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Mather: April showers, a lament for winter and the rush of spring

Viki Mather takes one of her last skis of the winter season, while pining for the coming of the warm weather
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There still snow in the bush, writes Viki Mather, but the melt is on. (Viki Mather)

Life in the bush is usually about two weeks behind what you see in the city. We still have five-foot snowbanks at the side of the ploughed road. We still have a couple of feet of ice on the lake. And it is raining.

True, that rain is better than snow in these mid to later days of April. And I keep reminding myself that rain helps transition life in the forest into spring. But it is slow. My mind waffles back and forth from lamenting the soggy outdoors, a desire to ski on the lake one more time, and a soon-to-be future of paddling my canoe. Hmm. Maybe not soon in the canoe.

Our final ski through the forest was the Thursday before last. A beautiful sunny day following a clear cold night. The crust was perfect. We could go anywhere. Well, anywhere there was snow. And yes, in case you are tired of reading about all the fun someone can have in ‘winter’, I get it. You see, I’m trying to keep focused on carpe diem! Can’t change what’s happening out there, so might as well enjoy it.

We ski on the lakes, we ski on the swamps, and we ski on the trails along the creeks in-between. The stunning beauty of it all more than makes up for this being month six of winter. 

Two sandhill cranes took off upon our arrival at the edge of the wetland. We skied alongside the newly opening creek. Giant crane footprints showed the thin snow alongside the shallow water. There were beaver footprints coming out of and back into a hole in the snow. 

This early in the morning the snowy crust was frozen like a rock as we entered the forest trail. Just walking was easier than skiing, as long as I kept to the shady side of the creek. No need to stay on the summer trail, so I sauntered alongside the shallow stream, well above it on three feet of snow. This worked for most of the walk. When it didn’t, I suddenly broke through the crust to the top of my thigh. Fortunately I had my skis to use as a bridge to pull myself up again. 

The day warmed as we travelled along frozen ponds and creekside shores. Skis slid along effortlessly. An outcrop of rock, a leisurely lunch, and we headed back toward home. Just one more memory of a glorious spring ski for 2019.

Next month I’ll be writing about ice-out!  I hope…

Viki Mather has been commenting for Northern Life on the natural world and life in Greater Sudbury since the spring of 1984. Got a question or idea for Viki? Send an email to editor@sudbury.com.




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