These tracks were about four metres beyond our back fence, running parallel to the property. No evidence that the animal stopped and shook its little forepaws in disgust when it went in up to its ankles. If it was a housecat, I’m impressed!
My little camera didn’t do yesterday’s storm justice.
No, this wasn’t a natural disaster (there’s enough of those elsewhere recently), it was simply a typical good dump of snow, about 6 inches, like Binky got out his way.
It was, though, enough to be exciting. Scary, even, for me. So while you look at the fun side of snow in this morning’s pictures, let me regale you with a tale of yesterday afternoon.
A flake or two meandered down about 14 00. By three, it was so thick that the accompanying sound effects in a movie would have been, “Ka-FLUMP! Ka-FLUMP!” E.g. went out to the main road with her camera, and watched a fourteen-wheeler crawling its way up the hill, a van with its four-way flashers on, and at the bottom of the hill, a police cruiser at the intersection. (You can find pix here.) Good thing we weren’t going anywhere.
Then we remembered her dad.
Eddy had a routine doctor’s appointment at the hospital. While he can drive all right during the day, he prefers to be a passenger at night or during inclement weather, when visibility is reduced. E.g. called her parents’ place, and yes, Eddy had left before the storm started and was now in the thick of it. Would Rose like us to help her husband get home? Well… all right.
The plan was that E.g. would find her dad and drive him home in his car. Since there was no sense leaving a vehicle at the hospital, or E.g. stranded at her parents’ house, E.g. and I took the automatic so I could retrieve her from Rose and Eddy’s. And I got behind the wheel, for my first taste of slippery streets.
Windshield wipers on. Long strings of crawling traffic. The dictum to Always keep going, Never stop unless absolutely necessary. The terror of losing control as we went downhill (Saint John is very hilly — not tall ones, but numerous). The car jerking sideways no matter how delicately I applied the brakes or titched the steering wheel. Falling onto the shoulder and easing the vehicle back onto the asphalt. And E.g. beside me, talking me through it.
We made it to the hospital, and E.g. went in to find the doctor’s office. It was closed and dark. No dad. All we could do was return home, this time E.g. driving.
Another call to Rose and Eddy’s revealed that Daddy wasn’t home yet — a bit unsettling, since they live closer to the hospital than we do — but with another look out the picture window, Rose rejoiced to find her husband powering up their long, steep drive.
Eddy is an excellent driver, and has always loved to drive. He told us later that afternoon that most of the trip home from the hospital, though slow, had been manageable. The hardest part had been the final right turn onto their street, in the thickest whiteout, when he really couldn’t see much of anything. After fifty-one years of turning right onto this road, however, he decided to use his body-memory to make the turn, and succeeded.
He called it “gut instinct”, but he may have been thinking of another source of Help that begins with “G”.
Rain was forecast for today. So before the sprinkle became a downpour, we took the dogs for a walk around Lily Lake in Rockwood Park. There it is in the photo above; on the left, you can see a Ring-billed Gull gliding over the water.
Now I’m as superstitious as the next person, and I get the connection between white-feathered sea gulls and our culture’s version of angels (we’ll leave aside for now their origin as fiery snakes). But I had never before noted any ability of gulls to walk on water. See? There’s space between their bodies and their reflections. Let’s go to Camera Two, Bob:
It took a while before I solved the magic trick. Observe, if you will:
The oak leaf nearest my foot is floating in the water. The other two leaves are resting on the ice, which is still pretty thin at this time of year. Breezes make the lake water lap over the edges of the ice, and the rain has coated the rest of it. Case closed.
Still and all, gulls put on a good show. Here is a snap of the Duck Pond that adjoins Lily Lake. While the Mallards and Black Ducks are scrambling towards a pair of hominids bearing breadcrusts, a Ring-bill — there, just below the foot of the staircase — goes sweeping up in the opposite direction, like the Paraclete flitting through her dorm window for a few hours of fun.
Yes, I like gulls.
Gulls belong to the order of birds known as Charadriiformes. While sitting in the car one day, I pulled a pad of paper and pen from the glove compartment and wrote this blue-ribbon word verticaly down the page. Then I made a poem.
“Founded upon a rock” or “cast upon stony soil”?
We took the furchildren for a walk in Rockwood Park the other day. Up a hill from the trail we were on, I noticed a cedar growing on a boulder.
Now if you know anything about cedars, you know they’re crazy cusses. They can live 500 years, clinging to cliff faces. Shriveled. Twisted. Stunted. Looking, except for a fattened base whose rings prove their senescence, no different than they were at the age of 10. To those who know or care, they inspire awe for their tenacity, but also pity or discomfiture for their grotesquerie.
They’ll never be anyone’s Christmas tree. They’re no good for lumber. They aren’t even noticeable next to the tall ones who landed on good ground.
Sometimes — not always, but sometimes — I wish I weren’t a cedar.