Monday, 19 January 2015

Winter in the Limerick Forest

Winter is a time for writing. It keeps me busy and warm on these short, cold January days. I've been working on something new, The March and Walker Crime Novel series. Set in eastern Ontario, it features homicide investigators of the Ontario Provincial Police. The first novel, Sorrow Lake, has been completed in manuscript and is being read and evaluated. The second, Burn Country, is on my mind every morning when I wake up, and I expect it'll keep me busy until the snow is gone.

While the snow's here, however, I bundle up each day and take the dogs for a walk in the back forest. Our property is a long, narrow strip extending into former pasture that's now busily reforesting, if that's a word. The other day we were watched by a large barred owl as we meandered along my home-made foot path. We often startle ruffed grouse and cross the tracks of deer as they travel back and forth along their own trails. It's a great place to get out and clear my head, breathe the cold fresh air, and, yes, daydream.

Foremost in my daydreams these days is a plan to create an oval back there where I made a small clearing in the fall. It's a place where I've put a chair and bench for sitting when the weather's warmer. You can see the spot here, on the right. In the foreground on the right is the trunk of a white pine that fell a few seasons ago; it'll become another bench for sitting. There's a dead tamarack just out of the frame to the left that will provide logs for raised beds filled with wild flowers. When I cut it down, of course.

Meanwhile, we wander and daydream. My retriever, Charley, noses around beneath one of our tall white pines. If you look up, you may spot a porcupine who's spending the winter in this particular tree. He's something of a problem, because he's stripping the tree for lunch, and I don't want him to kill it. So far, stern warnings and cuss words have had little effect. Next I suppose I'll try a few snowballs. It's worked before on his cousins. Porcupines are shy and don't like people, particularly noisy ones like me, but this fellow's being stubborn. They really don't like snowballs, though, so I think I may change his mind about hanging around.

Back inside, at the keyboard, I'm in complete control of the world in which my stories are set. As much in control, I suppose, as any of us when it comes to the universe of the imagination. But out here, in the forest, control isn't an issue. I'm a participant. A partner. I've noticed in the snow that the rabbits and deer like to use my paths when I'm not back there.  I hope they find my oval beneficial, when it's done. On the other hand, I still have a bone to pick with that porcupine.......!

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