In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Lull between two storms

The last storm began on Thursday. It was strong enough that even Greg did not venture outside much for three days. And this evening a new storm will arrive. It is even now making its way up the East Coast from below New York and over the Gulf of Maine. Then it is due to cross the province and slam into Cape Breton and New Brunswick again. This is the pattern of our winter storms. 

There will be high winds -- maybe very high this time, as much as one hundred kilometres per hour tomorrow, which takes it well into gale force and almost to hurricane force -- snow and sleet and, later, rain.  This will be the tenth or eleventh severe winter storm of the season. But here on the southwest coast the storms pass over, on their way somewhere else. No matter how harsh they are to us, we usually do not get the worst of it. 

This morning I awoke to the ancient sound of the woodcutter splitting wood.  It's a rhythmic thump, thump, thump as the maul swings downward with all the upper body force at the woodcutter's command, slicing through the log, hitting the wide stump on which the log is vertically balanced. It is an activity I don't like to watch. A band saw once snapped in Pugwash and beheaded one of Greg's ancestors. It makes me leery of sharp objects.    

Today is the lull between two storms.  We have emptied the ashes and the compost and brought in enough wood for two or three days. Greg has moved Chopper down to Skipper's wharf in the cove, where she will lie safe from the winds.  He has brought his tools inside and closed the shed doors and latched them. He has moved a full propane tank next to the tank that supplies the breezeway heater, so if it runs out he won't need to go all the way to the shed. He has secured the garbage cans so they won't fly about. By now we have experienced stronger winds than what is expected tonight. So we have some sense of what's coming. 

Today is well above freezing, and the air is calm and the harbour tranquil.  This morning a fine powdered snow covered a smooth crust of ice. We went looking for prints and found some lovely ones. The more we read and compare the prints we have seen with the prints in books, the more I believe we are seeing hare tracks, not foxes. You may wonder how anyone could confuse hares with foxes. It is not that hard to do if you are a beginner. A beginner doesn't know a good print from a poor one. Then, slowly, the more you look at them, the more clearly you see. 

Things become less sharply edged, less fearful, less dramatic, the more you know about them. A bit of familiarity reveals fine variations, too, and makes the whole thing more interesting. The coming storm will not be so bad. "She'll be breezing up," Skipper tells us, which sounds about right. Greg is careful when he splits wood. Foxes become hares.  We savour this lull. 

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