For once, no food talk per say.
Winter provides a short break from the growing season mindset of non-stop exploitation and hard work in the business of providing fresh wild edibles, cooking, serving and putting up. With nothing to pick but pimbina in the heart of winter, we enjoy our preserves, play catch-up, cook a few dinners, take the time to relax and appreciate nature as it rests along with us.
‘There is pleasure in the pathless woods where no one intrudes..’
This Keats quote came into my mind today as I trekked through the deep snow in the forest outback on snowshoes, winding my way between the trees, aware of a few passing critters from their tracks, but otherwise entirely alone. For miles. There was no hunting or gathering. Just putting one foot in front of the other to a silent beat, working up a healthy sweat, soaking up the surroundings, letting the endless, tranquil beauty take over.
Without my man of the woods on my escapades, I can easily get lost, mostly thanks to my habit of sporadically going off into my head, but I don’t care. It’s nice to let go. Besides, I’m still young enough to manage a longer than anticipated way back. I could always just follow the river, which is equally breathtaking only different, somewhat more dangerous, but François has coached me well. Once the sun is setting, I stick to the river.
Out there with him, I can go blind for ever, which is another kind of peace, watching his stride from behind, hearing another thump thump (or swish swish on skis) to match my own in sync.. Security and pleasure in those pathless woods; utterly romantic..
How privileged I am to have this winter wonderland out my back door, a guy to share it with from time to time, and a schedule that allows me to take advantage of it, having paid my dues all year.
The added bonus is such outdoor activities only justify hearty meals and festive 5à7’s around the fire afterward. When accompanied, communal feasts and flowing wine easily ensue; there is never a better moment for cheese fondue and big ass roasts or braises. Even alone, a proper celebratory, restorative meal is in order. There might be some Nordic spa action too, but always no doubt lots of soulful cooking, wining and dining after a good dose of nature and fresh air.. Better zzz’s too.
I love winter.