Frozen in February

It’s February 20th, my work Wednesday, and the weather is cold but clear. Gorgeous. I don’t start work until 2 pm, and I have a list of things to do first.

-Call landlord

-Pay bills

-buy Ali’s Birthday present

– write 2000 words

-workout.

But, the sunshine is calling to me, and most of the list is just so I won’t forget — most won’t take a lot of time. So, I drop Sheena off at school, grab Timmies, and I commence with plan B — ditch responsibility and drive to Oyama to walk along the lake. To be fair, I did get up early and start the day with yoga, and the walk qualifies as cardio. Or, it would have if I hadn’t been so distracted once I got there, and spent all my time photographing the FROZEN lake.

That’s right, folks, February 20th, and Woods Lake is still frozen. I wasn’t expecting this. I am suddenly feeling better about my whininess over the cold winter we have had. Because, in the thirty-five years I have lived in the Okanagan, I can’t recall another year where Woods Lake was still frozen one week before March.

I walk along and take photos, shots I’ve taken many times in many seasons, but which always feel new every time I take them. First, there is the willow tree with the swing. This angle looks from Oyama to the South, where my house, my dog, and my laptop await. I’ve passed a lot of people out walking their dogs and feel mildly guilty about that. I should have thought ahead and brought Lily with me, but the truth is, she is a terrible traveler and a real pain to take in the car. Good thing she’s cute.

She changes the flavour of all my outings. There is no leisurely stop and start if Lily is along. No, she is all go, go, go. There are also no singing birds like this little guy, who clearly was not as affected by the weather as I was. I’d stopped to take a picture of this tuning fork of a dead log when my little friend flitted to a melodic rest beside me. I took a long spiel of photos of this little guy, edging craftily closer with each shot. He tolerated me right up to the moment that the big cube van lumbered down the road in sound-barrier breaking velocity, and the shock waves of his passing were too much for my buddy to out-sing.

With both the trucks and the bird gone, I continued my walk, jolting every now and then because of an odd noise. Somewhere between a rustling and a creaking, I kept spinning around to look for an animal in the bushes. Until, feeling foolish yet relieved, I realized I was hearing the Spring thaw. The sound tripping me out because I’d never heard it before was the sound of the lake ice cracking.

Continuing on, I tried somewhat unsuccessfully to catch the shimmering translucent crystals of rainbow-light sparkling where the sun cranked up the volume against the icy shore. The iridescence of the sun’s reflection reminded me of a bracelet I had as a kid which would send prismatic colours dancing across the white walls of my bedroom anytime the sun touched it. The reflections also reminded me of the sparkling colours in the scales of certain fish.

About the time I drained the last of my coffee, the cold drained the last glimmer of heat from my phone’s battery. With my camera no longer accessible, I left the fresh morning-at-the-lake air for the still-warm confines of my car. It wasn’t until I cranked the heater that I realized my fingers had turned as icy as my surroundings.

I don’t know if it was the exercise or the atmosphere, but something about the scenery inspired me, and as I drove away, I suddenly and with no warning received a download of creativity to my brain. I pulled the car over then and there and jotted the scene my brain had just spun into a notebook. A woman, about to be kissed, worrying about coffee breath, and a man who spins double entendres and turns words into seduction. A scene, complete, to be used at a future time.

I returned home, greeted the dog, knocked off the entirety of the to do list in mere moments until only one item remains.

-write 2000 words.

These are aren’t the words I thought I meant, but that’s okay. It’s not even noon. There’s still plenty of time. My morning walk in the sun was totally worth my morning’s sloven word count.

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