I had a fabulous day once in the winter bush north of Elliot Lake. Some friends and I were winter camping, and we’d left our tents that morning, wearing showshoes, to make a wide circuit of the lakes and trails nearby. With very little in our packs and a good campsite waiting for us on our return, we set out to cover lots of territory. The weather was superb; gorgeous blue sky, brilliant sun, fresh, clean snow and a temperature just right for breaking trail. We climbed hills, admired the views, read the signs of animals in the snow, brewed tea in a perfect lunch-spot, checked out trails and explored that beautiful corner of the world. With good friends at hand, no particular schedule and a comfortable camp awaiting us, we had the kind of a day you want to remember forever.
As I trudged the last mile down the last lake to our camp, I was aware of what a pleasant day it had been, and I cast around for some way to keep an intimate memory of it. The sound of my snowshoes came to mind, the steady crunch, crunch, crunch as they broke through the thin crust. I kept it in my mind and later wrote this song around it, contrasting the purity and openness of the day we’d experienced with the more typical southern way of living, locked away from all things natural and wild.
I do indeed “smile…. when the snow….falls deep….on my land – again.”
The snow falls, and the wind blows
There’re no walls, where the land froze
There’s black spruce, and jack pine,
Hard rock, and it’s all mine
Nothing beats a trail to travel farther every day
I’d rather have lakes and trees and rocks
Than hide away in a southern box
There’re fresh tracks, in the white snow.
Where they lead to, only God knows.
There’re moose and grouse and porcupine,
Otter slides and beaver sign
Lynx and coyote on the go,
Rabbits hiding in the snow
And stretching out behind me is a record of my own
I’d rather have wolf and mink and fox
Than hide away in a gyproc box.
The axe rings, and the tree falls.
The dead wood, frames tent walls
The stove pops, and the heat spreads.
It warms hands, and it bakes bread
And just beyond the cotton it’s 38 below,
I’d rather have lake and trees and rock,
Than hide away in a southern box.
And I smile,
When the snow,
On my land,