Mystical Morning Matters

Mystical Morning Matters

There are moments that become available just because one seeks some fresh air for a night.

The landmarks stay the same, the fog and light shift as the sunrises.

Moving The Front Door
Moving The Front Door

And it is just outside our door, because we can haul the front door around behind the truck, along with a bed, table, stove, fridge and even a kitchen sink. A bit much for a guy who loved backpacking into the outback where no one else ventured to disturb a good night’s rest. Now we haul a toilet and electricity with us, not least of all to power a 27 inch screen to edit photos on.

Luxury. Well it may easily become my home permanently, so not really, not at -40° and +35° C.

Grasslands
Grasslands
Orange Trees
Orange Trees
Tracks
Tracks
Fog
Fog
Driven to the Sunrise
Driven to the Sunrise
Fog Rolls High
Fog Rolls High
Wider Higher Deeper … Breathe …
Wider Higher Deeper … Breathe …
Looking Back to the South
Looking Back to the South

Last Breath of Old Winter, Maybe?

It is officially Spring, but tell that to the snow of a foot in the last quiet day.

It started to fall nice and softly, on and off for more than a day it fell without a blush of thunder or despair. Just fell one little inch at a time, until it recovered the ground cleared pretty well for the crocuses to bloom.

I’ve yet to find a hillside of them here, and now the snow would have covered them another few days from reappearing.

But off where few people travel we found a place to bask in the mosquito-less lake front.

After hours of shovelling to get into a place out of the way enough to stay a day, and a rest for recovery, the sun appeared bright and warm, unexpected and not for long.

The sky came alive.

Sky BrightSky Bright

Previous visitors left Olaf’s cousin to fend for himself, and Kathie decided to level him starting with his all too small head. So after reconstructive surgery with the elements at hand, Olaf’s cousin Otto stands against the trees, leaning on a borrowed staff,

Otto, Olaf's Counsin

Otto, Olaf’s Cousin

And asking if he’ll have eyes to see with again, and a nose to delight in at all.

Kathie on Ice
Kathie on Ice

Out on her own walking the ice, Kathie’s glove has a life of its own as she bares her hands to take a call.

A Little Life
A Little Life

There is life out here, even after the snow, traipsing around, leaving tracks, knowing the empty table is useless until its filled with a feast for ants and visitors of all kinds.

Beaver Bites
Beaver Bites

Across the water the evidence of beaver new and long since given their best effort to fell a tree from beneath. Seems to me the beaver survived only because he was not successful.

Waking Warm in the Cold

Waking Warm in the Cold

It takes an experienced eye to note the effects of the cold on the view out the window.

But they are all there.

Clarity, steam, bright sky, sharp snow, shadowed exhaust from the roofs, and quiet stillness.

No one wants to be out and about when it is nearly 40° C colder than a week ago.

And then of course there is this clue, if you take the time to read it:

A thermometer.

Remember those old things that used to tell us what the temperature was, instead of reading it from a dumb device hooked to the internet, repeating to us through the ether a thermometer’s result from somewhere, maybe, close by pumped to the internet via another dumb device. Sorry, “smart” is not what happens to a thing when it’s hooked to the internet; “hacked” is, which makes it really dumb and the designers even more so.

60 years in the making, finally a photo

Time

Passes

Most of us by

At a ferocious pace.

So it took a few days to catch up to put these on the blog.

I wake on this day so long in coming, and out the door I step with bathrobe, boots, parka, hat, gloves, and camera, to the stillness of heart, mind and world that only the wilderness can afford.

Only the quiet of nothing brushing across the freshly sunlit snow

Fallen the last few days to bring spring to an end

And the wonders of winter covering like a blanket of frozen breath what once whispered a promise of green buds, bird songs, and mosquitoes.

Let the chill keep the bugs at bay for another week or more, a month or three as is seasonally to expect.

Here the water flows despite the minus 25 degrees Celsius.

The sun is warm on the trees and behind them sparking anticipation of a full bright day after three of clouds and snow drab grey.

 

 

Ahhhh … Finally

To wake one morning finally and have a reasonable workload, deadlines met, and still looming, a job still hunted for … but for today … to know what today requires and know I can accomplish these things.

And have even an hour, amidst the tasks, to enjoy beauty, and the creation of and sharing of where life has taken me and us, unexpected and delightful.

Perhaps the hour really is not mine to claim, but that will only be known later so for now the joy of life relived.

On a week to a conference, prohibited from attending by a lay-pastor full of spite, I relaxed in the mountain views out the door, and the joy of working … for it was too cold to ski Sunshine, a gift from a friend and a life-long love of mine. I never was ever too keen on skiing when the valley temperatures are below -30C. Somehow pain and frost bite just take the joy out of gliding free down across and through the snow on telemarks skis.

So I was inside, though able to see beauty each day.

Bustling Beauty

Bleeping Cold Steam Rising From Frigid Flowing Water

The day we left the conference the temperatures went wildly warm, up to just below zero and then above.

The big snow fall sat on slopes barely intact and the helicopters flew to bomb the snow loose before nature decided to pack it all at once down on top of the valley inhabitants or wanderers. As if back in Fort Ripley with the constant bombing and shelling practice shaking the earth with loud ominous thunder echoing across the clouds invisible.

 

When a day later we headed north to traverse the icefields and dry camp at the new un-serviced Whirlpool campground we knew the road likely would be closed from 11 to 17 for three hours, yes the math is off, for snow bombing (avalanche control).

The previous and falling snow made a quiet wonderland, traversable still, though just deep enough.

We pulled off to breathe, and to take photos, and to marvel.

The trees held the snow, on the steep slopes off the roadway.

To no surprise then the flashing signs at Lake Louise, and the barricade closed at the Saskatchewan River Crossing. The surprise was that at that rather major junction there is a summer only hotel and service station, with fuel and everything else … in even the telephone line to the pay phone is disconnected and dormant for the winter. And that I checked by walking through the deep snow because for miles (okay Canadian Kilometers with a long o J) there is absolutely NOOOO cell service. So we had no updates and no way to notify friends and family that we’d decided to simply wait for the road to open.

Cloud draped Mountains around the Barricade Closed

We tried driving into a trailhead parking lot, but the snow was too deep and the truck simply not high enough nor powerful enough with enough traction to pull through all the snow up to mid axel. It bogged down and I stopped, and shovelled, and shovelled and shovelled and … finally it did not just spin in place but backed out.

Stuck it had serendipitously leveled the trailer to so close to perfect, that considering our options, we just shoveled some more and put the camper right back where it had been stuck, though now with ample area around to walk and service everything needed should we stay overnight and now after 1700 it looked like that was going to be necessary.

Dry, private camping, waiting

And it was. And there was no news even as a few trucks arrived, trying to get to Prince George, unaware of the closed road.

We finally met a park ranger returning from the far side of the barricade. The news was they’d closed the road at 11 ish, and at 12 ish the day before an avalanche had crossed the road. A path was punched through the snow and debris, but the helicopter snow bombers could not fly because of the high winds and the forecast did not make that likely for another few days, Monday at the earliest.

So we settled in not wondering if or when, because by Monday I needed to be home in Cold Lake.

Where the snow had fallen and was melting warmly into the ground, in drops by drops even off the deck railing out my door.

Home Free

And we sort of celebrated Valentine’s Day, early in the mountains and late at home with roses.

Traditions

Now faded in the late stages of colour and life.

Dark and Light

Dark and Light

The light

Is

Visible

Only

In the Dark.

When it is Dark you see the Light clearly –

Only at night can you see the beauty of the dancing northern lights.

Only in the light can you see the love of people you love as so precious.

My wife loves to ski, again,

after years of not being able to.

The bright light

On the cool snow

In the warm air

 

The Lake View After Dark

 

The Lakeview After Dark

Or

When it really does get above freezing in January.

With a view to health we’ve found a quick outing to the quiet wilderness

Is just what the doctor would have ordered.

Years ago we sought out the backcountry with backpacks, sleeping bags and a small tent.

Now that’s a bit more than the old bones can handle, but the wilderness is nearly there,

When one exits the highly traveled areas and revisits what is popular in summer

Yet in Winter become

the deserted places far from civilization, yet accessible by road still,

become

A temporary wilderness

For the season

Just right

For

Recovery

From being controlled and abused and vilified and …

It is a dark sky

It is a beautiful sky

 

It is a beautiful life when one gets to  take this in.

When It Just Keeps Getting Warmer Below Zero

When It Just Keeps Getting Warmer Below Zero

Or

We made it through the superstition of Friday 13th.

The sun is up and the weather report says -7 climbing by mid-afternoon to -3.

Hurrah!

The thermometer says:

Looks like -9 or -10 to me.

But…

That’s just fine and warm with the highs for the next 5 days all out of the minus temperatures!

So the sun rises to light the world golden

And we plan to be outside.

What will you do in this warm wave of winter?

Friday 13th: When -11 is Warm

When minus 11 C is warm

The right to be at peace, not to have people lie about who you are or what you’ve done, to not be at war, to know through and through that God loves you, to have a small plot of land – say 20 square miles, or even 164 acres, or 23.5, or 9.7, or 5.3 … and be able to live in peace, and greet people with a smile, stay warm in the cold, and cool in the heat and fed in the famines, and to drink water clear each day, and to breath fresh air.

For me it is to find the snow crunch cold a delight, and the view on top a mountain that points you in all directions so high, and to turn the wing among the clouds or loop and roll under the popcorn spotted blue sky, or between the crags of the mountains, or to sit beside the rushing river … safe

From the natural power of all that which can kill, most of all the tongue that does not know how to speak from reality because fear has tossed wild emotions and swings into the face of grace and love turning it into a dance to avoid the landmines and explosions and having yet something else taken from one.

To be in peace, to give peace, to meet fears and lies with grace … this is the promise yet to come to be.

For small things, like biking the ice, breathing clear air, basking in the warm sun, contributing to making the world a better place for everyone and carrying a camera to catch the wonders of light playing the broad ivory of ice and snow, quaking beneath to remind one that also this is not truly solid, but for now (post -30) it is sufficiently safe and solid.

 

The wonder is that more would not venture to bask in the warmth.

What is -11 after -30, but warm.

Where is light, after the dark, but across the horizon to the nearest step.

What is

Peace

For

You?

For now home will have to be this and enough.

Until the light of grace guides us home.

It’s a Little Colder Out

It’s a Little Colder Out

Just a day or two ago the forecast used to say it was warming up and then it all shifts just a bit, the jet stream moves further south until the winds come from straight north of the North Pole
where not even Santa
takes a short walk
without extra
measures
to cover for the temperature that is supposedly at its lowest at -32 and a wind-chill of -42.

Supposedly because we still have 4 hours until sunrise, and the temperature usually drops as the dark hours wear on and then as the sun rises so glorious to beat back the dark the temperature usually DROPS at least another degree or so.

But this is not usual. And it could easily hit -40 to -45 with a wind-chill of -50 or less, which usually bites a bit,

and is dangerous not to protect oneself correctly against.

The air is crisp clear with a full moon.

DSC_3392

At 4:29 I tried to not have to open the deck door to get a shot of the view. Which worked sort of okay.

DSC_3397

Another attempt was also ok, if you don’t mind almost ok.

 

DSC_3401

So I stepped out into the Cold

It’s a little colder out, colder than I like being out in in the middle of the o-dark-30 hours of the morning.

The oil will be stiff, the tires square, and without a block heater, the engines will likely not run. I’m not running outside either.

And by Sunday it’s forecast to be -1, Monday plus 3! Will that come to be?

Or is it like promises made that just never are kept?

 

 

At 6 am it’s still only -33 with a windchill of -37.

And a short walk and a quick photo reveals that it is tolerably terrific if one puts on a good jacket over aa good sweater, over a good vest, with a good hat, hoodie and jacket hood, all sealed up around the neck to cover it all well, and good gloves and boots. Well the gloves leave a bit to be desired but they allow me to feel the buttons on the camera, soft and pliable deerskin thinsulite gloves.