Winter ravaged the wood this year. It knocked down many beetle-kill pines and spindly aspens on our acreage. Michael spent hours cutting up logs from blowdown trees for firewood. I spend my days sitting by the cabin window writing. I watch the ice on the frozen lake melt in the sun and freeze each night. Sometimes the lake makes a groaning sound. I take breaks to walk in the woods and pile branches and sticks into small piles. It has become a meditation and a procrastination, and a chance to get outside and enjoy the sun. March in the Cariboo is the season’s in-between time, the awkward transition between winter and spring.

There are signs of moose along the lake shore and in the woods, droppings and chewed branches. Moose like to hang out near the cabins in the winter but in the spring they head elsewhere. We heard coyotes and great horned owls but no wolves this time. Nothing excites me more than seeing wolves except the sight of the wild horses. We stopped the truck to photograph them, marvelling at their thick winter coats and wondering how they could survive so far away from civilization and food.

The warm weather has brought out the chipmunks living under the rocks. I feed them some shelled pumpkin seeds. When we return to Meadow Lake in late spring, the Greater sandhill migration will begin. When that occurs Michael will spend much of his time with his binoculars wrapped around his neck, ready to count their growing numbers. His bird list will grow and every so often he’ll come inside the cabin to tell me he’s spotted a ‘new’ bird to add to his Meadow Lake list.

This week his bird list was sparse, three pine siskin, a flock of bluebirds, Canada geese, swallows, a red-winged blackbird and a white winged crossbill.

Nights are for reading by the fire. I finished ‘What I Loved’ by Siri Hustvedt, one of the most intelligent books I’ve read for a long time. I hated it for the first 50 pages. It took a long time to get to know the characters but once but I did I loved the book.

I also read Lisa Moore’s ‘Alligator.’ It was as spare a novel as What I Loved was long and detailed, but the writing was wonderful and each of her characters sympathetic, except the Russian and even he, loved his little son. Jesus, though it was depressing, especially poor loveable Frank, the young owner of a hotdog stand.

The last book I read, half of it on the long drive home, was Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell. It wasn’t what you’d call literary. More like a beach read, but the storytelling, plot and characters were engrossing. Each of the three novels were starkly different but their authors created distinct worlds with unforgettable characters. I lucked out. Sometimes I’ll bring a pile of books and they might be okay but not great.

With no internet or tv, I listened to CBC Radio while I cooked on a hotplate so having three good books to lose myself in was a godsend.  And now I’m home, it’s back to laundry, the gym and writing but I’ve nothing to read.