Wildersmith December 14

"...This congealing occurrence is as glorious as will be a return to surges dashing the granite shore next May..."

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Our month of the “little spirit moon” is whizzing by in the upper Gunflint. With the light at the end of tunnel 2012 beginning to glow, one has to wonder where, oh where, has this year has gone?
 
Holiday excitement is blanketing the area more than the most recent winter storm prognostication. In fact, there is far more enthusiasm about the coming birthday of all birthdays than there is snow; guess this is maybe the way it should be.
 
Mother Nature sent her cold weather emissary into the area last weekend to perform some winter doin’s. But alas, Old Man Winter showed up with not much in the bucket. The dumping we were expecting turned out barely more than wimpy. To the delight of many, however, the three- to four-inch accumulation did freshen up our patchwork brown and white forest floor.
 
Last Saturday was seasonably cold and I devoted a few moments to sitting down at the lakeshore. The time was spent watching a solemn Gunflint Lake surface taking on its first crinkling crystals. This liquid to solid happening has always fascinated yours truly.
 
I’m no maple syrup practitioner. But it would seem like this natural process of turning water into ice must be similar to watching boiling sap reach the sugar stage.
 
There was first one wrinkle on the water, and that spewed into another, and then those two fragmented into another, and on and on until a jigsaw-wrinkled skim suddenly appeared.
 
Our annual December lake surface makeover was a spiritual uplifting of sort. The essence of this congealing occurrence is as glorious as will be a return to surges dashing the granite shore next May.
 
Woe is me; the ice making romance is over. Our calm inland sea was taken by a belch from the northwest. Air currents suddenly moved across the serene water, engulfing it with ripples once more. In a blink of an eye, the wisp of chilling character was gone.  It went chortling into the rocky lakeside, gone until another time for dreaming of ice cakes and ensuing icy conversations.
 
Back to reality, the Smiths got a triple treat this past Monday. A late evening return trip from Grand Marais was as sweet as a hot fudge sundae. First, we were reminiscing the joys of our “sound of music” experience at the Borealis Chorale Christmas Concert. Second, some 20 miles of the cruise along the Trail found us driving in spectacular falling snow. And, to cap things off, the whipped cream and cherry on top of this candied winter happening, we came upon two moose. Yes, Virginia, there are still moose up the Trail. With adventures like this, life can’t get much better!
 
A report comes from over on Loon Lake in regard to a case of apparent unlawful activity. It seems that a resident along the lake recently cut down an uninspiring aspen.
 
It was decided the tree could be cut up and split for next summer’s campfires. So the job was undertaken. Task completed, the remains were left in a pile to be stacked come spring.
 
Over a period of days, the resident woodsman took notice that his wood cache seemed to be disappearing. Soon a good deal of the woodpile was gone, yet no trace of a thieving culprit could be found.
 
Not planning to involve law enforcement at this point, the fellow was sharing his story with another local outdoors man, and the two of them decided on a private investigation before filing an official theft report.
 
To make a long story short, after searching a number of suspected possibilities, a trek through the woods and wetlands brought them to what appeared to be a newly remodeled beaver lodge at the end of the lake. It was here that the missing goods were discovered, neatly arranged atop the animals’ homestead.
 
Bucky needed a new roof before winter got too far along. Guess this gnawing critter could not pass up a good thing, all this construction material cut and split, just for the taking, too good to be true, a beaver builder’s dream, why not! Case of the pilfered firewood closed!
 
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor the mystique of the outdoors!

Airdate: December 14, 2012

Photo courtesy of Barb and Dean on Flickr.


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