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February 9th 2014
Published: February 9th 2014
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Winter in Saskatchewan, it's bright, hard and exhilarating. Everyday the sky changes around me, the wind rises and drops, the temperature soars and plummets. On the 15th we had wind of 120 kilometres per hour. Shingles were torn off roofs and hurled across the lake in front of me. The wind has an incredible effect on those isolated from everyone else. It takes on a persona, raises the hair on the back of your neck, and makes you continually look over your shoulder to see what is stalking you. The cabin where I am staying, was untouched by the wind, but as the windows shook in their frames, I was awed by the clouds of snow that were billowed and chased across the lake. It was an exciting and humbling birthday for me. Dinner, wine, chocolate mousse and flowers celebrated it well.

The following days were filled with quick chills to -30 and sun so bright, eyes crinkle closed and tear up. The sunrises and sets are so beautiful, catching light in the ice crystals at the horizon, it's hard to believe its too cold to go outside. The four sun dogs that circle the sun, almost link tails to become a ring. Then the temp rises and tempts you to go outside, breaking through the snow crust to your mid thigh, and rolling across deep banks so you don't get stuck in the drifts. I've been skiing when the wind doesn't blow too hard. I have to rebreak trail every day, so the work out is great. The lake has formed a 4-6 foot ridge in a curve across its middle. I ski out to it and get a clear picture of how plate tectonics work. Two plates of ice have slammed up against each other and created ice mountains. The ice curls in foot deep layers to make tunnels and caves like the inside of a surf wave. Chunks of 4 foot thick ice jut straight up to form peaks and then subside down to a flat path across the ridge. It's powerful and arresting.

I've been dividing my days between playing guitar, learning Spanish, skiing, and reading, before I cook supper for Butch. It feels utterly decadent, and not at all lonely. I have also been learning how to make bread and nachenka with Butch's mom. These are a few of my favourite things. As this stage is coming to an end, I am feeling grateful that the next stage of the trip is meant for helping others. I have had enough of indulging myself.

The last days continued to prove the strength of winter, with storms stopping us from driving to Saskatoon. The snow melted and ices to the windows and roads and came down with blizzard intensity. Then the wind picked up again and we were snow locked at the cabin behind 4-6 foot high drifts of cement packed snow. We had to wait for the plow to dig us out. And then, with a blink, it was time to go. The weather shifted and driving to town was no problem. Errands were run, people were hugged, bags were packed, and it was time to go to the airport.

Good Night and Sweet Dreams


10th February 2014

Great pics
Gilly - I've missed your blogs and great to see pics from Saskatchewan - they are every bit as intriguing as some taken from afar. I'm glad you and Jacob are together again. Also glad it was you making the 55 hour flight. It would have killed me. Nice to hear your optimism about the volunteer work. Hope you enjoy it. Jean

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