Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Outside by Susan L.

  Southern Ontario had a record breaking warm weekend. Taking advantage of this spring like weather meant going for a walk three days in a row. My fitness level could use some work.
  Saturday I chose to stay on the road, hiking north past open fields blanketed with snow. It sparkled and shimmered beneath the brilliant sun. Rushing water carved its way across the low parts with a gurgle and a laugh. Canine footprints crisscrossed the field; maybe a fox or possibly a coyote. The prints had melted enough to make a positive ID virtually impossible. When they entered into a grassy and overgrown part of the field I thought that perhaps they could belong to a mouse hunting fox.
  It always surprises me how much life is out there even in the bitter cold. Earlier in the week I'd witnessed a mole scurrying across my back yard towards the house. It must have been a nervous time for him (or her) being that exposed to the numerous feral cats in the neighbourhood. I suppose living in and around the houses is a bit safer than the grassy fields where his more rural neighbours live. Later I put on my tracker hat to see where it had gone. Thankfully, not into the house!
  Sunday afternoon, H and I ventured into the park. The sun hadn't melted much of the snow in amongst the trees so the path was slippery and slushy in places. It was calm and sheltered close to the ground while gusts of warm wind made the tree tops groan and moan. Trunks and branches ground against each other with a nails-on-a-chalkboard screech. She held up a handful of snow to the light. The puff and fluff of the last snowfall had melted into ice diamonds: beauty that nearly took my breath away. We both wondered what the Inuit would call this type of snow.
  Yesterday I ventured up the road again. A little farther this time. It doesn't take long or very much for the fitness level to improve.
  What had been snow blanketed fields only two days prior were now gooey mud and ice covered puddles. Under the golden heat of the sun, the ice cracked and snarled and popped. I'd never heard this before unless I'd intentionally stepped on ice, a favorite childhood pastime. The sound fascinated me. I tried to imagine what the noise must be like when the ice breaks up on a lake. It would have be amplified a thousand fold.
  It felt good to get out of my head for a while. Feeling the warmth of the sun as I raised my eyes closed face to the sun felt good as did the warmth on my back as I hiked north. Still, it is only February and even though the warm temperatures are supposed to continue, it's a sure thing that there is bound to be a bit more winter.
  "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?" Ps 8:3-4

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