Then and now. To recap:
Two years ago, my three kids were off on their own adventures for Easter weekend (university and New York City to visit cousins respectively) so my husband and I thought we'd escape up to our cottage for a romantic weekend of our own. We'd had mad snowfalls that winter, but we spoke to the fellow who plows our driveway and he assured us the road was a go. He'd also shoveled our cottage roof because there was a concern about the weight bringing the whole structure crashing down.
I drove, as per our usual agreement (windy twisty road = one carsick passenger, so it's a given I drive anywhere with windy, twisty roads) and arrived to find that although the road leading into our cottage was technically clear of snow, the bright sun had turned it into a hill of thick ice. Thick, unsalted, unsanded ice. And when I say "discovered" I mean after I crested the hill. And by "drive" I mean gripping the wheel of what was now a giant sled without brakes nor capacity to steer while screaming like a cat in a blender.
Luckily my husband talked me through it "Don't brake just go let it go LET IT GO! If we get through this honey, I'll take you to Paris and we'll stay in the finest hotel!" (At least that's how I remember it.) Once we got to the bottom of our road, I threw our car into 4-wheel drive and gunned it up our driveway which was also covered in ice. At this point, the long drive coupled with the giant coffee I'd consumed along the way and the rush of adrenaline meant a desperate need for the loo. One small problem - I couldn't see our front door. What our driveway guy neglected to mention was that the snow he and his helper had thoughtfully turfed off the roof was now piled on top of the mountain of snow that had accumulated on the decks. To refresh your memory, this is what stood between me and the loo.
This marked the beginning of our romantic weekend. That's Doug digging right below the roof looking for the front door, the top of which is just below his boots.
Fast forward to this past weekend.
We had another opportunity to spend a couple of days at the cottage on our own before a big family Easter brunch. The experience could not have been more dramatically different than two years ago. The sun was shining, the snow practically gone except for random bits in the shade of the deepest woods. In fact, Saturday went to a record high of around 26C, and we found ourselves dressed in shorts. There was something very strange about hopping over snow-covered steps in flip flops in order to get to the deck, but it was hot enough to justify wearing them.
The ice still covers the lake, but it changed in one day from white to dark gray, indicating it is ready to sink any day now.
And at the edges, I saw water. That's actual meltage people! I resisted the urge to jump up and down on the ice to hasten its demise.
So it was that I sat with my husband by a frozen lake on the hottest spring day on record with a gin and tonic in one hand, and a juicy novel in the other. The breeze swirled around us, sometimes hot sometimes cold, depending on its direction. If it passed over the frozen lake, it was as though someone opened a freezer door in a hot room. Then it would change direction and swirl around from the sun-warmed cedar woods, so it was as though someone had suddenly covered us with a blanket warmed from the dryer. It was just amazing, and thrilling because we Canadians count on days like this. It's our reward for our long winters. This was like winning the weather jackpot.
The chipmunks and bluejays were back to beg for peanuts, the cheeky red squirrels were bickering and chasing each other up and down the birches over the sunflower seeds I'd put out for the chickadees, and there was even a large pileated woodpecker hammering away on a stump. And no bugs to bug us, no blackflies, mosquitoes or deerflies. Nada. Just serenity.
And say hello to this little guy who landed on our deck:
I don't care that it's overcast and cool today, nor that they say it's going back to a more seasonal 5C by the end of the week. This weekend acted like a tonic on the soul battered by another winter.