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Crrck - the sickening sound of my underwear breaking. "Oh no," I mutter, and quickly bend it back into shape as if that will fix it again.
I lean forward like a drunk reaching for a lamppost, my face stung by snow. Northern beauty treatment: to exfoliate your skin and get that radiant glow, simply venture out into a blizzard.
There she is again - the moose cow with the bright white hindquarters, right in the willows. She's pulling at the upper twigs, breaking off the tips with a sharp nod of her head.
Moose alarm! I don't even try to get my eyelids unstuck, they're too heavy, motionless like my limbs at this ungodly hour. Wilson barks again.
When I'm asleep, I'm part of things. When I'm awake, I'm not. Where only minutes ago darkness stretched, enveloping me and everything else with its muffling absence of detail and colour, I have now carved out my own private circle of light.
Have you ever noticed that warm, stockinged feet will act like Velcro on a frosty porch? It's a new discovery for me.
Above me, the soft honking of swans. Necks stretched south like reverse compass needles, their wings cup the cold air as if it were a solid thing. Like a vanishing heartbeat, their call gets weaker and weaker until finally, they're gone.
The land is starting to look the way I feel. Leaves are throwing themselves to the ground, adamant for snow, the mountainsides have lost all colour and even the northern lights are only pale imitations of themselves these days.
OK, that's a blatant lie.
I'm straining hard to listen; to listen not one-directional but to reach out into the woods with all my senses until I can feel the land like my skin.
Torching old bush cabins seems like an odd priority for bureaucrats to have, and yet, there it is: the governmental urge to rid the countryside of those picturesque but dilapidated shacks now populated only by mice and fireweed.
Up in the tattered crown of the tallest spruce, the surveillance team of two ravens has arrived for their daily check on our moose hunting prowess - or lack thereof. "Gluck, gluck," one of them calls. Or is it "Luck, luck"? The very thing we're missing.
Shades of red are splashed like blood across the woods: scarlet bearberry leaves by my freezing toes, a sprinkling of rosehips and rusty fireweed fronds among the trees. Even the mountaintops blush in the sunrise that's doing nothing to warm me - yet.
Amazing that doing a little bit of laundry can have such a big effect. Well OK, that's a lie. It was three major loads of laundry, so perhaps it's no wonder that the rain just won't stop.
"Oh, no," I whisper and stare at the long brown shape afloat in our water barrel, its black-tipped tail stretched out and legs hanging in limp surrender. I feel strangely bereft.
"Fire! The smokehouse is burning!" Tom's eyes are wide with fear as he races outside. Sam and I jump up, tipping over the Monopoly board, my pulse thudding heavily in my ears.
Darkness is back again. I open my eyes as wide as they'll go, which is not very far since sleep still clings to me heavily.
"A bear leaned against my tent last night," our friend Tom gasps, still as shell-shocked as if he'd escaped only seconds ago. "I woke up and there was this sound, sort of like heavy breathing. Right by the tent.
I concentrate, trying to eliminate the "plop" my paddle make makes as I dip it into the water.
Our puppy has dissociative body disorder. Actually, that's not as bad as his associative body odour, an ill wind that escapes from his backside and has the potency of an anaesthetic and a bio-chemical weapon rolled into one. "Pffft.