Thin Ice

The lake and pond are frozen over. Long ago, living in Pointe Claire nr Montreal, the St Lawrence seaway used to freeze so deep that trucks could cross. Here, I dare not trust the ice with my weight. At the pressure of a foot, it already begins to creak and crack. The arctic air has really crept in everywhere. The horse-trough has only a dimple of open water on an inch-thick crust of ice, where the continuing trickle still keeps things liquid. How does it happen that moving water can be below zero? Do the horses understand that they can still drink? I took a hammer and made the pool a bit bigger. But I imagine it will freeze back again, incorporating the new iceberglets. The horses have grown hairy winter coats, but they do look cold. Could they be stolid sufferers and I not know it?

Heating this house when it’s 10 degs Farhenheit is neither cheap nor easy. It feels like trying to use a summer house in th. e winter. If I had the stable cottage working I might well set up a small warm winter study there, like the polythene tent I once made in the attic in St Marys Crescent.

I’m on emotionally thin ice right now. YB is being suffused and invested with the kind of care that makes a place into a home, just as that same warmth is being withdrawn from Lothersdale, in the wake of my mother’s death. Cannon County is not Yorkshire, and yet there are moments of mirror resonance. Struggling to stay warm is to struggle for the very idea of home.

But it is part and parcel of YB that it change seasonally. With the leaves down, the woods are more open, the trees more like writing against the sky. Less welcoming, more sparely beautiful.