Wildersmith December 4

White Abstraction
White Abstraction

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Winter took another swipe at the Gunflint Territory last week. And for once the weather forecasters hit one right on. After predicting a winter storm for several days in advance, our wilderness got smacked exactly like they said it would.

At Wildersmith, eight inches were added to the already white forest. I’m told that the mid-trail area got up to a foot. It’s interesting that in our neighborhood, we have counted a total of 23 inches already, and are within 10 inches of the total received all last winter on the Mile O’ Pine.

For folks out this way who are into cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and the like, there’s no business like snow business. And although we’ve got a rather late start, winter is starting to look really good!

In addition to the new snow, a mini cold blast came through on the heels of the storm. The Smiths’ thermometer slipped to a minus 3, our first sub-nothing of the new cold season.

We have since recovered to about normal readings as the big lakes continue to cool toward solidarity. My ‘hard water’ fishing friends are anxiously waiting for the ice that’s in place to stiffen, now that venison chasing is over.

It’s hard to believe that border country is into the last stanza, of the last year, in the first decade of the 2000s. December is the month of the “little spirit moon” (Manidoo Giizisoons) according to our Ojibwe neighbors.

Also known as the month of the full “cold moon”, this December is somewhat unique in that many things happen on the 21st, when the lunar experience is at its fullest. Not only is it the first day of biboon (winter), but the universe is also scheduled to have a lunar eclipse on this night of the solstice. About all that’s left in the heavens for that night would be a visit from Aurora Borealis. Wouldn’t that be something??

It’s always a wonder as to what critters are watching from relative obscurity as I go through some of my daily routines. They seem to be very in touch with what is going on with us human animals.

The firearms deer hunting season concluded on Sunday, Nov. 21. I had not seen deer one during the hunt, not even tracks in the snow around here. Then, as if there was some inter-woods communication system, out they came as soon as all were safe from a hunter’s slug. May be there’s a bit of cyber telepathy amongst the white tail population? Now their only worry is brother wolf.

On Monday morning, the 22nd, a handsome buck came strolling into the yard. It must be one that recollects time here before as he casually checked things out, including a peek in the window of my wood shop. He has been back several times since and has brought along a few girlfriends too.
Visits from our feathered friends have just exploded in the past week. Traffic in the air spaces around the place has to be a challenge for all those internal avian global positioning systems, especially among the black-capped chickadees. It would seem that mid-air collisions are an almost certainty.

Amongst the many arrivals and take-offs, plenty of color has been added with a number of evening and pine grosbeaks stopping by to join the usual blue and gray jaybirds. So as one might expect, there’s a lot of tweeting in our wild neighborhood.

Keep on hangin’ on, and savor the joy of an old-fashioned holiday season!


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