The worst of the cold weather is over for the week. The midweek’s stretch of -20 degrees Fahrenheit has been replaced by -2. I went snowshoeing this afternoon. The sun shone brightly. There was little wind. The blizzard that heralded out the old year and welcomed in the new brought measurable snow. Today I trudged through drifts, sometimes walking high above my surroundings, sometimes breaking through falling forward to my hands and knees. The air was cold, but I was not.
Last weekend before the blizzard, I snowshoed west of the property to the section line that separates my husband’s family’s farmland from the neighbor’s. There Juneberry, chokecherry, and hawthorn shrubs grow wild and untended pressed for space by redosier dogwood and honeysuckle. Copse of aspen, box elder and elm trees, some quite old and ailing, rise above the shrubs insisting on their own space and place ‘though forced by edging fields to grow in linear fashion. A single nannyberry shrub thrives amid the tangle of dominant Juneberries and chokecherries. In late autumn, my husband climbs from the tractor to collect nannyberries. He fills his bag and munches the afternoon away as his GPS directs the tractor from one field end to the other.
Berries remained on branches last weekend. These will serve as starvation food for birds and hares as the cold deepens.
Snow is again in the forecast this Monday into Tuesday; perhaps one-to-three inches. This will pale against last week’s eight inches and wind gusts of thirty-five miles per hour.
Winter lengthens. Here in northwestern Minnesota, there is no getting around it. To accept, to read poetry, lose oneself in novels, think long thoughts, write long letters, shovel new pathways to the car – to snowshoe – these are the choices as we watch the days tick incrementally toward spring.
Until spring, there is no fear. The woodpile is sufficient; there will be heat.