into the air and did a quick circling motion--amazing to watch. Then it headed down the road towards the point for a short distance, changed its mind, and turned to go back up the main road, from whence it had come. I watched as it loped up the hill, with a gait that was measured, steady, and powerful all at the same time. I also knew, though I couldn't hear, that it was a silent trek, unlike the crunching sound that I make when walking the road. The wolf turned on to one of the many deer trails criss-crossing the land, and continued with its hunt. I hope it was successful. We love having the wolves around.

Late in the afternoon, I was walking down the hill to the sauna, to fire it up. As I looked out at the lake, a musher with a team of eight dogs sledded by in front of me. They, too, were silent, as the dogs made their way through the deep snow. Carefully, gracefully, they strode along, pulling the sled and musher behind them. It wasn't long before they were well down the lake and nearly out of sight.

Such an amazing place in which I get to live.....Each day, I find reminders of that.