Saturday, March 9, 2013


Up the snowy hillside we traversed, the thrust of the engine hurling us over ridges, our body weight shifting right, then left, then right again as the snow machine responded, lurching and leveling off.  We wove in and out of the tops of trees, the leaves of last year buried far below us, and the hope of the coming year pushing its way up toward the sun.  The tall, silent trees looked rather shrub-like as they poked out of the depth of white.  The warmth of the cabin dissipated the further we traveled, my cheeks all rosy and alive.  Lonnie, conscious of the delicate state of my nerves, earned my confidence and took it slow and steady on the scary slopes.  But where it was safe and clear he let her rip and allowed the heartbeat to race a bit.  I told myself the racing heart would help keep me warm. In reality, it was a lovely, sunny winter day, not too cold, and the snow over the lake shimmered in the sunlight.  We slipped down from the mountainside into the clearing, there where the water sparkled in the summer.  Now, under good thick layers of ice, we planned to tempt lurking trout and yank them into submission.  
The men had erected a nice red tent, with comfy chairs and a heater.  But Kirk had already sat there for hours this morning to no avail, so we took the auger down by the inlet, where we surmised there was more oxygen in the water.  We drilled half a dozen holes, scattered over the pond.  I stood over my little pin prick on the icy pond and scooped the frozen slush from the watery surface of the ten inch hole.  Threaded a nice plump earthworm on the hook, topped with a maggot teaser.  I let it sink to the bottom, then cocked the reel and raised it up about a foot.
Kim did the same a few yards from me, and Lonnie and Kirk down closer to the inlet.  Chris upended an orange bucket and planted herself over the lens of the lake.  As I sat there, past the point of pondering, past the point of prayers of gratitude for the immense beauty, past the consciousness of the stillness and serenity, my hand dipped down into the soft wet snow and I noticed that these were particularly perfect snow conditions.  And so I planted the heel of my pole into the snow and scooped a handful of good wet snow; pressed it between my mittens, then bent over and pushed it through a virgin path until it grew to a considerable size.  Kim lifted herself from her fruitless perch and began the same process.  When her massive snowball was just right we both squatted and counted and…1…2…3…but could not heft the weighty orb onto the base.  Believing that there is always a way, and unwilling to resort to asking for help from the men folk, we folded one of the camp chairs, leaned it up against the large snowman base, and rolled the mid section up the chair and into position.  A third, then a fourth, and TA DA, we had ourselves a snowman. Being far from any known carrot, top hat, buttons or coal, Kim trudged in her snowshoes through the slushy edge of the pond and up to the hillside where a nice curly twigged tree obliged by donating her branches.  I dug a cinnamon candy out of my down jacket and presently this appeared:

We were quite pleased.  Lonnie thought we were neglectful of our poles, and Kirk commented on the unconventional use of 4 sections instead of three, but we thought ourselves rather resourceful of our time and talents.  We thought it could serve as a sort of scarecrow for wild beasts who might come bother our supplies in the night.  But on second glance, from the side, the creation looked more like a pregnant innocent with pick-a-ninny hair, not likely to scare anyone or anything.  

By the time we left she was leaning pretty heavy.  She may be down tomorrow.  But like I said to Lonnie as we mounted our snow machines and looked back over the pond, the joy was in the creation.
(I wonder if that's what Michael, the archangel, said to God.)

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