One Long Week...

The last two weeks actually...that began with a tragic, untimely death of a young man who was a friend of my daughter and son. Too soon, too far away, too surreal. The fog descended suddenly while he and a buddy were back country skiing in Japan. As a veil of mist enveloped them, and reduced visibility to virtually nil,  he hit an icy patch and while trying to regain  his balance, slid over a mountain cliff and landed 600 meters below. Somewhere during that fall, breath turned to air. And for the 1000 plus mourners who gathered tens of thousands of miles and eight days later in a little church in rural Ontario, the topic of weather arose frequently. Unpredictable. Capricious. Friend. Enemy. Glorious. Ying. Yang.

In Canada, we celebrate our four seasons and welcome each of them with the same exuberance as we say farewell when their time is up. We are cursed and blessed. We have the largest wardrobes on the planet. And, we have the largest wardrobes on the planet.

We have special events that are themed around the weather: Winterlude gives over to Spring Fling, which bows out for Summer Sounds, which in turn introduces Harvest Ball, which brings us to Christmas in the Valley, and so the circle begins again. Each season plays host to special activities that are meant to seduce people into the outside. Hockey. Skiing. Nordic Walking. Snowshoeing. Skateboarding. Roller Blading. Mountain Biking. Hiking. Swimming. ATVing. Fishing. Kayaking. Canoeing.  And, of course, Birding year round.

It's a full life. We draw our circles large, and invite friends in to share the experiences. And, as I read recently, "If you're not dead, then you're not done. There are lessons still to be learned."

I take comfort, personally, in thinking that when someone dies, they have, indeed, come to the place they were meant to be. Have completed their journey, and can now move on to the next, whatever that may entail. When a young person dies suddenly, the silver lining is that they will not be left to languish slowly and alone in a long term care facility, sad, diminished and incapable of caring for themselves. No one gets out of life alive. But some have more pleasant journeys than others.

And so I arrived at today.  I walked out the door two hours ago, and was greeted by the actual demise of winter.


The quiet blanket of fog had crept into the woods and along the edges of the road. The silence was thick, broken only, and beautifully,  by the sweet jingling of the Juncoes, the tat-a- tat of the Hairy Woodpecker, the yanking of the Nuthatches, and the tinkling little trills of the Redpolls.
It was profoundly peaceful. The air smelled warm and rich and earthy. Nature was rolling over and shedding her wintry cloak.

This we know to be True. Spring will come.
And with it, a new dawn.


Fall and Winter Have Retired.

Who'd a thunk?

Not me certainly!

When I said " So long, adieu to you and you and you!",  and tore off the shackles that bound me to a career as an Economic Developer I really had no idea what would happen next, where I would go, what I would do, when I would know I had arrived at that magical place where retired people dwell, how I would manage, what would it be like....

So I had to just LET IT ALL GO. And the night I decided that that was the best plan, this happened:

And nothing was revealed. Well, not quite true. It was a beautiful autumn evening...a Tuesday night. And while we sat around the bonfire enjoying the full  golden moon, the lovely merlot wine, the soft evening breeze it hit me! I didn't have to go to work the next day, and I was accountable to absolutely no-one but me! And so I stayed up past midnight. 

And the next morning, I slept in past 9. And dreamed of a trip to Cape May, that wouldn't be a vacation at all. I didn't have to take a holiday from anything! I just had to go and enjoy the gorgeous ocean breezes, fabulous seafood, stunning scenery, and the birds. Oh, the birds!

And so I did!
Getting used to having no schedule whatsoever, other than a self-imposed one, took about 10 minutes. And then it became a huge release from stress, worry, and time constraints! My time had arrived, without me being aware that I had been waiting for it! 

All of a sudden, I realized that I could do anything I felt like - and I didn't have to wait until the weekend to see friends, go out for dinner, go rambling around, cook, clean or not clean...time had suddenly become my friend!


Hello cooking classes. Hello mid-week birding excursions. Hello I don't think I feel like doing anything today. Hello Netflix binge. Hello  afternoon yoga classes. 

Hello life!

Autumn morphed into winter, and even our white world became something to celebrate. Previously there had always been those moments of frustration - have to clear snow off the car, scrape the windshield, put on coats, mitts, boots, scarves moments - just to simply leave the yard. No more!
I can stay in with a book. Or not. I can, and did, go skating and had the most memorable skate of my life one gorgeous sunny day in January when water turned to ice and the magic happened.

It wasn't just one day, either. There was the day when we found not one, not two, but THREE Snowy Owls as we were taking a leisurely afternoon drive around the Valley.

There was the morning when I looked out the window, and saw deer in the yard, and then later, along the road, in the fields, and into the woods...deer here, deer there, oh deer!

There were days of wonder. Days of sleep. Moments of laughter. Time with friends. Time with family. Day dreams. Incredible scenes.

And ever so slowly, my world began to shift. It was - and is - a better place to be. And softly, winter dropped her coat, and it became easier to breathe. And signs of Spring coming appeared. 

The days got longer. And the sun warmed. 

And Spring arrived.

And so did I.