Winter has set in early this year. The landscape has already taken on the white, black and grey hues that speak of the dark days and even darker nights that lead up to solstice. It’s a bit unusual to feel in full winter mode so early. The last few years we have had an extended fall with snow only arriving in December, and even then often departing for Christmas, leaving everyone feeling a little forlorn.
The light change is dramatic with the early arrival of winter. The snow casts a bluish white light on grey days which seeps into the windows and slinks across the floors. We have lots of grey days here in the mountains during the winter months, punctuated occasionally by clear days with blue, blue skies. The blue skies usually mean a weather system has come through and the temperature has dropped dramatically. Grey and warm, sunny and cold – winter in southern Quebec.
Outdoor life takes on a whole new rhythm. Boots are kept by the door for quick trips to the woodpile or compost bins and a whole layering of clothes takes place if we are going to be spending any longer outdoors. I usually rely on about three under layers followed by a lightweight down parka or jacket for most winter outings. I have tightly knit hats with a fleece lining for the coldest days and lighter weight knits for those in-between. It takes armies of footwear and baskets full of outerwear to get through a Canadian winter.
Long walks on our unpaved road can become a bit treacherous in the winter months. The road is narrow and can be quite icy. Crampons added to the bottom of my shoes give me that added bit of traction which makes slips and falls a little less likely, but I actually much prefer walking in the woods with snowshoes to being on the road. The woods are more sheltered from the winds and there are animal tracks to follow and birds to watch.
There’s life all around us – even in the winter. We just have to be little quieter and a little more persistent in order to see it.