Sun on Snow and Risky Business

A couple of weekends ago, the sun came out for the first time in a long time.  And with the temperature at a balmy just-above-freezing (again for the first time in a long time), I decided to spend the entire day out of doors.  And I did!  I went for a run, and then a hike, and then I went cross country skiing (more on that later), and then I went for another hike.  Amazing.  I wish I could spend that much time outside every day!

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But for my first hike, I decided to wander on down to my favourite nearby cliff face, where I nearly got myself killed in January (clearly this is my favourite place to nearly get myself killed).  After the deep freeze and boatloads of snow, I hadn’t been able to get back there since, but on this particular day, I decided to wade out in the waist deep snow to check it out.

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(It’s neat to compare this photo to the one from January!)

The path to get there was untouched, and the going was slow and frustrating.  (At least slogging through snow is a good work out!)  But eventually I came to the top of my cliff and looked out on my reservoir.  I snapped a few photos of sun as it snuck in and out of clouds before a red-tailed hawk came soaring past.  I longed for the luxury of a telephoto lens, but eagerly snapped a few photos in spite of the distance.

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It was in this moment that the snow beneath my feet slid a few inches, suddenly, and my heart lurched into my throat.  I was still firmly balanced on the cliff edge, but I had that sinking* realization that the deep snow in which I was standing had the potential to slide out en masse over the cliff edge (taking me with it) and that there would be very little I could do about it if so.  Risky business.

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Idly, almost casually, I leaned over and wrapped and arm around a young beech tree.  I snapped a few more photos calmly, admired a vole as it darted around on the sparkling snow, and then began to back my way up the hill.

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If I suddenly go missing… you know where to find my body.

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*Pun intended

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