The Equinox has brought us more dreary weather. And now it is the mud season.One sinks ankle deep into the surface mud; the water has nowhere to go as the underlying ground is still frozen.In the last couple of weeks we’ve had two sunny days. (And bits of sun here and there)Sun or gloom, it is difficult to walk anywhere unless I leave early while the frost is still hardening the ground and snow. The dishes get abandoned until later. On this day I hiked up to the south bluff.
The south-facing slopes are now all bare of snow.A pair of Clark’s Nutcrackers was casing the slope. You do not often see them feed on the ground, but they stash seeds in open places, and this is probably what these two were looking for.
Back comes the gloom.And it keeps snowing.A rare and very beautiful pink sunrise.Afternoons often have storm clouds.The colour is mostly found on the birds.About 30 redwing blackbirds now, and, although there are no females yet, the testosterone levels are rising.This is what they look like from the back.One afternoon we had a wild blizzard.After these snowfalls, creature-tracks are obvious. Spruce grouse (the ruffed grouse have not arrived yet.) And wolf. The smaller prints belong to one of my dogs.Every day I check the forecast. Two sunny and several partial sunny days were promised – in a couple of days’ time. This is the way the forecast has gone all winter. Always the sun will shine – in two or three days’ time. But by the time that day comes, the sun has been pushed forward another two days, or has disappeared all together.
Unbelievably, this time the forecast looked as though it was going to be correct. The temp had dropped to -16C and the sky was cloudless. Unfortunately, on that first day I had to go to Nimpo and missed that early walking window.That night, a week before the equinox, the sun cleared Nogwon and this immediately makes for much longer days.I excitedly planned the next day’s hike. But even before I had left home, the sky had greyed over and the edge was taken out of the light.I hiked onto the north bluff. This patch of bare ground showed deep moose tracks, obviously made when the sand was thawed.The sun was now accompanied by a storm ring. (Although no storm eventuated.)The following morning was warmer – about -6C. I went to the warmest spots I could find to see if there were any dandelions showing yet. I salivate at the thought of those first wild spring greens. The likeliest place was along the river.The sunny banks are the first to show signs of growth, and I did find grass shoots, but no dandelions yet.That morning’s fresh ice clung to some of the river stones.Fog graced yesterday morning.In the forest, pine needles write strange messages on the snow.Mistletoe does it’s reproductive thing at this time of year. (No good saying: “Burn the affected branches.” Here, you would need to burn the whole forest.)Yesterday, on the way to Tatla, when I crossed the Klinaklini river, I saw the first geese.