Saturday, December 20, 2008

Walk in a white forest

Have just returned with Dog from a short foray into the local woodland. Judging from the tracks, the only other creatures to visit our area were a couple of the local Deer population and one of the local canines. No human has walked these paths since the first snow. Even the Raccoons and Jackrabbits are hunkered down.

Once you get amongst the trees what hits you first is the silence. Barely a whisper so that you can literally hear snow and ice drifting down from the trees and hitting the ground. Your own breathing sounds stentorious and a moments pause can enable the rushing of blood through your body to be quite audible. Then the lapping of water from down in Dodd Narrows becomes too loud as your hearing adjusts to the overall lack of noise. The odd warning creak from cold strained timber cautions against making too much noise. A functioning Heat Pump on a house a hundred metres away is unwelcome, industrial. The slightest sound is amplified tenfold. Compared to this, a Library would be a cacophony, a wall of intrusive sound.

Trees bow under their coating of light powdery snow, moving slightly in a timorous breeze, and everywhere the brilliant whiteness carpeting the forest floor and half coating every single branch and tree trunk in sight. Down below, the water is a pastel mid blue grey ruffled by the sub zero breeze. All else is shadows in the white, camouflaged by the cold into indistinctness.

After a couple of minutes your unprotected skin begins to prickle, and even a heavy overcoat seems to be full of holes through which pinpricks of cold seem to find their way. Anywhere in your clothing where there is an imperfect seal, heat leaches out, letting the cold air nick you with it's sharpness.

Yet this is not the cold I am used to, it does not drag the heat from your bones and sap your will. This cold whips at you like a million small goads, driving you on; home to your welcoming little island of warmth in the midst of the whiteness; home to the comforts of hot drinks and blessed blood heat. This cold sends you home.

Today is cold. Perhaps not Albertan cold, but cold enough for this poor mortals blood. Wife has just told me that the radio reports say it has begun snowing in Harewood. The next pale layering will be with us soon.

No comments: