Last night, the final night of June, Kristen and I flew the north shore of McLeod Bay, homeward bound from Yellowknife.  Glassy calm water and the very last floes of ice were scattered on the mirror like shards of a giant broken vase.  On the perfect calm they float for a few final days in delicate arcs south of Thompson Landing and northeast of Kluziai Island.  Ice out is official, for there will be no one stopped by those few chunks of ice.  A few happy boaters on this Canada Day might poke their cabin cruisers up into the western reaches of the bay and find a little ice for their Scotch.  Hopefully this will make their day, as it should.

There is a taiga fire burning to the northeast of us.    The edge of the fire will today likely reach the shore of Long Lake (our name — how many Long Lakes are there in the world?)  As of yesterday evening, when we circled flaps-down through the smoke for a good look, it was only a quarter mile from the shoreline of that lake, which lies directly across its path, and is wide and, as you might have guessed, pretty long — or at least it feels long when coming up or down it on a dogsled in the dark.  To call the burn a “forest fire” would be misleading.  Even a “wildfire” sounds a little over-dramatic for this creeping band of smoldering lichen, brush and deadfall with its thick plumes of white smoke. Still, it is a fire, burning wild and completely unchecked, and it is moving at the whim of the breezes, charring the countryside as it passes. It is fascinating to peer down from the plane into the country already burnt, and see all the green still there — big pockets of birch and alder, low wet ground, tall trees. Even on the hottest blackest sections I am left with the feeling of witnessing a perfectly natural drama, not some cataclysmic event.  Glib of me, for it is cataclysmic enough to an unfledged white-crowned sparrow as the flames lick upward to consume the nest.  Always amazing too, to watch the hot edge reach a stand of tall white spruce.  Broad orange plumes of flame rush up through the smoke and entire trees burst into flame at every twig and needle.  

Whether Long, Windy and Pistol Lakes will stop the advance of the fire in our direction depends mostly on the wind and the weather, but they might and I cannot help but hope that they do. If over the coming weeks the fire reaches the outskirts of our little homestead we are confident that with the right help from the local fire crews we could protect our buildings, our fuel cache out on the rocky point, and our livestock of the canine and feline varieties.  As of today that one hot edge of the fire coming close to our dog-trail route is about 7 nautical miles from here, which is, in the vernacular of the old mountain men and my dear mother, “a fur piece.” 

This morning the smoke lies thick and visibility is less than 3 miles.  The sky above is a beautiful pale blue smattered with puffy cumulus. In the entire month of June we recorded just 5 millimeters of rain, in two brief showers.  Still, somehow, as they always do, the woods have greened up.  Canada Day is sometimes summery, sometimes not, but this year July begins in verdant green, a smoky haze, and down the bay some ice tinkling in some lucky boater’s orange juice.  

June begins.  Skim ice on the shore lead early this morning.  The Bush Hawk on wheel skis now a good distance offshore, tied down to deadman logs beneath about 30 inches of thoroughly candled white ice.  30 inches and decreasing by the hour.  It won’t be long now before I am forced out of here for changeover to floats. Hopes for a protracted and delayed ice-out  have pretty much fallen away.  Yesterday evening I mounted the mightly little Bravo skidoo and gunned it for the Evil Kneival jump from the rotting ice edge, across the shore lead with a smacking splash and onto land.  It is now stowed safely under the eave of the shed for the summer.  It had a hard and lonely winter, what with being abandoned in foot-deep overflow for well over two months up on Long Lake. The dogsleds and harnesses have been stowed for the season after the final run on May 24th.  No June sledding this year.  Now the dogs are taking turns joining us for strolls on the ice, four at a time, booties on every paw. We can still step right onto firm ice at the south tip of the windmill island, and over at the fuel cache, but a long plank will be needed by the end of today.

A nasty tight low pressure system moved in from the southeast two days ago — not at all a common track for a weather system hereabouts — bringing a long day of lashing northeasterly wind and sideways rain.  By the morning yesterday, the final morning of May, all was sunshine and blue skies and calming winds.  The wind and rain sharpened the spears of the ice-candle tips, putting an end to the pleasant bicycling out on the bay. A few big mosquitoes are lumbering around, but thankfully there has been no sign of the new crop yet. Buds swelling on the birches and a few sprigs of grass starting to green. Fireweed shoots come up so fast that I think if you had the patience you could sit there for six hours and discern the rise in their height.

Yesterday as we paddled a canoe through the narrow shore lead we spotted a good-sized grayling lying in the shallows, finning gently in place, in about 10 or 15 inches of  brightly lit water.  Water that had just turned perfectly clear, so must now be directly connected to the main lake. There can’t be more than a foot of water between the bottom of that shoreline ice and the shallow bottom of the lake, for a long way out, but the fish had threaded the narrows and emerged into the sunlight along shore.  Never seen one in there before, with the shore lead so narrow. 

We were laying plans to walk down the ice to the west and check on the old boat frozen into its winter harbor, when Kristen said “there’s something big out on the ice.”  Binoculars were quickly fetched, and a bear identified.  Better binoculars were fetched, and the bear became a grizzly, not a black.  Ambling slowly in from the headland to the west, pausing, walking slowly, pausing again.  He or she turned up into Blue Fox Bay and disappeared from our sight behind the rocky point of Tern and Seagull Islands.  No bear in sight for a while then, but plenty of noise from the gulls.  (No terns here yet, I don’t think.)  After an hour or so the bear was out on the ice again, angling south and east, drifting closer to the parked plane.  Bear bangers and firearms were being readied, in case it decided to get too close to all that flimsy but expensive plexiglass, but it angled off again and slowly dwindled to a wavery speck in the far distance.  Must have been one sore-footed bear that hit the Kahochella Peninsula, after miles and miles on that pointy knobbly ice.

I remember being out on the May ice many years ago, running a big string of 14 dogs, double-sledding with a friend, when out from shore came a black bear at a dead run, gaining on us from our 8 o’clock.  We stopped the dogs and they all spotted it.  A few barked, and the bear stopped, stood still, thought better of taking us all on, and drifted back to shore.  Six hours later we saw him round the point much as the bear did yesterday. I wonder what they find out there on the ice, besides sore feet.  Often they do stroll right along shore line beaches at this time of year, maybe on the lookout for sunbathing grayling fast asleep.   

 

The wind has died and the sky has cleared.  The sun is well up over the horizon by 6 a.m.  Cold again, down to -18 overnight.  (Celsius, Yankees, Celsius… why don’t you get with the rest of the world?)   I step out on the upper deck of the cabin, wearing a down sweater and a wool hat, wool slippers on my bare feet, a cup of hot coffee in my hand.  As I stand there looking out over the long white ice, across to the distant snowy ramparts of the Kahochella, the silence is the first thing that strikes me.  A couple of dogs look up at me from the yard, but most of them are curled up in their houses.  Our resident ravens are up and doing, but they are not talking this morning.  Nothing to say, I suppose.  I get that.

We truly are a minority in this summer-infatuated culture — we who love winter and hate to see it go.  Well, no, that is not precisely it.  I do love winter, but what tugs at my heart on these frosty May mornings is how much I cherish this final round of it, right on the cusp of spring.  All this wonderful warm light streaming in while the ice is still hard and white and the dogs are still happy and running.  The deep tan on everyone’s faces and the delicious trickle of meltwater in the afternoons, frozen hard again by dawn. The undertone of being on the verge of something unstoppable, a mighty force advancing from the south but not quite here yet.  Let this last, I think to myself every year, oh please can we just have a late spring this year, and an extra three weeks of days like this?  Think of the work we could get done out in the woods with this combination of long days and snow cover, says my practical side.  Think of the ear;ly mornings just like this one, quiet and just warm enough to be out, with this light streaming in from the northeast, this crispness in the air, this crunch underfoot, this silence.

After a few minutes, from the woods to the north of the house, a bird voice.  I am not throwing this in for effect or making it up.  Again, and no mistaking it — it is a robin.  A cold robin this morning, but a robin nonetheless.  Saying to her husband, “I told you we were going to be early, dear.  But oh no, you were all go go go… Now look at us.  You see any worms for Pete’s sake?”

And down in Louisville, it’s Derby Day.  Pick your horses; sounds like it’s going to be a mudfest this year.  We’ll be tuned in, via the mixed blessing of satellite radio.   Go Calvin!

 

Now it is Winter Light.  (Light as in illumination, not as in intensity or calories, like those dreaded Lite yogurts or Lite beers….)

Here on the edge of the taiga I think of the year as divided into five seasons.  November through January are “Winter Dark” and February through April are “Winter Light.”   The months of May and June are Spring, July and August are Summer, and September and October are Fall.  

Winter Dark and Winter Light are as different as night and day.  On February 1st we now have usable daylight (including our long twilights) from before 9 a.m. to past 6 p.m., and we are gaining nearly 6 minutes a day.  Bring it on!   And it has been milder here these past few weeks.  Instead of 40 below and lower, the temperatures have been in the 20 to 30 below range through much of January (all of this in degrees C. for those south of the border.)  Easier on the woodpile, easier on the dogs and just easier on everything.  -20 C. is the perfect winter temperature, to my way of thinking.  Just below zero degrees F.  The snow is still dry and squeaky, but it has some glide in it for sleds and skis, and the dogs find it perfect for flat-out effort without overheating.  Plus there is nothing like a blast of 40-some below to make minus twenty feel like swimsuit weather.  

This winter I have been musing about the Uses of Cold, for lack of a better title.   Several things prompted this.  In the much ballyhooed onslaught of deep cold back in December, I was in town for a few nights doing a flying job with a grad student studying wolves.  As usual, on those working days far from home, I was eating my high-octane urban bachelor diet, one of the main components of which is pizza.  Pizza being one of Nature’s perfect foods (dairy, grain, meat, cheese, vegetables, fruit — the only major food groups missing are beer, coffee and ice cream which must be taken as additional supplements) and perfect for leftover use as lunch food in the plane, I was stocking up at the downtown grocery store in Yellowknife.  There was a special discount price on one brand of frozen “grease wheels” as another pilot friend aptly names pizza.  As I checked out with my pizzas and other essentials (alas, the draconian liquor laws of the NWT still prevent the sale of beer in grocery stores, as contrasted to more civilized places like Denmark and Wisconsin), the lady at the till remarked — “oh isn’t that a great price on those pizzas?  I just wish I had more room in my freezer at home so I could stock up.”

I looked back at her, perplexed, and then started to chuckle.  I said “Well, do you have a car with a trunk?  It’s 42 flippin’ degrees below zero out there!”  At first she didn’t get my drift, but then she realized what I was suggesting.  When the entire outdoor world has become a deep freeze, surely there are at least a few positive ways to put that to use.  This got me thinking again a week or two later, when the power outages down in the Maritimes and Ontario began making national news.  The electricity demands of people trying to keep warm, with everything from block heaters on vehicles to electric blankets to baseboard and space heaters in rooms, had put the grid past overload, into blackout.  Yet meanwhile, in almost every one of those houses, an energy-sucking chest freezer or upright fridge-freezer was merrily humming away.  As anyone who has lived off the grid with home-made power like solar, wind, and generators can attest, the two things that really zap a power supply are making something warm (heaters) and keeping something cool (fridges and freezers.)  Lights, fans, computers, stereos, and even most small power tools pale by comparison.  

In November, usually about the 10th or 15th, there comes a much-anticipated day when we decide it is safe to turn our freezer into a fridge.  Out everything comes, and into wooden boxes and steel chests and plastic coolers on the porch and behind the house.  The “big freezer” is on for the winter, and we will count on it until sometime in late April, in this climate.  The small 12-volt chest freezer then becomes our fridge for the winter, but it is happily disconnected from the battery bank all winter.  There is just a daily or every-second-day rotation of plastic water jugs filled with lake water, back and forth from the front porch to the fridge.  Takes a few seconds a day, but the fridge is now an ice-box, in the old-fashioned use of the word, and using not a single watt.   This is one of those great trade-offs that work in our favor, because the freezer takes the output of several 75-watt solar panels, whose output has dropped to essentially zero with the onset of Winter Dark, by the time we can turn the freezer off.

Now I know as I type that no one in this busy urban age can be bothered to keep their frozen and perishable foods outdoors in winter, and make some practical, money-saving, environmentally friendly use of all that wonderful free cold-ness which the season delivers to our doorsteps free of charge.  Or to unplug the fridge and turn it into an ice-box,  rotating a couple frozen jugs of water in and out to the back porch.   And I know too that one of the wonderful things about our deep cold here is its consistency, which is not so predictable farther south.   That consistency makes an approach like ours workable.  We simply do not see temperatures above freezing or even anywhere near the freezing mark for 4 months straight.   

When electricity rates rise to reflect the real planetary cost of those amps and watts,, this practice won’t seem so much like something from the lunatic fringe.  And when that day comes they will not be marketing refrigerators like the one I heard about recently, which feature a little butter warming compartment inside — so you can put the butter in the fridge where it belongs, and still keep it warm.  Huh?    

All I am saying is hey, think of some way to put the cold to use — it is there for the taking.  With the money you save you can go to the local indoor pool for a February dip, or go hear Al Gore speak on global warming.  

And Happy “Winter Light” to all.

 

 

It is the winter solstice of another trip around the sun.  Our 26 years here have seen many changes.  On the momentous day of Winter Solstice, I can’t help but reflect on some of them.

From Chapter One of my book North of Reliance, published 1994:

Half-light.  It is nine in the morning and I’m out in the dogyard scooping frozen dog droppings into a big metal pail.  It is thirty-seven degrees below zero, and the droppings are like brown stones.  The dogs are noisy and excited.  I have just doled out their morning ration of fish broth and a few of them are still working the dents and corners of their battered pans, looking for a fleck of whitefish they might have missed.  “Easy there, Blondie, it’s cold out.  You’ll stick your tongue right to that bowl.”  My words are futile, of course – a couple of seconds later I see that her pan is spotted with a few frozen droplets of blood.  Grayling, her grizzled old neighbor, looks at me with what could pass for a knowing smile. 

            It is still dark enough that I can clearly see the bright circle of light at the cabin window.  The sky is a deep blue, almost indigo, and there is ice fog in the air, a thick haze formed by frozen water vapor.  I am dressed heavily in bulky army-surplus flight pants, a thick sweater under a pullover parka, a suit of wool underwear beneath it all, a big fur hat, enormous insulated boots, and thin cotton chore gloves now stiff with frozen fish broth.  This is miserable:  although I am warm otherwise, my fingers are numb.  I set the bucket down, kick the blade of the shovel into the hard-packed snow, and walk to the cabin. 

            “It’s like winter out there,” I say to Kristen as I dig out a thick pair of mittens.  I wrap my bare hands right around the pipe of the woodstove, flirting with the hot metal and heating my aching fingers.  My face flushes and tingles in the warmth of the house.  In a few minutes I turn back out to finish the chores. 

            It is winter as of this morning, the twenty-second of December.  This is it – this is as dark as it’s going to get.  There is comfort in that thought. 

            Darkness has become a habit now.  After the two woodstoves, the lights are the most vital fixtures in the cabin.  A battery-powered headlamp seems to have permanently sprouted from each of our foreheads, to light our work outdoors.  Lately we have been luxuriating in the use of small electric lights indoors as well, running the gasoline-powered electrical generator for a few hours at a time to keep a big storage battery charged.  Every evening we have been using a drill or a circular saw or the sewing machine, repairing sleds and making new harnesses for the dogs.  Those tools require the generator and there is current to spare.  When the projects are finished we will be more thrifty and revert to gas lanterns filled with abandoned jet fuel from an old fuel cache nearby. 

            With the holidays of Christmas and New Year’s just ahead, we will pass this Solstice day without much change in our winter routine.  There are the chores first, then breakfast, and today a careful recording of the time of sunrise.  By some astronomical phenomenon which I have never quite grasped, this is the shortest day of the year, but this Solstice morning is not the year’s latest sunrise.  The dawn continues to come later, by a minute or two, until almost the last day of December, while the earliest sunset of the year was almost a week ago.  On Solstice, the total duration of the daylight slowly begins to grow, by mere parts of a minute at first.

            At 10:05 the first ray of direct sunlight is visible on the southeast horizon, a brilliant sliver just edging the skyline above Pike’s Portage. Creeping along the line of the hills, imperceptibly climbing, the sun slowly appears.  Red through the icy haze, it looks this morning like the distant star that it is – millions of miles away, throwing a wan light toward the earth.  Somehow, in the eight minutes or so since that light started toward us, it seems to have lost all vestiges of warmth.  The sun is up, but the air seems even colder now.

            At 1:30 in the afternoon, the little zipper-pull thermometer on the handlebar of my sled reads minus thirty-five.  Our four hours and twenty minutes of sunlight are nearly gone – the mirror image of those four hours that we spent staring out the window, flying home, and reading our mail last June.  Low in the south-southwest, pale sundogs flank the sun on either side, apparitions created by crystals of ice high in the atmosphere.

            Ahead of me beneath the line of sundogs, eight sled dogs are in a burst of speed, heading for home, rounding the point southeast of the cabin.  My cheeks and nose are suddenly stung by the thick cold air that flows down the river valley, and I raise the back of my beaver-fur mitt to my face.  The team’s enthusiasm has crested too soon, and they cannot hold their gallop.  They drop back into a trot and I can lower my mitten.  The breath of the lead dogs flows like smoke back over the team and rimes the sled cover with frost.  The sun slips to the brink of the horizon. 

            We start across the inlet at the river’s mouth.  About a half-mile to the west I see Kristen pass the rocky point there, with her team also in the final turn for home.  I smile.  It will be a race.  I pull out the jingler and rattle it with a growling “Get up!”  My dogs reluctantly break into a lope again.  I see Kristen pedalling behind her team, and I start pedalling too. 

            Then I remember, and we are taxiing in, the door of the plane open, water gurgling along the float chines, crossing this same piece of lake by the homestead at 2:30 in the morning on June 22nd.  For just a moment the sun stands still.  My mukluk squeaks on the packed snow as I nudge the planet forward toward the welcome light of another year. 

So that was then.  This is now.  23 years on from the morning described above, and here is how it went:

As the sun set in mid-afternoon yesterday, the 19th, I fueled the Bush Hawk with a wobble pump stuck in a drum of avgas.  Topped it right up, since at dawn on the 20th, about 9:15 a.m., I was to be airborne and southwest bound, for a 10 a.m. pickup of a biologist and a wildlife officer in Lutsel K’e 55 miles to the southwest.  The sun will rise there about 10:15, and we will make a long low-level tour of the country north of McLeod Bay.  The biologist and the game warden want to assess the movements of the caribou herds north of Great Slave, especially the beleaguered Bathurst herd which is still under a controversial no-harvest restriction.  At the end of the day we will land in Yellowknife, legal twilight for landing there being 16:06.

Caribou from the Beverly – Ahiak herd have moved into our area in recent weeks, and yesterday we saw long files of them strung out on the ice, drifting north from the Fairchild Point area.  Our neighbors at Reliance alerted us with a message (an e-mail; how I miss the old HF radio these days) – “Thousands of caribou heading your way.  Heck of a sight.”  On our twilight dog run with three teams, we passed the fresh sign of a kill in Gyrfalcon Cove just east of the river.  A mound of caribou skin, some drag marks, lots of wolf tracks.

I stow everything in the workshop ready for a very early morning heating of the plane.  I am not looking forward to that.  Having things ready may help my mood at 5 a.m.  Generators, “little buddy” 900-watt electric heaters, the propane-and-12V  “tundra toaster”  — God’s gift to bush pilots, I’m convinced.

But as we go out to put twelve of the older dogs into the barn just before bedtime, and bank a slow fire there for them, I already have my doubts about the morning.  It is -39 on the shed thermometer at 9:30 p.m. I pass a restless night of sleep, wondering and tossing and turning.  At 3 a.m. I get up to piss, bank the fire, and check the temperature.  The house thermometer shows -39 now, so it is -41 for real, because the house thermometer picks up heat from the building.  I lie back down, can’t sleep, and read for an hour.  A biography of Roald Amundsen, and the chapter about the flight of the airship Norge from Spitsbergen to Alaska, across the North Pole, in the 1920’s.   An amazing story, which I have heard about but never really read.

At 5 a.m. I get up.  The internet has been on all night, since when I went to sleep some helpful tech gurus somewhere in the U.S. (sounded like New Joisey from the accents) have been literally inside my machine, cleaning up and throwing out and generally making it run smoother – or so I am assured.  I go downstairs and see that they are done – they have left and I never heard them go out!  A sign on the screen says “Work Completed.”  This is so much like science fiction that I cannot even fathom it.

The Environment Canada website reads out the numbers:  at 11 UTC it is -40 in Lutsel K’e, -42 at the automated weather station at Reliance, and -43 at the Hanbury River.  It is -43 here, too, or damned close.  I don’t mull too long over my decision.  I had really already decided before I came down the stairs.  I compose a polite but succinct e-mail to Bruno and the others at the wildlife department, noting the time so they will have some idea what heating a plane up entails for us off-the-grid pilots (it is 4:20 a.m. by their time, since here at the Hoarfrost we adamantly refuse to change our clocks twice a year – just Big Brother stealing our precious afternoon daylight if you ask us), cite the commonly recognized cut-off temperature for low-level piston-engine  flying work, which is -35 C. or about -30 F.  Apologize, send the mail, turn off the confuser, and go back to bed.  Finally sleep.

And it comes again, the morning of the Winter Solstice.  Some changes around here since that long-ago North of Reliance morning, but some things have remained the same.  The dogs, an entire three generations on, still slurping the same fishy fatty broth, their droppings still clattering like stones into the bucket, my cold mittened hands around the shovel, the shallow ice fog out over the river mouth.  Now the two girls, 17 and 14, are with me out in the yard, watering dogs, chattering gaily to the puppies who waddle around their pen like furry lumps of butter.

Back at the house we send a note to Kristen who is in town for a couple of days of errands and appointments –“won’t be flying today.”  Bruno writes back from Lutsel K’e and I am happy to hear that he seems to understand my decision.  He is a private pilot himself, and I think he can fairly easily conjure up the unpleasant scenario of, say, a blown prop seal and a forced landing on the edge of the Barrens at -40, on the shortest day of the year.  It would be a very long night waiting for someone to come.  Not like the three weeks on the pack ice that Amundsen and Ellsworth and crew spent after their airplanes both went down, but long enough.

Things change.  Things stay the same.  It’s winter, and flying.  The weather has to call the shots and after a certain point stubbornness is not a useful trait.  Being stubborn, this has not been an easy lesson for me to learn.

Happy Winter Solstice to all,and  Merry Christmas, and I will post again in the New Year.  Sooner,  if I think of something interesting to say.

 

Thanksgiving comes in late November in the U.S.  In Canada Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October.   Here on the shore of McLeod Bay we are thankful today, for it is the first of December.

We are thankful that November has passed safely and without any close calls.  

November is a month with a bad reputation around here.  We consider it the most dangerous month of the year.  It is a month filled with poor flying weather, unpredictable ice and water conditions, and a constant day-by-day watchfulness as we come and go.  As years go by we try to come and go a lot less often than we once did.  Maybe we are just getting wearier and less bullheaded.  Maybe we are even getting, dare I say it, smarter?  

November is a month of overflow on the river ice, of roaring southwesterly and northeasterly gales, of waves bashing and churning fresh pans of ice to smithereens, grinding the floes against the silt of the lake bottom until there is no clear drinking water for a week at a time. The wind generators pay for themselves in spades, day after day, as the batteries hum to capacity and electric lights can come on at a whim, morning after morning.  At this season the solar panels lie virtually dormant, stymied by cloud and the low arc the sun makes on the days when it does show. 

In 2007 November was marked at both its start and its end by some very close calls with our neighbours the barren land grizzlies.   It was a dreadfully poor year for berries and the bears were feeling the pinch.  I have only wrecked a plane once in my life, and that was in November, 2005, a mile north of home.  We were lucky.  We walked away, and the plane has logged 2,000 hours since.  On an awful November day 20 years ago, we came much too close to drowning after falling through thin ice.   Our mistake cost us heavily, and I cannot dwell on that one here.    I have sweated a cold sweat flying along in the dark with a load of ice on wings, prop, and engine air intake, northbound for Yellowknife up the west shore of Great Slave Lake, forced low by weather, on wheel skis a hundred feet over churning whitecaps.  Cold comfort.  That too was in November.

So you can see why we are thankful to have November behind us, and why we are counting ourselves lucky.  As December begins and we slide toward the solstice we are home safe and sound.   The woodpile is still big enough, stacked and waiting for the days ahead.  The inland lakes are all solid and the snow is easing the bumps and bashes of the dog trails, inch by fluffy inch.  

November is not all doom and gloom.  It has its moments, and the less ambitious one is, the more one can enjoy those.  McLeod Bay has been keeping us guessing and has faltered a bit, but it is gradually freezing.  We have our ice bets in, but now all of our guesses look to have been optimistic, and we will put new dates into the hat today, just to keep things interesting.  Nothing late about freeze-up here so far, for the big lake.  If we see Christmas with open water to the south, that will indeed be remarkable.  I don’t think we will. One more round of deep cold, with a night of no wind, should see the deed done.   That will be another mile marker in the year.  We all look forward to that first smooth dogsled ride down the bay. 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.  

I have added a brief footnote to the recent post, now titled A Study in Contrasts.

I have also softened the imagery of my moose hunt, as my slang reference to the moose’s possible demise was troubling me.

The physical reality of killing another creature — which of course is the intended end result of good hunting — is troubling me lately, and I was trying not to mince words, and perhaps also trying a little too hard to shake people up.   I will try to be a little less off-the-cuff.

This blog world is a strange one and if I offended anyone I apologize.  Not my intent.

“And rightly comprehended, the theme of the writing would be constant: a sustained effort to demolish the cliché; to understand, and then to say, as well as we can, what we feel to be true.”
– John Haines

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 131 other followers