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Wildersmith January 28

Pine Marten (by travelling.steve on Flickr)
Pine Marten (by travelling.steve on Flickr)

FinalCut_Wildersmith_20110128.mp36.05 MB

The romance and adventure of life in the wilderness was enriched last weekend with some big-time cold. And, although it was pretty much business as usual for folks living in the territory, stepping outside surely got your attention.

Submerged mercury readings varied a great deal from place to place, even within a few blocks for that matter. I share with you, that to say it’s colder here than it was there, often leads to considerable debate, and sometimes into one-upsmanship.

For sure it was cold, and a few degrees one way or the other is meaningless! At Wildersmith last Friday, the low reading rang in at minus 39, and if that wasn’t cold enough, Old Man Winter did an encore in the wee hours of Sunday morning with a minus 40, but clouds moved in and spiked the temperature column up by daybreak.

The bitter readings were enhanced over the weekend by another couple inches of snow filtering down by Saturday morning, and more came late Sunday into Monday a.m. (four to five inches). And they say it can’t snow when it’s this cold. So the territory has it all, with the best of winter conditions in several years.

It was so cold Saturday morning that a young doe browsed around the yard with a ball of frost hanging from her nose. Her schnoz had that Rudolph look only in white. Meanwhile some of her whitetail cousins had a ghostly look, being covered in both frost and snow, kind of eerie.

I have new information that a couple different wild critters have a sweet tooth. Some dated chocolate devils food cake was put out on the deck-side feeding tray amidst the coldest readings this past Sunday. Cut into people-sized bites, the elements caused some consternation for a time. But soon, the whiskey Jacks dared to sample, and found the dark brown pieces much to their liking.

It wasn’t long before a pine marten came by, and after munching a poultry part, decided on dessert too. Sure enough, this lush-coated varmint discovered how delectable chocolate can be. So the leftover cake will not go to waste.

The magic of winter can be experienced in many ways. To be outside in the elements at this time of year speaks volumes about the most wonderful peaceful moments. With the exception of an occasional screaming snowmobile, a howling from the frozen lake ice or the crunch of deer chasing through the crusty snow, silence is the norm. Even shoveling snow has the most quiet of moments.

Recently a friend shared in a silent happening during ice fishing in the midst of falling snow. It might be suggested by some that he was hearing things, but he confirms what I have sometimes encountered while remaining stationary during the dropping of winter’s moisture creations (and I don’t mean sleet or ice pellets).

Yes, hearing those heavenly made crystals settle on your hat or coat shoulders has to be the ultimate sensory experience in quietness. Until they begin layering up on one another, the landing might be best described as a nano tick (pretty minute), but it’s a happening.

He and I might be accused of not hearing well for our age, but I suggest that at our age, we are probably listening better now than decades ago. More of that wilderness magic, I swear! If you haven’t taken the time to listen, stand out in the snow soon and hear the noise.

Keep on hangin’ on, and savor the sounds of silence.

Airdate: January 28, 2011