Monday, January 30, 2012

Crystal Crescent Beach

Yesterday, the last Sunday in January, there was still little winter in evidence, the sun was shining, and the wind was light, so we decided to head out to Crystal Crescent for a morning walk.

For someone recently arrived from Toronto, there was lots to look at and to photograph.

There were waves breaking

and the sea and sky were dramatic.

There was a thin clear piece of ice in the stream with water quietly purling up through small holes.

The sand at this beach is soft and fine.

Two women I love were walking ahead of me.

A piece of kelp from a storm lay on the grass next to the boardwalk.

And the beach was as beautiful as it always is.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Absence of Winter

Today is the 9th of January, the sun is shining, the skiff of snow from overnight has mostly melted, and we are still patiently awaiting winter.

Yesterday, Sunday, we headed to East Chester around midday for a family gathering.  On Herring Cove Road a young woman was walking along with just a sweatshirt and bare hands.  Now I am used to younger people going around in light jackets, sneakers, and no gloves on frigid winter days, but this girl was not showing off her youthful imperviousness to the season; she was, in fact, dressed appropriately for the day, which had light winds and sunshine and was a few degrees above zero.

As we headed down the 103, the sky was clear with some water-colour clouds (since I was driving and L. was snoozing, there are unfortunately no images – you’ll just have to picture the warm blue clarity of that sky and the softened edges of the lit clouds).  When the sun shone in my side window, it felt as if it was as high in the sky as it is in late March, when you really begin to feel the strength of its warmth; it felt springlike. 

That highway has both shoulder and centre-line milled rumble strips, and a real treat as I drove was to watch the strips on our side that were filled with meltwater and reflected bright segments of trees, sky, and clouds as we flew past.  The brightness of the day and the obvious warmth lifted my spirits, as if the burden of winter had passed, which of course it hasn’t – as I noted in the opening of the piece, we are actually waiting for winter to finally arrive.

We have had fluky days like this other years, and they are a treat when they happen, but this year is different.  Winter really has not arrived yet.  People’s lawns and the Commons were still bright green at Christmas, and even though a couple of good night-time freezes have turned them a little more dun, strong traces of green are still there.  We have had two snowstorms, but both were wet, there are no residual snowbanks anywhere, and lakes and ponds are barely skimmed over with ice.

We all went for a walk along the old rail line trail yesterday, basking in the afternoon sun.  When we returned to the house there was a long conversation about that thing we often want to talk about, the weather.  We didn’t just talk of the winter we are waiting for this year, we got into long-term forecasts and the absence of our winter sports (instead of coasting on the hill, a couple of grandchildren were throwing a baseball, and several of the others were bouncing in the trampoline, one even in bare feet).  L. and I are seriously hoping for some snow to ski over or some good ice on the Frog Pond for skating, but there were those who argued strenuously that the lakes wouldn’t even freeze over this year.  There was a skim of ice on most of the lakes we passed along the highway, but I seriously wonder.  Tonight the low is minus 5 (minus 10 in low-lying areas), but the high tomorrow is plus 3, so I guess we will wait and see.

So, winter, we are ready and waiting, and I know I do tempt fate by saying anything at all about it, but I do hope that we get some semblance of winter weather this year, some brisk outdoor activities involving snow or ice, time to enjoy the warmth of the woodstove after, and spring coming along a little later when we are really ready and really need it.