Better Get Your Booties On

I just got home from work, after a slow but not white-knuckled drive through the latest snowfall. This will be a big one, I suspect, although not falling so heavily yet here at home. At the University, I swiped all the snow off my car before I set out, and the back window was covered again by the time I got round to the front hood. But that’s partly because it’s warming up, a much more comfortable –11 now. This morning, by comparison, it was –18 when I went out to start the car, and overnight it must have been quite a bit lower, because I ran out of water just at the end of my shower – the pipes froze in the well house. Richard had turned on the heating tape wrapped around the pipes on Saturday, and set up a new heater with a fan to keep the whole room a bit warmer, but it didn’t quite do the trick. I didn’t get a chance to crank it up this morning when I found out it was frozen, but since it has warmed up by ten degrees or so, the taps are now running just fine. And thankfully, the deep freeze seems to be over. Above zero by Monday, maybe. But first, more snow! Here’s how the BBQ looked Saturday morning (always our first gauge of how deep the snowfall is), very typical of a morning in mid-December. (Or of Groundhog Day, which is the movie reference in the title, if anyone is wondering.) I’m still kind of hoping all the snow goes away so I can rake my chestnut leaves and spread them over my lavender beds for insulation, but then again, if the snow stays around, the lavender will be fine. I only lost plants last year because we had no snow. I also have tulip bulbs I don’t know what to do with now. As much as I love snow – disgustingly so, I know, I know – I have to say I’m just not ready for winter yet. But I’ll still be out of bed early tomorrow, excited as a little kid to see what kind of winter wonderland tonight brings us. And wishing it were Saturday, so I could stay inside with a cup of chai or bundle up with snowshoes and camera and enjoy it, instead of driving to work in it. Sigh.

Moonlight and Flames

I’ve had a strange start to the day this morning. Just before 5:30, an hour before I normally get up, a humming, buzzing, alarm-like noise woke me, and I knew instantly that it didn’t come from within my bedroom, or even within the house. I went wandering out into the living room, trying to identify the source. Beyond the windows, the neighbourhood was clear and bright, snow smoothed by the night’s wind glowing like a summer dawn in the full moon. My anger at the noise that had woken me melted away. It’s so beautiful here when it snows. I can’t be upset that it’s a month early, either, when it looks like this. I opened the front door to a whoosh of cold and confirmation that the high-pitched hum was coming up the street. The trains, perhaps? Then as I retreated from it to the back of my house, and looked across my moonlit garden, a different kind of light caught my eye. Through the boughs of the firs, I could see flames. I was concerned at first – it’s unusually early, and at -19 more than a bit too cold, for our neighbour on the east to be up – but I found another vantage point and confirmed, it’s a bonfire. I couldn’t see him, but the location confirms he’s burning up the debris from the saggy old shed that Richard helped him demolish a few weeks ago. I watched the flames and the moonlight, and considered bundling into winter coat and boots for a quick walk out there myself. Snow and a neighbourly chat across the fence at 5:30am. . . . No, I think not. Brrr. But I’m up, and kind of glad for that odd neighbourhood-wide alarm that got me up to see the moonlight. Winter is here. Might as well enjoy it.