It's been bloody cold here in Ontario this winter. In the past, years ago, we had very cold days, -40C with a wind chill, but in recent years the winter temperatures have moderated. So, this winter having gone for a month, or more, with the temperatures consistently south of -10C dipping at times to -28C accompanied with dangerous wind chills, and lots of snow, the winter seems cold. Adding to our misery, winter arrived early with snow on the ground at the beginning of November.
Am I complaining, yes, definitely yes, as with growing older winter is complicated by the fact that cold seems colder, and mobility becomes a problem. I sometimes wish that I had experienced more when I was younger, but no sense complaining as I did more than most, and have the sketches and diaries to prove it. In fact I was reminiscing the other day, one of those days when the temperature was well south of -20C, and thumbing through one of my small notebooks I came across an entry relating to a winter outing up to Algonquin Provincial Park to do some cross-country skiing.....
March 7th, 1999
Arrived Algonquin around midday. Not a cloud in the sky. Cold. By midday the temperature is still only -11C, and with the ground wind, the wind out of the north blowing across the lake, the temperature, with the wind-chill, was probably close to -20C. We travelled to the Minesing Ski Centre and skied down to Canisbay Lake. Save one person out on the lake snowshoeing to God knows where we were alone. The quiet was awesome, just the wind, no automobile sounds. The snow covered lake has been etched by the wind in patterns we mortals could never duplicate. Crystals of snow blowing, tumbling, settling in random patterns. Nature’s chaos, her secret to beauty. We travelled hesitantly out onto the lake having been warned that the ice was no more than 3-4 inches thick. At the beginning of the winter the lake had froze, but before the ice was well formed it had snowed preventing the production of more ice. We hugged the shoreline secure in the thought that the ice would be thicker by the shore. I watched the figure of the lone snowshoer, burdened by a heavy pack, disappearing down the lake…..
There was a time when we'd frequently travelled up to Algonquin in the winter to cross country ski. Sometimes it would be a spur of the moment day trip, and on other occasions we'd stay a few days, and if it were mild enough I'd attempt a few sketches.
Canisbay Lake, Algonquin Provincial Park Winter 2000 Watercolour Sketch
Memories of time well spent, and a record of the fact that once upon a time the cold wasn't quite as cold, and winter was a wonderful time full of amazing experiences.
Update: I'm still plugging away writing yet another book. As of the moment it's developing into a bit of a memoir that will somehow include numerous paintings and sketches. It's a bit of a struggle remembering backwards, and deciding what to include and what to leave out. It's going to take a while so I'll probably visit my blog pages from time to time just to let everyone know that I'm still here. In the meantime grab a sketchbook and get out there and capture some memories.