Saturday, January 22, 2011

The First Winter

Charles and Marion on Robin

Our first winter in our new home is a bit of a blur in my memory.  I only remember a few things about it.

It was different from all other winters I have spent here in one respect:  I was bored.  Charles had bought a logging horse, a beautiful black Percheron named Robin, in the fall.  He kept her at a fellow horse-logger's place and he spent quite a bit of time logging.  I was alone, in the little house, surrounded by snow, with the two cats for company.  In the evenings, the lack of light paralyzed me.  I couldn't seem to do any work in the house with the limited light provided by the kerosene lanterns we used, so all I could do in the evening was to read for hours on end.  For the first time in my life, I started to feel depressed.

I remember the day I came out of it.  Charles finally figured out how bad things were.  He took drastic action:  he dragged me out of the house and together we built a snow castle.

The grader had by then pushed up huge banks of snow along the sides of the road.  At the corners of our driveway, these banks were especially high.  We chose one of these to make our fort, carving blocks igloo-style and building a tower ten feet tall, with a wall, and a tunnel leading to a chamber looking out onto the road.  It took all day.  It was fun!  We ended up with a wonderful snow castle.

At that time, the school bus came along our road to a point about a mile from our house.  Everyone living past us had to take their kids to that "terminal" in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon.  There were four or five families that would drive by twice a day.  For a week or more after we built our snow fort, cars would stop outside our place and we'd hear requests to explore the fort.  As the cars drove off, we'd hear the kids' voices pleading, "Can we build one when we get home?"  The kids loved us, the parents maybe not so much.

Building that castle broke the spell of negativity I'd been under.  I started to see winter as an opportunity for fun.

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