While we don’t begrudge the cold weather and the resulting snow, as the weather prolongs the season and the snow is good for the trees, we didn’t necessarily need two snow storms in quick succession, right on top of our precious weekends. There’s a good four or five feet of the stuff laid down in alternating layers of fluff and ice, so much so that one mainline is almost completely buried. Plus there’s the mundane things one needs to do when it snows such as shovel the walk and plow the driveway.
Still, we managed to trudge out into the woods, wearing snowshoes and snow pants, cursing the snowshoe bindings which were clearly meant for recreaters and not for people constantly taking them on and off, and put up 181 taps and began work on the new evaporator.
Where we were it was quiet, but in the distance was the constant dull roar of snowmobiles; people with clearly nothing better to do with their hard earned time and money than to waste gas, make noise, crash headlong into trees, and then lug their pointless machines back home on a trailer.
Before we trudged down we met a couple on the road, up for the weekend, enjoying a winter walk. She too had snowshoes on, her bindings alot more modern. It appeared that she and her husband (snowshoeless) had never gone off the beaten path, but were keeping to the plowed and sanded roadway, making me wonder what the snowshoes were for. I decided not to ask.
I have cross-country skis and ice skates somewhere, but I haven’t used them in ages. The Bundle might force me out of this hiatus, but otherwise this kind of activity seems pointless when there’s other things, more useful things, to be done in the outdoors.
There’s a red pine plantation which starts majestically at the edge of one of our fields. In the mornings the red pines’ trunks glow red and their dark canopy shades the open spaces between them; they look like a gigantic stage curtain. When we first moved here Lionel spent hours removing the maple saplings that kept growing up between the pines to keep the effect and planted new ones to replenish the stock. Now the pines are old and getting broken down and instead of mourning them we are looking at the maples they shade beneath and contemplate removing them altogether.
We’re flying headlong into March, another sugaring season. After that is planting season. Then growing season. Then harvest season. And then the winter season once again. The skis and skates will probably remain where they are. Snowmobilers can roar up and down their little narrow paths all they like. We’ll be inside hibernating, storing energy for the next go around. Our relationship to this land has changed us and molded us and we can’t really turn it off now. All we can do is follow along.