We found winter in the woods of Wisconsin. The snow is all but gone in the city, the temps will soar into the fifties tomorrow but here in the woods, within its own microclimate, winter is hanging on and doing rather well in its efforts.
Eventually the hustle of arrival wears off. I sit by the fire, sipping hot tea, relishing the quiet moment in the woods. Birds tweeting and all that. The soft sounds of late winter: water dripping, snow showering down for the branches up above, fire cracking, occasional birds, leaves rustling. The sun decides to burst through the clouds at 4:30 pm. Dave is off somewhere in the woods. The kid is in the trailer watching a video. It's cool. We are all finding our alone time, a few moments all to ourselves. Here in the woods we get to spread out, everybody gets their quiet.
Snow has been sufficiently trampled, the fire is built up. I'm only doing my share of chopping today. Every log I chop is fed directly into the fire, I can't get a satisfying pile. The logs are dry and light, sometimes a shower of wood chips flies up onto my face. It stings. Yet other times the axe seem to glide down the wood grain. Last fall I was ambitious enough to chop all the woods necessary for the weekend but today? I'm not feeling it. So I just do my share. And yet I feel a conceit so intense in me. I'm chopping wood!
And the woods are starting to sparkle now as the sun shines down us.
During my walk through the woods I'm reminded that there are things ready in preparation for the spring: fungi ruffling up a tree, buds peaking out above the snow.
After the kid is in bed, the power to the back of the airstream decides to shut off. So now the furnace isn't working. This is a problem. The trailer is warmed just enough. With a small space heater and all of our hot water bottles we should just fine. Yet it is a little bit frightening with not enough power to run the furnace.
Let us not forget: Winter is still here in this region. Where we are spending the night without heat. The forecasted low is 22 degrees.
Dave decides to head into town for a second space heater and I retreat to the trailer. I'm not so bold when he's not around. I wonder how much time I would spend outside if I were here by myself. Would I come in to bed early? Would I be stoking a fire late into the night? Doubtful. I'd likely be cozying up with a book and some tea. Sounds nice, doesn't it? I should try it sometime. Retreating into the woods by myself might just be exactly what I need every now and then.
A chorus of yipping and howling starts up as I head out to pee. Yep. I'm gonna wait it out inside the trailer. Maybe he'll come home and decide to end the night with nachos.
Last night I got to sleep alone on the couch and it was nice. I even enjoyed the deep chill early in the morning. I liked tucking in my head under the covers, keeping all my body heart sealed under the blankets.
As dramatic as it seemed the night before, everything turned out all right despite the lack of furnace heat. The next day when the sun came out the temps warmed even more dramatically. All the snow that had been trampled quickly melted. Another warm day today means even more snow will melt but I concede that it will take weeks of sustained heat for all of the snow to disappear. That's OK. I'll wait.
I go through this each year. When spring temps arrive in the city I'm expecting it to be the same in the woods. But that is never the case. For one thing our Wisconsin property is further north than the city. And secondly the woods keep some of the chill because the sun has difficulty penetrating the density of the trees.
This night without the furnace heat only served to make us hardier. There's that conceit again, swelling up from my gut into the rest of my body.