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.