Winter Postcard

Photo: Birds Calgary

Mother Nature has been kind to the inhabitants of our small part of the planet this winter. She placed us all at the centre of this virus storm, probably in an act of rebellion for the disrespect we have shown the planet.  But now she  she seems to be relenting  by offering us a winter of inestimable beauty.

There is snow – lots of it – for skiing, sledding, show shoeing or just walking. The scenery is a photographer’s dream. I’ve seen stunning photos of wintry landscapes, a magnificent snowy owl, and horses gleefully cantering in the snow, leaving a trail of powdery snow dust behind them.

Recently we went snow shoeing at a nature park. The trail was a pristine carpet of white, bordered by dark-green fir trees on either side, as if a giant garland was wrapped around it. As we walked, I spotted a pileated woodpecker up ahead. (This might make me sound smart, but I knew the bird by its simpler French name, “Grand Pic”. “Grand” means big in French because this species is much larger than others in the woodpecker family. I had to look up the English translation.)

The woodpecker had latched onto the trunk of one of the trees, his scarlet-red crest adding a splash of bright colour to the scenery. His beak hammered repeatedly at the trunk, the sound echoing in the silence of the forest.

Ben was behind me and I signaled him to stop so we could watch from a distance without scaring him away. After a few minutes, we inched forward until we were facing him. Slowly, Ben took out his cell phone and took a few steps off the trail and into the deep snow closer to the tree. The bird wasn’t at all daunted. He accepted our presence as if we were other woodland friends like Bambi or Thumper. Ben snapped a few pictures which did not do justice to the handsome fellow and then we moved on, leaving him to continue foraging for his dinner.

The moment reminded us that we are privileged to share this planet with such beautiful creatures. Maybe that was Mother Nature’s plan all along.

Snow Caroler Kissin’ Cousins – #JusJoJan #1LinerWeds

Snow Family

Written for Linda G. Hill’s  One-Liner Wednesday & JusJoJan prompt :  Sing 

There’s no half-singing in the shower, you’re either a
rock star or an opera diva.
– Josh Groban

My index finger froze in mid-air yesterday as I was scrolling through my neighbourhood Facebook group newsfeed. This beautiful snow family stopped me in my tracks and, intrigued, I read the content of the post. It was as generous and kind as the snow people are beautiful .

So this morning, when I saw Linda’s own family of snow carolers, I wanted to introduce their Quebec-based cousins!  Here is the content of the post (minus the address the person had included).

“My mom and my daughter made them last week. I saw people passing by taking pictures so I just thought about someone here have kids that like snowman can come to see and take pictures.” 

Hope Springs Eternal

Yesterday we woke to snow falling fast and furious, covering the bare ground in a thick white carpet. But it quickly changed to big, fat snowflakes floating lazily down from a fluffy, pewter-gray cloud ceiling. By mid-morning, the sun had elbowed the clouds away and shone brilliantly in a sky so blue it almost hurt to look at it.

The call of the outdoors was irresistible and I pulled on my boots, coat and mitts and called, “Going for a walk!” to Ben, who was absorbed in the newspaper. I pulled the door shut behind me and stepped into the crisp, clean air.  Everywhere I looked, fresh snow coated the roofs of houses and clung, like a pristine cape, to the trees.

Neighbours shoveling walkways waved and wished me Happy New Year as I passed. I heard the ring of a family laughing in their backyard and imagined them building  a snow man together.  At a local park, children in colourful snowsuits trudged up a snow-laden hill, their bright red, blue and yellow plastic sleds fluttering behind them. Others shrieked with pure joy, as they sledded to the bottom, only to clamber off their sleds and make their way up for another run.

The outside world had been transformed to a real-life holiday card. Much of December, including Christmas Day, had been a dreary, bleak, wet affair. That ever-present film of mist had seeped into my thoughts and moods, so that I viewed the world through gray-tinted glasses. Now, magically, with one beautiful winter day, Mother Nature gave me back my clear vision.

This year is filled with so much hope for the entire planet. If this one, perfect day gifted to us is a sign of things to come, we will be just fine. Happy New Year.

“Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest.
The soul, uneasy, and confin’d from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.”

― Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man