I make the cottage as the day is fading and drive past it to Bernie’s house to pick up keys. Brian has plowed the first fifteen feet of the laneway so I will have someplace to park. After a short visit I leave Bernie’s and pull into the parking space. There is a lot of snow, at least two feet, with more forecast over the next few days. I wade through the white with my new snow shovel, clear the front door, turn the key and enter the cottage. The familiar greeting smell is absent. Being so intent on getting settled in this doesn’t even dawn on me until the next morning when knotted pin walls, emerging from their deep freeze, begin to offer up the familiar aroma.
Upon entry I am preoccupied with getting warm and getting my things in from the car. It’s 100 meters away at the road end of the driveway and just getting to the cottage door was a chore, wading through the powder. Fortunately the snow is light and easy to shovel. I turn on the electrical breakers and begin to plug in heaters and turn on lights. I stow my flashlight. I fire up baseboards and portable heaters immediately. I trip a breaker, turn off the portables, and reset the breaker. Reconfiguring the placement of the heaters around the cabin I try again. All is well. I hope by morning it’s warm.
I spend most of an hour melting snow on the stove. I think back to Cairo and the month of trying to get my landlord to fix my hot water heater. A week before I left he finally realized the old tank was spent and installed a new one. Finally I had hot water. Now I’m here.
After setting the wheel on the electric meter awhirl I don hat and gloves and start shoveling a path to the car. It is one shovel width, half a meter wide. The snow lifts easily, two scoops and I move another half meter. I find my rhythm and before long I am half way to the road. My path is not straight, in the dark I use the giant maples as a guide in my periphery. Looking up occasionally I just keep heading for the shadow of a car at the end of the drive. It doesn’t take all that long and I’m there. I have barely broken a sweat. How many times in the next two weeks will I clear this path? I make three trips with my belongings. My heavy bag comes first, then groceries, then water and finally the snow shovel.
I un-board the picture window that overlooks the lake and continue to melt snow, then stand for a while straddling the heater.
I have great intentions of hooking up my computer and settling in to start looking at photos and writing this evening. Water made, snacks eaten, I decide to sit under the warm comforter of my bed and write for just a while. A day in the air, and a night in the city conspire; ten minutes and one paragraph in I am asleep at the keyboard. Waking an hour later I turn off the light and fall asleep.