The last couple of days the weather seems to have fallen into a pattern. An overcast morning with snow flurries evolves into a gloriously sunny day, heating the house and bathing us in golden winter sunshine. By 3.30 the sun is covered again in clouds and the wind begins to whip, reminding us that King Winter is not always benign and gentle but has the power to drive us inside, and keep us there, at will.
After quiet time this afternoon we made some gifts for our bird friends, we still hear their calls and see them flitting between the trees, now bare of leaves and offering scant protection. We thought a little snack might help them out. So apples were cored, sliced, coated in nut butter and dipped in seeds. Scraps of fabric were cut up to make ribbons so that we could hang them on the trees outside.
Working in my sun warmed kitchen (it got up to 25C at one point, I even had to take my cardi off!) it is easy to forget the harshness of the season surrounding us. This winter has been, so far, exceptionally mild, and for January we are experiencing quite a lull in weather. The fact that we can be outside at all is a real blessing especially because we know that, inevitably, Canada will return to type and the temperatures will plunge again.
Marching outside with a box of bird treats, our layers of winter clothes hardly seemed necessary; is this January or March? But it didn’t take long for the illusion to wear off. As we finished hanging the last of the treats in the low branches of trees and bushes, the wind began to pick up, prickling my neck and cheeks. Heading inside we left behind us a little bounty for the birds who don’t have such a cosy bolt hole as ours.
Any time outside at this time of year has to be counted as a gift, a day that hits the mighty high of 0C feels balmy after the sharp winds of -30C over Christmas. So we make the most of it, storing up the feeling of freedom in our bodies against the days of confinement that will surely come. In the mean time we offer our feathered friends a little hope too, that winter will end and spring will truly come. What is white now and locked into ice, will melt and grow again. But not yet. I think King Winter still has some tricks up his sleeve for us novice country dwellers. In the meantime I will bask in the sunshine and dream of spring and the turning of green again.