December 10, 2006

Winter walk

stillness

Despite the busyness of the weekend, I sneaked out early yesterday morning to take a walk with my parents at Pretty Colour Lakes. I haven't been able to walk in my own woods for the last couple of weeks because it's been hunting season. The sound of gunshot makes me hesitate to wander far from my house. I wear a bright red coat, and I know enough to sing or make noise in the woods during hunting season, but I just don't find it peaceful to share the woods with men carrying guns. I could post the land and keep the hunters out, but I don't feel right about that either, since some of my neighbors have hunted here since childhood. Who am I to tell them they can't?

Hunting season ends today, and I am happy about that. Winters are long here, and I know from experience that I need to spend at least an hour each day outside, or I'll be miserable. Whether I am doing something exciting like snowboarding or relaxing like hiking around in my own woods or mundane like shoveling the driveway, just being outside breathing in the cold fresh air puts me in a better mood. When I was a baby, my mother says she used to bundle all of us kids up and take us outside for an hour, no matter how low the temperature dropped; that was part of her recipe for keeping us healthy and making sure we slept well. She and my father, both in their seventies and in very good health, still stick to that formula.

Yesterday, we hiked the trail around Pretty Colour Lake. How different it looked. All summer, the park is filled with green, green, green – leaves that ripple yellow green, green needles that give off scent in the heat, lake water that reflects green blue, bushes and ferns and green that edge the paths, green lawns where teenagers play frisbee. And in October, the park bursts with overwhelming colour: brilliant red and orange maple trees, whole trees saturated with colour, bright yellow leaves and that bright blue sky. Even in November, the more muted colours of autumn, the yellows and browns and darker reds, cover the ground in the form of fallen leaves, and green mosses appear everywhere, glowing.

But a few inches of snow and icy weather transforms the landscape. In December, all colour drains from the landscape. Even the sky was white, and the water of the lake a dark grey. Except for the dark greens of the cedar trees, we walked through a 1930s black and white movie. It was a monochrome landscape, with white snow outlining curves branches and trunks and the bare roots of dead trees. Of course, the summer crowds disappear with the warm weather, and we were the only people in the park. Later in the winter, a handful of people will come here to cross-country ski or snowshoe, but yesterday, we had the woods to ourselves. When I handed my camera to my father, he snapped a shot of my mother and me walking down the trail, our bright coats the only bits of colour in the winter landscape.

Mom and me

16 comments:

Ianqui said...

What do they hunt? Deer?

Anonymous said...

Deer hunting season ends today here too. I have to put an oranage vest on my dog becuase one can hunt coyotte year round and he could pass for an oversized coyotte!

Beautiful photos

jo(e) said...

Ianqui: Yes, white-tailed deer. There are other game animals that live on my land, such as wild turkeys, but the season for deer is what seems to draw the hunters.

Anonymous said...

When I saw your first photo, I gasped and said, "Oh!". It is SO perfect. I could spend hours out there. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photographs. I love the red against the stark winter backgound. And I know exactly what you mean about needing at least an hour a day outside. I'm about to go there.

ppb said...

I see you come by your photographic skills honestly.

Anonymous said...

It's beautiful.

Yankee, Transferred said...

How lucky you are to have such a relationship with your parents. I hope my kids want to be around me when they're grown.

KathyR said...

I was just about to get up and turn up the heat. Because, you know, it's 60 degrees outside here in SoCal.

Changed my mind...

Anonymous said...

Your photos are so beautiful but I am glad it's not snowing here. ;)

Anonymous said...

Looks beautiful. Looks cold.

Anonymous said...

I think I have come back here three times already. I cannot tell you how much I love the picture of the lake. If I could go anywhere in the world right now, it would be there. It is so gorgeous.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Lovely winter shots! I miss that lake. Just city here! MISS YOU, too!

Anonymous said...

I should get out and walk more often. I feel so much better when I do. I tend to want to stay in the house when the weather is cold. BUT it would be so good for me. Your parents are an inpsiration.

Sara said...

Every time you write about Pretty Colour Lakes, I am immediately overcome with longing to go myself. I think last time I made it within the week, we'll see what happens this time.

Anonymous said...

You make snow look almost fun.