Thinking of those readers who spend summers around Tucquala Lake…you know this place. Five and a half feet of snow at the guard station, which doesn’t seem like that much for this time of year. Ate lunch on the porch. Absolutely still and peaceful under the sort of gossamer sky that precedes a warm front. I wanted to stay for days, for the quiet and simplicity and star gazing. I wished for white paper and a small inky brush so that I could record an impression of the snowy trees. I wished for skis to float and glide over the invisible meadows. I wished to examine the lichens dripping from the subalpine firs, and I wished to go to the end of the trail.

I found myself unprepared to bring any of these wishes to fruition, so got back on the snowmobile to burn a couple gallons of gas and fly as fast as I dared toward home.


February 2 is the Christian Candlemas, which was laid over the pagan holiday of Imbolc. It occurs halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Various bits of folklore predict how much longer winter will last based on weather or stumpy mammals seeing their shadow on this day.

As far as I can tell, we get what we get. I’m happy that when the sun shines, it’s a little brighter and lasts a little longer. The hyacinth bulb I planted on the winter solstice has come into bloom this week, and once in awhile I get a whiff of its scent. Mmm. Today finch birds made their late winter/early spring calls when I went outside. Ravens were calling as melodiously as I’ve ever heard. Yesterday I lifted the cover off the beehive and waited till they came crawling up out of the depths of the frames. So glad there’s life in the colony! I swept the dead insects away from the hive entrance, and watched as the living ones came out to fly in the sunshine. Some of them landed on the snow for a sip of water. In a couple weeks I will start feeding them sugar water and pollen substitute to get their energy up. They’ll come out for the first pollen in March, and if the queen still lives she’ll start laying eggs.

To celebrate this halfway mark, I brought the grow light into the house to start peppers and tomatoes from seed.

Winter is not over. But the more days of February that pass, the more we cascade toward spring.