Will’s Thoughts – How Cold Spells Can Fire Up Memory.
How a cold spell fired up my memories: It did not take very much -30 weather before my mind started conjuring up images of warmer days. Now, before you start saying “poor baby”, I have certainly lived through a heap worse winters than this one, I reckon you might consider that I was a single parent who raised his son in a Yukon trapper’s cabin for years, with NO modern conveniences. I assure you that I know ‘cold spells’ intimately, and over the years, I have come to like them a heap less. I used to love the sound of my mukluks squeaking on the snow, air so cold it was like razor blades going into my lungs, and the pristine beauty so spectacular it seemed like a dream. There is little in the world that tastes as good as fried moose meat, dried fish, fresh bannock and hot tea when it is 50 below zero, or, as beautiful as watching northern lights dancing above a glittering snow capped horizon.
The cold spell got me thinking about spring; icicles dripping, camp jays cawing and the plop of falling snow. I love watching snow and ice melt, creating tiny rivulets that merge to create ever larger flows of water. I used to pretend to follow a single drop of water, beginning with its transformation from a crystal to a fluid, and then onward as it raced toward the sea. Using leaves and twigs to escort it, entire navies were built and launched to go forth to protect it as it explored the world. In a gumboot trance, I’d wade into shallow lakes of melted surface water, as diffused sunlight danced on frozen matted vegetation below the surface, creating the illusion of exotic undulating coral reefs. The smell of decomposing bark and leaves filled my nose, as the sun’s rays warmed my face like a mother’s hand, and wisps of wind whispered of warmer days soon to come. The cadence of geese using their wings to row northward through the sky, and the grunt of migrating woodland caribou, let me know the call of the wild had been heard, and was being answered.
Staring through the cold spell’s frosted panes, I imagined that could hear the wing beats of millions of migratory aviators blowing spring northward, and grumpy den dwellers emerging, complaining and rejoicing in the same breath. As I slipped deeper into a cold spell induced fantasy, critters romantically pursued each other, on land and in the sky, like politicians pursuing a vote, and with a similar end result. Thick sheets of lake ice recoiled in horror from warming shorelines, and the terrifying roar of river ice filled the sky as it wrenched loose and wrestled for position. Soon, buds burst forth on willows, fire-weed shoots reached for the sky and wood ducks nested. Life was being reborn as the sunlight lingered longer, the weather warmed and the sky began to fill with a symphony of sounds.
When spring gave way to summer, the Devil’s air force (wasps, mosquitoes, horse flies, black flies, etc.) was re-equipped and deployed, searching the land high and low for things to torture and torment. Soon, the slap of beaver tails signaled the start of construction season, as pups, chicks, calves and cubs began to discover the world around them. Then, all too soon, fall prepared mother earth for another winter’s sleep. Then, from a land far away, a voice cut through my dream world, shattering the landscape before with, “That snow ain’t going to shovel itself.” Yep, there ain’t nothing like a cold spell to cause my memory to spring to life, reminding me the chilly trials and tribulations of ‘the good old days’, ain’t over yet.
Will’s thoughts prove that everybody has opinions, but he has way more than he should. From dogs that won’t stop barking, to the antics of his spouse, ‘Crazy Lady’, Will’s Thoughts will make you smile.