Keying this week’s Gunflint scoop, I find the heavens are aligned, finally signaling the first day of winter. Yep, this magical season is now official, “Biboon” (winter moniker in Ojibwe) is here, at just past 5 CST this Friday morning.
Long dark nights have been the norm as pre-winter shadows have been gradually squeezing down on both ends of old Sol’s daily spin. For many fretting the shortness of our daylight hours, fear not, for the big day is here, and in no time at all minutes will be stacking up in the other direction.
While we turn the page into this season of crystal collections, here’s hoping the “great northern express” finds this locale with more regularity than we’ve seen thus far. One thing for sure is Old Man Winter has been sputtering in several attempts to get things going consistently for our wintertime activities.
The past week has been no exception, with a little bit of cold then a little bit of warm. Out around the upper Trail area, we went seven days with minuscule snowfall. Then another warm-up sent the previous white a-shrinking before we got a minor dose of white replenishment early last Sunday morning.
The lake water on Gunflint is trying its best to get down to ice-making business. One morning, for a few hours, it even had a brief coating about halfway across from the Wildersmith shore. Growing winds sent it packing by midday, and since then it’s been too warm and rough for cranking up the old Zamboni. There is ice, however, on about the western one-third (just beyond the Gunflint Pines Resort), but my guess is it’s not safe yet.
I have been unable to confirm the ice status on Sag, but all other bodies in the territory appear to be sealed up. In fact, a friend who is into ice fishing is already doing his thing on a favorite lake in the mid-trail area. He tells me six or seven inches have already thickened. By the way, he’s having fish for supper too!
Also aligned in the heavens is the week-old “little spirit moon.” It will be beaming down with full December splendor in a week. Folks in these parts are keeping their fingers crossed that early beams will be shining down on “the breast of new fallen snow” for the holiday festivities.
I don’t know whether the old fable about wolves howling at the moon has any basis for being true. I can confirm that Brother and Sister Wolf have been quite active along our Mile O Pine since we last met on the airwaves. On several occasions, regardless of little new snow, tracking has been prolific during my daily trips to the mailbox.
To cap off my continuing canid lupus saga, I stepped outside to bring in a load of firewood one evening and discovered the local pack eerily harmonizing not far away. Compared to previous wild renditions, I must say that they were hauntingly out of tune. Guess they need more practice, practice, practice!
A gal down the road shares that she heard a recent late day choral experience too. This audition was coming from Canadian land. It makes me wonder if they were calling to the great northern spirits requesting some ice formation in order they might traverse the Gunflint for some U.S. deer hunting.
Soon after hearing this northern sound of music, she observed a sextet of beings bobbing up and down in the water out from her shoreline. First thought was that it couldn’t be wolves in the water, not at this time of year.
Turns out she was right; it wasn’t wolves. It was a bevy of otters, and to observe six at one sighting seems unusual. When last seen, they were headed east down the lake, frolicking on a probable fishing expedition.
After the tragedy that befell Newtown, Connecticut, and our entire nation, last week, this holiday time finds millions yearning for new and abundant peace amongst all men. May the grace of this season comfort those who are hurting so much.
Have a safe, sane and happy Christmas with your loved ones!
Keep on hangin’ on and savor thoughts of peace and healing!
Airdate: December 21, 2012