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16 November 2012 | Category: Stories | Author: Clare

I watch the dogs at the end of every day, clamber onto some comfy surface or other, be it a dog bed, the couch, a sleeping bag that is currently hanging out on the floor of the cabin, and sleep soundly.

Normally at least one of them will dream.

Their habits closely reflect my own; no surprises there, we live together.

But, as a species, they do not take an extended hiatus in the winter time. They do not hibernate, they do not simply disappear.

Where is it that the residents of the Valley go?

I know bears sleep.

I know cougars, wolves, and coyotes do not.

I know most ungulates forage in miserable fatigue at ever increasing snow banks, trying to find sufficient sustenance to stay warm in this harsh, blank environment.

But what about skunks, beavers, badgers, wolverines?

What about rats, mice, weasels, pine martens?

What about spiders, beetles, bugs in general?

I never see a row of arachnids, lined up, snoring quietly in the outhouse. Or blue bottles, or wasps hanging out under the eaves of the cabin, lazily buzzing around when they can be bothered to be interested in being alive in this frigid version of their summer homes.

I know there are many birds that migrate south in search of warmer real estate, but there are many that do not.

Where do they go?

A curiosity to me. And almost an annoyance.

I find myself staring at the trees, the brush, the old beaver dams, wondering how they so cleverly disguise themselves. With the constant odd feeling, that they have simply up and left us alone to do battle with the winter ourselves.

That is a bizarrely lonely feeling.

If they are still here, it makes me grin at the comparative clumsiness of my winter preparations. You could tell from an aeroplane en route to Vancouver that I was getting ready for winter.

But the subtleties of birds, animals and insects is almost beyond detection.

I see no traces of their resourcefulness, not since I dodged the debris being hurled indiscriminately by squirrels from the trees a month or so ago.

Living out here acquaints you with the habits of the masses.

But I remain baffled at how they deal with winter.



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