Old Man Winter seems to be enjoying the territory now that he has finally arrived. For the second consecutive weekend, the pesky guy has dropped a few more inches of snow. Although it has been nothing to write home about, the additional fluff is beginning to add up and is purely refreshing.
The temps have not been extreme yet, although there was one morning of single digits throughout the area that reminded us of crisp things to come. That one cold morning did find the mercury hitting zero on the Wildersmith thermometer, first time since way last March 26.
The consistent sub-freezing marks of the past week have allowed smaller area lakes to seal up for the next few months. Even some of the quieter bays on the big bodies have skimmed over, but the vast windswept open water is still hovering in the 30s just waiting for substantial sub-zero and quiet to do their thing.
Beauty of this special place in the universe just continues to unfold. There are a lot of spectacular natural places in America, but I find it hard to imagine any place that can match the peace and quiet of the Gunflint Trail in winter.
A return to the wilderness from a Grand Marais run last week found me caught up in this wonderland. It was late in the afternoon, darkness was on the increase and the skies were in varied tones of gray as we hummed along this ribbon of highway. Surely a snow happening was imminent.
Although it might have seemed gloomy to some, I was captivated by the grandeur of a black and white world. Fading light had turned the evergreen tunnel to shadowy black, in stark contrast to a snow-white landscape.
This point in time was surely reminiscent of a decades-old Kodak moment when about everything of historical importance was captured in black, white or shades in between. Here I was traveling back in time, nostalgically enjoying the peace of everything in our Gunflint world, truly black and white and totally removed from the political grays of these difficult times.
The here and now had no contemporary digital or rainbow elements, just the monotone character of a dove and a raven, but oh so striking! As the late Jackie Gleason so often quipped, “how sweet it is” and it was.
I often relate tales about the gourmet attitudes of many a visiting wild critter. The other day I was reminded of a story about how pine martens just love raspberry jam, when I came across some dated blueberry sauce in the back of the refrigerator. Wondering if the same enthusiasm would be true for this bit of blue heaven, I put the sweetness into an old can and set it out on the feeding rail.
It wasn’t long before old Piney made its daily appearance. And, “what to wondering eyes should appear” but the lush dark brown varmint, with its head stuck deep in that can, taking right to that syrupy treat.
Every once in awhile, the pert little face would pull out, as the blue gourmet had to catch its breath and lap the fruit which had stuck to its lips and whiskers. It was as if the little one had been in a Fourth of July pie eating contest.
With the winter conditions of late, I am surprised to hear that our Loon Lake gal spotted a young loon in the cold waters. Brrr, thoughts of floating in those icy waters makes me shiver!
Apparently it was a late summer arrival and not ready to head south when its kin departed. Thankfully there is some open water so that the adolescent still might have time to taxi off and get to the safety of a southerly course. It had better get going, though!
Once again the world is about ready to go into our season of holiday madness. I hope that you and yours took time to reflect on the bounty with which we are so richly blessed and give thanks. Further, if you were able to share with someone that might not be so fortunate, you have really been blessed.
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor some richness in the coming season!