Yesterday was a day of preparation. The weather reports have been warning of a storm all week and yesterday I could feel it coming in. The bitter wind, the grey clouds all said Hurry, batten down the hatches. I spent the day cleaning, cooking, readying. I ordered and took delivery of four new cords of wood, made bread, hummus, yoghurt, chilli, stacked two cords of wood and hoped the storm wouldn’t come before Stephen was able to get home and fix the tractor.
As I rushed around I watched the sky, I felt the wind, I wondered Why this week? Why did the tractor battery have to die the same week we get more snow than we’ve had all winter? The law of sod reigns supreme. I distracted myself by nailing a tarp over the vent in the chicken house and topped up their food and water, they would be cosy against the winds and snow.
Walking the dogs for the last time that day I wondered at my own sense of urgency, why the concern, the eye on the sky? The truth is I felt vulnerable, a bit exposed. With snow coming in (we didn’t know how much) we’d be stuck if the tractor couldn’t be used to plough the drive. In reality we have neighbours we could ask for help but somehow that didn’t occur to me. We needed wood but we have propane heating, we could use that if we ignored the fact that it is slightly cheaper to grind faberge eggs than it is to heat a house with propane these days. But wood feels more real, you can count it, you can cook on it, it casts a cosy glow that makes me feel safe.
So now we have enough wood to last us the season, we have a working tractor (thanks to Stephen and our friend Shawn who fixed it just before the snow began to fall) and food to fill our tummies. After a day of cooking, fixing, planning, stacking and generally working we got there.
Last night I went to bed knowing we had done all we could, we slept with the wind hitting the house hard, the snow falling in all directions. The snow started again mid-morning and continued through a lot of the day, whipped around by the snow and covering my earlier tracks. This year has been relatively light, not too much snow and the mildest February I’ve known since I moved here. We really did get off easily.
But there is nothing like a storm to remind you of how close to the edge we live here in Canada. How quickly the weather can turn against us, how easily we can be caught out. It just takes one big drop of snow, or days of ice rain turning the world into a treacherous slick, to cut us off from civilisation and remind us of how fragile we are.
Looking out on the snow covered fields and the grey sky I am glad to have a fire roaring, food made and a tractor that springs to life at the turn of a key. I am grateful to be surrounded by comforts, to have solid walls between me and the storm. I’m looking forward to sunnier days, to the warmth of spring and summer; I’m hoping there will be no more storms.