Friday, December 5, 2008

Contemplative Morning

California quail on the driveway, August 2008.

There's a fresh blanket of snow on the ground today. Everything from last Friday was melted here on the valley floor by Sunday. As I lay in bed, enjoying a wee lay-in, I heard the plow truck labouring up the road, the harsh grating sound of blade on asphalt.

To hear that sound whilst in bed up at our last place meant the roads were not in good condition at all. Plow truck drivers prefer to work in daylight when there's a better chance impatient drivers will see the blunt end of the blade sometimes extending beyond the width of the truck.

I love the huge curled plume of snow when they are clearing deep snow with the wind blade out!

Today is not a regular workday for me - 'my' publication goes to press on Thursday. But one of the other designers was away yesterday to deal with family matters and could be away today as well. I'm just waiting here in Falkland long enough for the post office to open so I can pick up a parcel, then head into Vernon. I was traveling in today anyway, for a luncheon date with friend George up on Silver Star Mtn. I truly must get some presents selected so as to get them off to their destinations in time! And maybe there will be time for a cuppa with weaver Lynnette over on the easterly side of town.

Writing of the plow truck sound, I am reminded of childhood mornings on the ranch in southern Alberta where I grew up. It's in Chinook country, and laying in bed in the dark I'd try to guess the weather by the pitch and intensity of the wind. Was it a frigid blizzard wind that would tear the breath out of me on my way to the barn to do my chores, or a wild warm Chinook wind that would turn the yard into a big sheet of ice? Plan for the worst and hope for the best, right Todd?

In my 20s, living with husband Bryan in our big log house, it was the pop and snap of the big timbers that would alert us to extreme weather. It takes several years for the logs to settle under their own weight, and sometimes that process would create the sounds. I remember a few time, being shocked straight out of a dead sleep by a deep sonic 'boom' - the wood straining to adjust to sudden temperature changes as a rouge Chinook roared through the north country.

Sometimes the booms and snaps were from the gigantic black poplar trees on our land. Deep cold would penetrate the old trees to their core, freezing the heart wood and ultimately killing the them. The carnage wouldn't be evident until spring or into early summer when no new leaves emerged and strong west winds would break the trees off high up the trunk.

Looks like Bryan's bird feeders need attention. I'll set out ground seed for the quail as well. And now, looking at the time, I'd best be off!

"Some people, I reflected, took potent drugs to give their experiences that extra surreal dimension, but I seemed to manage quite well without them." Ted Simon, round-the-world motorcyclist, quoted from "Riding High".

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