Enjoying the chill

January 26, 2007

After a slow start, it’s winter proper now, adiabatic fog rising from the rapids on the Ottawa River which now has a few ice-fishing huts erected on its frozen shallows. On the wall at Ralph’s Diner, where I often stop for breakfast in the west end of town, hangs an oil painting of the ice huts by a local artist.

Last weekend, from the air, I saw a deer venturing onto the ice from the shore of Kettle Island. In the forest east of Rockland, I think I also spotted a family of moose huddling together at an intersection of tracks between the trees. A small animal was running in circles round the larger ones, an impatient youngster perhaps.

The air is extremely dry, our hair and clothes consequently full of static electricity, so that we get an electric shock whenever we touch anything metal. Our eyelashes threaten to stick together as the drops of moisture on them start to freeze. Snow-shoeing again today in a wind-chill of minus 33. The faces of the participants are hardly visible under their wrappings to ward off frostbite. Five of us appeared on the Diplomatica page of the Ottawa Citizen this week, albeit in black and white, the photo taken by me; this was at last week’s event. The people pictured are from India, Canada, Japan and Germany.snowshoes1.jpg

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