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!


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.

(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.


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.


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.


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


*Pun intended


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