Mar 14, 2013- 10:07 AM
As long as I don’t have to get in the car on a snowy day, winter is my favourite time of year. But then, if you ask me in June what season is best, it would be summer, of course.
The best time of year is always the one that matches the date on the calendar. It is only when it rains in the middle of winter, or snows in the middle of summer that I take issue with the weather.
Ignore the meltdowns a few weeks ago, this winter is the best we have had in a long time. Even when the early morning temperature dropped to -40, I was happy all day. Hitting -40 now and then is normal for our latitude.
All the species that live here expect this cold and have ways to cope and invasive species can’t deal with the cold.
A walk in the woods gives a little view into how our wild life neighbours are getting along. Just look at the puffy balls of feathers we call chickadees.
I can guess the temperature each morning just by looking at these beautiful little birds. The colder the temperature, the fatter the chickadees.
Deep fluffy snow is the blanket that protects many creatures through the coldest nights. I’ve been startled more than once while snowshoeing through the forest by a grouse popping up out of the snow.
She tucked herself into a soft drift during a storm and stayed there, her little snow cave being much warmer than the -36 reading on the thermometer.
I found a little bed where a snowshoe hare spent the night while skiing along the trail one day. I stopped to see why the snow had been disturbed. There was a cozy little curve packed in the snow ... with a couple of bunny droppings left behind.
I could just imagine the bunny tucked in, warm and comfy in the blanket of snow.
Further along a moose and her calf had walked all over the ski tracks. I decided that later on I would follow the tracks to see where they led.
I would need to dig out the biggest snowshoes I have to trek over the three feet of snow. Moose don’t have any trouble with this deep snow; they just dance through it with their long, graceful legs.
The days are getting noticeably longer now that March has begun. The sun shines brighter and warmer. But March is often a time of extremes as late winter struggles with early spring.
It could be -30 one night, then two degrees the next day. We may get the biggest snowstorm of the year, followed by a week of the sunniest days we have ever seen.
Personally, at the moment, I’m hoping for at least four more weeks of winter. Let spring wait until April.
Viki Mather has been commenting for Northern Life on the natural world and life in Greater Sudbury since the spring of 1984.