Friday, 27 February 2015

Nature will continue to surprise us

Hi Folks. Curtis here. 
As the winter has become more advanced, I have become increasingly appreciative of this season. There seems to be no end to surprises and unexpected encounters. Even by late February, when we think we are sick of seeing nothing but snow and cold and wind and darkness, nature gives us a peek into something completely new and unique.

Two such events occurred for me today, Friday Feb. 27. As I was working on finishing up clearing the last of our most recent snowfall from Tuesday, I was standing in the office getting on all my warm clothes to go back out again after lunch. I looked out the front window and thought I saw a dog standing on the road. A quick double-take had my eyes confirming that it was indeed a lynx! Having several people comment to me that lynx tracks had been found at Shekinah this winter, I was not entirely surprised by the idea that a lynx would be calling our fair camp home, but I was very much caught off guard to see it casually strolling up the driveway past our window in the early afternoon. I ran outside in my double-socked feet to get a better look at it and it continued walking away from me up the driveway. Nick and Katie also got a decent look at it and there was a significant buzz of excitement for quite some time in our little office as we soaked in the experience we just had together.

The second surprise came a few hours later when driving the tractor back up towards the shop to park, I noted the large amount of ice building up on the creek. I quickly grabbed the camera and went back on foot. The first place I went was the green gate crossing. The sheet of ice covering the crossing there seemed to be almost at ground level on both ends. As I walked out onto it, I could hear the sputtering of water nearby downstream and the muffled gurgling of water beneath the ice underfoot, strange sounds in -15 degree temperatures. The ice seemed quite solid though and I walked around for a few minutes before putting my foot through the ice into water. Time to move on.

The second area I explored was around the suspension bridge crossing. No gurgling water here, only the complete silence of solid ice and the occasional muffled groan as I apply my weight over a section where the ice has formed over some underlying snow. My usual mark for the thickness of the ice is at the suspension bridge itself. Those who are familiar with it will recall that the cables suspended from each end droop in the middle to just below (for me) shoulder height. As you can see in the picture below, the ice is built up so high that, when standing on top of it, the aforementioned cable barely tickles my ankle. This is truly remarkable for me to witness. The temperatures have been cold the last weeks and yet liquid water continues to flow over our creek in the middle of winter, slowly building up that sheet of ice. 

I am anticipating a possible rise of the ice over the suspension bridge cables. I would say I would be surprised to see that but the lesson I learned again today is that, just when you think you know what nature will present you with, you will again be humbled by the diversity and complexity found in our wild spaces. I like to think of it as a glimpse of the glory and presence of God. And those moments are the ones that keep us coming back to Shekinah.

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