Friday, February 13, 2009

Fire and Ice.

Fire in the clearing.

At the beginning of February there are just a few frozen lumps of snow left on the roadside. A month ago we could hardly walk for the stuff. For days we were kept holed up and were glad of the food stores we had squirreled away. Along with the cold and snow came sunshine and blue skies which brought dramatic lighting to our blue shadowed, sparkling world.

Moss and snow.

Rock plants.

For all the beauty of those early drifts of pristine snow, it is these melting patches that attract me now: curves of crusty snow, blobs of brilliant green moss poking through: snow drops forcing their stems and white flowers through frozen ground. There is promise here of longer days and warmer times: of time marching on through the flow of the seasons.


I`m out now sharpening the cutting teeth of my chainsaw and felling trees for next winter`s firewood. There is a patch of Balsam firs that have been killed by budworm and will pose a fire hazard during next summer`s drought times unless they are cleared out. They have grown so tightly and are so hemmed in that it is difficult to fell them cleanly and the clearing is soon a crisscross of tree trunks. What a mess! After the challenge of felling, the job of bucking them up into fire-log sized pieces is a noisy chore, and dragging endless bundles of branches to the center of the clearing is exhausting for my winter softened body. The fire makes up for it all as the flames leap upward.
I climb back over the rocky ridge toward home and lunch, pause to glance back at the flames and then, after shaking the sawdust out of my pant cuffs, step through the front door. Heather looks up from the quilt she is sewing and sees my smile. ‘How goes the logging?" she says.
"I got the fire going at last."I reply, and shuck my jacket off. She knows that I am having a very good day.

Just as I`m finishing, down comes some more snow!

No comments: