Walk to the Mailbox – Sub-zero clouds of breath and lingering wisps of fog blend into winter

Yesterday I walked to the mailbox. It’s about two miles away and some days I just take a small detour in the car to pass it and pick up the mail, but some mornings I look at the sky and know it will be a walk-to-the-mailbox day. The stars are still up there and a hint of colour slowly grows in the east, which says clear, cold, crisp. The walk is silent, the odd truck or school bus passes, sometimes there won’t be a vehicle the whole way there. Even though I walk past snow blown fields and through a forest of brittle trees, the whole place is alive with something–some kind of spirit–the wind clacking the branches together–the sun so filtered by the trees where it hits the edge of the escarpment an hour before it sets for good, that I swear it is pure silver without a hint of gold. This presence says nothing more than that all is well, on my little walk, in my little corner of this great big universe, where all is not always well. Nothing much matters on these walks. I have nothing to worry about other than a letter slipping out of its tucked place in a magazine.

We had an owl somewhere here the other night. I heard it and was delighted. I don’t know if I’ve actually ever heard an owl before or has it just been in the movies and seen in children’s picture books. When a friend visited in the late spring, we stood on the deck and listened to the busy birds in the yard and the trees. She said they sound so happy. The owl made me happy. I was delighted that it found some refuge, or a vantage point, or even the time to make a series of hoots.

It’s funny, this whole pallet of winter colour–white on white on grey until the sky burns at the end of the day–and sounds–ice cracking under the ferry, owls, ever present coyotes, the lone phantom woodpecker I have finally spotted in the woods–so much more limited maybe than the other seasons, but just as rich. It’s all here as the longer days start to race towards us and the arctic cold presses down upon us, and we are caught in this somewhere in between.

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