A Winter View

Lately it seems that my view of winter has changed.  I see the snow and feel the cold and see it as a risky challenge to locomotion of the vehicular and pedestrian kind.  When I was a kid in Toronto I used to spend hours on my skates up at the park at the end of our street playing shinny on the natural ice rink.  I would blast the puck against the plywood boards.  When my shot went high I would walk off the ice and see if I could find it in the snow.  Come the Spring thaw, one could harvest lost pucks from the park.

Winter is the obvious metaphor for old age. Although it is the sleepy time of the year, as I have aged my sleep has escaped from me.  Many nights I am awake at all hours after midnight.  I read a little.  I talk to the cats who stare at me reprovingly for disturbing their sleep.  I listen to the northwest wind humming at the windows.  I look out at the inky void outside and see nothing.  Unless the sky is clear and the moon is shining its magic blue light.

Snow Recession

The sun is reaching for the remaining snow around here.  It is still deep in the woods by the roads especially on the north facing sections.  But the shoulders of the roads hidden all winter have appeared.  Georgian Bay in front of my home remains solid.  Yesterday I heard my first starling of the season, such a nasty bird call.  Made me wonder what is star-like about them to gain their name.   I look forward to double digits in the high temperature for tomorrow, 10 degrees Celsius.  I have wondered if the migrating birds are smart enough to read the weather along the way and to slow their arrival north.  They need the ground uncovered and the plants growing, insects to feast upon, to make a go of it.  I am extra weary of winter this year. I enjoy winter but each year as I get older it seems a bit too long and Spring in Ontario always starts as a cold, rainy, slow slide towards summer.

Spring somewhere in the future

Snow receding slowly around here and with that motion, some flooding in a minor key but mercifully bare roads.  My summer tires on rims are sitting waiting in the boathouse.  I have about 60 feet of grass to roll them over to get them in my car.   That grass has two and a half feet of snow still stacked up all the way.  Last day or so we have not heard any snowmobiles out on the frozen remainder of winter covering Georgian Bay.  No open water yet.  I am hungry for Spring.  Much more this year than any other.   I will not complain about the heat and humidity this year.  I promise.

poem – The Storms This Winter

The Storms This Winter


DSC_9109The storms this winter make me afraid

Like I have never feared before.

It seems to be too much for me.

I have grown suddenly old.

Trudging across the tundra

that was my summer grass and my warm sunshine,

destroyed and determined to freeze me to death.

Control of car and control of feet and balance.

These are the questions that poke at me.

My fingers aching inside my gloves from the cold.

My nose hurting after a minute outside.

Wondering seriously if my circulation decline

Is going to net me actual frostbite, something

I thought was just for a Jack London short story.

I only see cars out, frosted exhaust plumes rising,

no people walking.

And one mad woman jogger at 6:25am on a morning

With -30 degrees Celsius to convince her lungs that fire

Was a relative state of sensation,

that black clothing with no reflector tape

Was the perfect chance to end it all

and get run over by an old man

Blinking through his mostly defrosted

attempt at a windshield.

Very late in life to become a killer, so he manages to slide past without

Felony consequence.

Then I see the night nurses walking fast to their cars.

At the hospital parking lot

When I arrive for dialysis

Having outpaced the snow ploughs

a couple of mornings per week.

Winter rolls slowly forward

like the trunk of a snowman

Accumulating weight and momentum,

thickening like slush turning

To frozen worry. The smallest attempts

become a full day’s load of effort.

sony nex f3 20131208 023e

end of January dialysis notes

It is has not been the easiest of months, January 2014

Primarily the winter weather has been fierce, super cold temperatures as low as -32 degrees Celsius, lots of snow and blowing snow making the drive first thing in the dark of early morning difficult and stressful….

On the nuts and bolts of dialysis a few issues:

  • low blood pressures 120/nn dropping to 103/nn or even lower during the run, which means the nurse has to back off going for fluid, which means I do not get down to my target weight
  • weight increase which would normally mean higher blood pressure that I come in with but that has not been the case
  • leg cramps while sitting in the treatment chair, painful as heck
  • cramps in my legs after I have returned home, interrupting sleep
  • generally feeling worn down by all of this

on the plus side one more month done, so one month into the 12 months predicted at the period in which I will rise to the top of the transplant list.

getting out of ’13

yesterday was a dialysis morning, not my regular day, but a special switch for the two holiday weeks this year, and driving out of Penetang and into Midland on my way home I was afraid of an accident.  the snow was heavy and visibility got down to something crazy like 20 feet. So I pulled into a mall on Hwy 93 and had lunch and eyeballed the snowfall.

I managed to creep home safely along Hwy 12 to Victoria Harbour

perhaps the absolutely worst winter driving I have ever experienced for poor visibility….there was a black ice day in Toronto a long time ago, when I rented in the beaches and could not get up the hill and north to work, cars were sliding backwards helplessly into parked cars and other motorists…..that day I retreated and worked from home.

New Year's Day snow load 2