Thursday, January 15, 2015

It’s not that bad

We motorcyclists who occupy the northern part of North America lament the coming of winter, as inevitable as it is year after year. The days are shorter and colder and snow and ice cover the ground. Riding, unless equipped with studded tires and/or a sidecar and/or a death wish, is suspended for anywhere from 4 to 6 months as Mother Earth goes through her annual cleansing cycle.

In fact, listening to most bikers (indeed anyone whose passion is a summer activity of any sort) you’d think the apocalypse was upon us. But, in truth, winter holds its own sort of magic to enjoy. Like today.

Winter1

The thermometer tells the tale. It’s currently –27C (-17F) but the air is still so the windchill is negligible, about -30C. At those temperatures exposed skin will freeze, they claim, in 10 to 30 minutes so dressing appropriately is critical.

All bundled up I head outdoors. Chimney smoke curls lazily towards a deep blue sky. The birds - woodpeckers, chickadees, finches, blue jays, and others - swarm the feeders in search of energy to survive the cold, their feathers puffed up to provide as much insulation as possible. The squirrels, usually found performing gymnastics around the bird feeders, are nowhere to be seen, burrowed away somewhere in a rotted tree or underground waiting for milder temperatures.

As I walk out to get the morning paper (about a mile, round trip) the only sounds I hear are the swishing of my jacket sleeves and the crunch of my boots in the snow. I marvel at the frost patterns on leaves and stare at ice-coated branches glinting in the sun. Nocturnal tracks of prey and predators crisscross the road, and a 3-foot imprint of spread wings in the snow signal the demise of some small critter at the claws of a barred owl, most likely. Even the ice on the lake is quiet today,waiting for a temperature change before starting up its own chorus of groans, cracks, and booms.
 

Yes it is cold, but so beautiful and peaceful that I can forget about riding for a while and just enjoy the season for what it is.

20 comments:

  1. *sigh* You've just described heaven. I'm jealous. KB

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  2. Replies
    1. It can be pretty miserable at times, but when conditions are right it's spectacular.

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  3. Nice photos! It looks like you have a decent amount of snow. Enough to go x-country skiing without having to battle huge drifts.

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    1. Richard - Photos are deceptive. We have some snow but there's a hard icy crust just under the surface that makes skiing or even walking difficult. Still a long way to go tho, so I expect we'll see lots more before it ends.

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  4. Beautiful snow pics. While I am not a fan of the cold weather I do appreciate the sunshine and blue sky/white snow combination.

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    1. Trobairitz - I'm not a big cold weather fan either, but if you're going to get it might as well make the most of it.

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  5. Indeed it doesn't look that bad ;-) but having endured five years of Alberta winter with snowfall beginning as early as September and ending as late as May I am happy to live in an area now where -10C is assumed to be as cold as it can get and year round riding is possible.

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    1. Sonja - That sounds pretty nice too. :) Unless you get a lot of winter rain. I'd much rather spend 5 months in the cold and snow than 5 months in Vancouver's grey skies and drizzle.

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  6. I second that! I would much rather have cooler temps with more sunshine than the soggy sloggy west coast rainy winters we get. We have had a very wet one with lots of rain and fog. We are trapped in a cycle of never ending grey. I ventured up island yesterday and they had sun, so that was welcome respite from the grey, but it's back again today.

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    1. Dar - See my comment to Sonja. Give me snow over weeks/months rain any day.

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  7. Great post, the description is one I've had on my mind before but not the words to get it across. Beautiful pictures.

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  8. Lovely post...I could almost feel the crunch of dry snow under my shoes and feel the frosty air on my cheeks.

    I love a pretty snowfall. Beats dark and damp and gray any day.

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