November WindsViki Mather November 1, 2011
The winds do blow in November. And it stirs something in my blood. There’s a bit of uneasiness, and bit of excitement. Branches from the little jack pine outside my window tap upon the pane. The white pines on top of the hill sway wildly. Clouds above race across the sky.
There’s too much going on out there for me to stay inside. I bundle up, and venture out. If feels better to be outside in the wind, to feel it on my cheeks, to hear it without the muffling of the walls, to smell the freshness of the air. The uneasiness disappears, and the excitement remains.
Best thing to do in a windstorm is to go for a walk along the forest trail. As I climbed the hill near the end of the bay, I wondered about the big old dead red pines. Three of them were killed by lighting a few years ago. A big old spruce died that day too. Would these fierce winds of November take them down?
Indeed they did. Two of the giants were down. The biggest of the red pines lay across the trail. It broke off just above the ground. I pulled off a chunk of loose bark to see several black beetles hiding out for the winter. The big spruce was uprooted, and fell away from the trail. But it didn’t hit the ground. The dense trees around it kept it aloft – for a while.
A few other trees had come down along my three-kilometre walk. But not nearly as many as I’d thought – given the intensity of the wind.
Most impressive was the jack pine on the west side of the sauna. It has been dead for a couple of years. We planned to cut it down this winter, after the ice formed on the lake where it was sure to fall, and it would be easy to clean up the little branches.
The unusual south wind snapped the top fifteen feet off the tree, threw it over the sauna roof, and straight down to the ground in front. The pointy top of the dead tree was rammed half a metre into the ground. I’m glad I wasn’t standing there when that happened! The excitement of the storm blends with the uneasiness as I return to the comfort of my home.
The winds do blow in November. And when they stop, it is like a new world has come, full of grace. The quiet is immense. Peace reigns. And usually, the first touch of winter makes its debut. In the calm after the storm, ice begins to form on the puddles and ponds. Jack Frost dances upon the surface of the now still waters. Swirls of delicate ice crystals cover the water. The beauty of nature is everywhere.
For many years, Viki Mathers and her husband Allan operated Kukagami Lodge, a wonderful off the grid retreat reachable only by boat. They sold the lodge in 2012. They can still be reached by email at: email@example.com or visit their website: http://kukagamilodge.blogspot.com/