Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas On the Lake

     With the ice more that a foot thick and and layer of snow covering it, the lake has become the winter playground.  Today on Christmas with the wind blowing fifteen and the temperature about the same, a couple dozen skiers celebrated the holiday by skiing the groomed trail that winds around the lake.  We also saw the first of the kite skiers on the lake with their colorful wings of bright nylon.
     The freeze and thaw of last week left our ski trails hard and fast.  When we drag the Ginzugroomer over it, the surface is broken and crumbled into tiny balls of snow so that some times our skis are gliding on ball bearings, and while the packed surface won't give enough to let us dig in with the ski edge, it takes little to push a skier along fast and smooth.  The wind will be biting the cheeks -- all four if we stay out long enough -- fingers will tingle from the chilling they getting working out on the wind and the cold.  Muscles of the arms, legs, and back will be subtle and warm from the work and even in the chill, sweat comes down the back and wets the shoulder blades while our breath is freezing on whiskers and face masks.
       Warm now by the fire, I hear the wind work around the porch and huff in the chimney of the woodstove.  The increased draft makes the fire burn hot and fast in the night and one shoulder is warmer than the other but I won't move from this cozy place.  The whiskey in the glass is sharp like the bite of the wind but is warm instead of cold.  The wind is up to twenty and gusting to thirty, and it makes the stars twinkle even more than normal.  I'll check often tonight for the aurora, the northern lights, for I saw hints of it last night but could not stay up long enough for the full shown.  At the Solstice, Christmas, and New Year's turning, we can feel the harsh bite of winter on our backs and only trust in the cycle of life, the turning and tilt of the planet, that the warming sun has not left us forever, and the cold windy night are here to make the fine days so much richer.

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