Reflections on Winter

Reflections on Winter
March 31, 2012 Colleen Emery

Its been 7 months since we left our inner city neighbourhood, unplugged from our city life and began the transition to rural mountain living, off grid, in a Yurt. In the past 7 months Husband and I have been working hard to create a viable living for ourselves in a much smaller economy. For me it meant transferring a business to a new province and jumping through many hoops that I was avoiding jumping through for many years. For Husband it meant leaving a full time, super secure job with all the bells and whistles, closing down a part time subcontracting business and staring a full time business here.

We both are self employed now. Its up to us, 100% to make it happen. We have been faced with some pretty lean times this winter, scary for this security loving Taurus. Finding abundance in non-monetary ways was and is a huge lesson for me. The beauty in life really isn’t in the money, money is just a tool used in life, it doesn’t define life. While I knew this concept intellectually in the city, the ruggedness of life here brought it to clarity for me. It has been a serious learning curve for both Husband and I.  Combine this with our new way of living and you have a recipe for some serious character building (or crying in the outhouse, take your pick).

We made it through our first winter here. I can say this because a) we are still here and b) the snow is melting exponentially day by day revealing the fact that spring is minutes from exploding everywhere. (also revealing all the items we forgot to put away before the first snow storm).  The sense of how busy life will be in the spring is starting to reveal itself too. My seeds are here for the garden that I will so very gratefully be growing with my neighbour and friend Jo. The deposit for my CSA share has been set aside. The phone is ringing daily for Husband as projects get underway again after a dark and damp winter. The general pace of this little mountain village is accelerating everyday.

So its time to reflect on what will we do differently for our second year in the Yurt.

1) Our firewood, all 4-5 cords of it will be bucked and stacked no later than August this year. Nothing fun about running out of wood middle of winter. It gets cold fast in the yurt having only a insulated tent wall between us and the elements. How cold you ask? Coldest temp in the Yurt this year so far: -4 C.

2) I won’t move my business. This winter I moved my business twice, once at the start of winter and once in the middle of winter, both times in increment weather. Moving here, moving my business to the little city south of here and then moving it up here again. Too much!! I totally am grateful for all I learned in this process, but its time for this Herbalist to put down some roots!

3) I will learn to ski. Or at least I will go up to the ski hill and hang while Pickle and Husband ski. Getting above the cloud line will be crucial to my sanity next year. For years before we moved here people would say, “Oh BC, you mean Below Cloud”. Or, “Are you sure you can handle not seeing the sun for weeks on end?” I would always think they must be exaggerating, for weeks at a time? Nonsense! But yes its true, literally for weeks at a time we have gone without seeing or feeling the sun on our faces. Boy when we do, its a feeling that can’t be explained properly. Just know that I cried out of pure joy the first time it happened.

4) I won’t drive much next winter. I drove 100 km 5-6 times a week this year in the worst of the winter weather. On one of the drives, mid December, it was 3:30 and completely black out, raining in low areas with fog, turning to sleet, then snow. By the time I was ‘up the valley’ it was pitch black, foggy and snowing heavily. Couple this with windy mountain roads that are slippery, chip and logging trucks swinging past you and no shoulders on the road! It made all the crazy prairie driving I have experienced, even the white outs, seem doable.

5) We will be ready for the shut down that is January and February. Hibernation is not only for the animals. Life simply slows to a crawl.

The world and all its inhabitants are waking again and the days are getting longer. The sun shines more now and the herbs are poking their heads through the soggy ground.  The first test of our resolve has been successful.

Now to face Mosquito season….

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