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8 December 2012 | Category: Stories | Author: Clare

Kneeling in front of the open stove, I soak up the heat.

The fire is so warm and relaxing that although it isn't particularly cold out, I sit here bathed in the glow for what feels like a long time, trying to defrost my weary self.

Staring at the flames dancing over and devouring the logs is mesmerising. You can lose yourself, and your thoughts in the heart of a fire; finding momentary peace of mind.

Winter feels like it is finally on the horizon.

We are apparently destined for a more significant fall below zero next week, and the snow is trying to settle in earnest now at lower elevations.

Although up high the mountains groan with the weight of the snow pack, winter down low has crept into the Valley slowly, like a sheepish dog returning home after having run away.

Ears back, tail low, occasionally glancing up to gauge the potential reception.

A companion, as any other, once it does descend, winter will be with us for months.

I assume it will be a matter of a week or two, and I will be on foot again.

The slow, inexorable walks to the gate, the dragging of the sled with provisions, the methodical march of our small family to and from the cabin.

For some reason this year I face the prospect with a weary heart.

Perhaps it has been the lethargic arrival of winter.

There is a difficulty in waiting for anything; you do not commit to the status quo, believing things will change; but the longer you wait for change, the less you believe it will ever happen.

There are no definitions in no-man's land; you only know that you are neither in one place, or another.

Perhaps it is a practical understanding this go-around of what winter in the cabin really entails.

Though I am miles ahead of last year in terms of preparation, there is a reluctance to finally relinquish the luxuries in life. The truck parked outside; the easy movement of food, dishes, gasoline, water, propane. Resigning myself to a more distinct alienation is proving more difficult.

I can count on less than one hand the number of people who will make the trip in to the cabin over the next 4, or 5 months.

Somewhat of a depressing thought.

The dogs snore gently, and the water starts to steam on the stove.

The fan quietly whirs, the light reflected from the fins dancing discretely on the walls of the cabin.

The music on my phone is a subtle distraction, and every now and then an interesting lyric, or beautiful piece of music wander through my mind, the backdrop suddenly articulated, then gone again. Back into oblivion.

The chimney clicks, and the cabin groans.

I get up and wander outside to brush my teeth, and standing in the dusting of snow on the shovelled deck, I pause in my ministrations, and listen to the water trickling through the beaver dam.

The tributaries still flow, as does the Columbia. Nothing has frozen yet.

There is a long road ahead.

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