I'm the biggest hypocrite of all.

I talk about enjoying moments, taking in the small things, using what you have to its maximum. Yet as we've transitioned from an urban life to a homesteading life, we've let all the work and toil take centre stage, the joy and small moments fading into the chaos of every day, the forest behind our house sitting untraversed.

The last week everyone's been sick. So I'm not talking about the last week. I'm talking about the last year. 

It's not that there hasn't been plenty of happiness around here: there has. But the unadulterated joy that our family experienced on that first walk through the forest, on the day we picked up the keys to our old farmhouse... that kind of joy from connecting with our own back yard sanctuary of pine and cedar and bunnies and dozens of mushroom species has been scant lately. Our first winter here, I'd sometimes take two walks through that forest every day, sometimes with the kids, sometimes with the dogs, a lot of times with everyone together. But one real or imagined obstacle after another, and these walks have dwindled to near-zero.

This morning it was -16°C (or -22°C with the windchill), and the kids weren't with us, but we took a walk back there anyway. We walked all the way to the power lines. It's only about 800 metres long, but when you're making your way through trails and snowbanks, it can last a nice while and be really fun.

We followed animal tracks in the snow all the way to a small pool of running water, cutting through the thick ice as if fed by a warm spring underneath. We listened to the silence, broken by the small cheeps of chickadees. We heard the thump-thump of a grouse escaping our approach.

And of course, at last, we also sat with our animals for a little while.

 The earth's game of tic-tac-toe