I was invited up to a friend’s cottage this past weekend. It’s the last weekend in March, a full week into spring, but up here you’d never know it. We woke up to -14C (sigh), but by the time we went out for a brisk snow shoe the thermometer had already shot up to 0C. I suppose “shot” is rather extreme, but really, when the number in your memory for the winter of 2015 is -22C plus windchill, suddenly 0C becomes almost balmy.
The day was bright and just about as gorgeous as you would want a winter day in January to be. Too bad we’re three days away from April! The snowshoe through the woods was uplifting; the silence, the blue of the sky, the soft cornsnow, and most of all the fresh clean air that doesn’t hurt your lungs when you breathe. If it had been like this all winter, it wouldn’t have been so bad. I admit I’m a bit of baby.
For a writer, being outside and out of your usual surroundings, is one of the best ways to help dislodge writer’s block or start forming ideas for new characters in new settings. It can help with descriptions too. Seeing places for the first time, imagining writing about them, putting characters there, thinking about what they would do. You might not know right away how the scenery will fit into a story, but you’ve got it in your memory bank and on your camera for reference when you need it.
Whether or not I’ll ever use this beautiful scenery remains to be seen, but just having it in my mind and the photos up on my wall will help inspire me and let me drift back to the setting remembering sounds, smells, and most of all the beautiful colour of the sky and the contrast of the trees and snow.