PHOTO COMP New Years Day, Grassy HutSix o’clock in the morning and you’re buried in a sleeping bag. Two hut mates clomp around on the slat floor and take turns whispering dream sequences. They laugh. At first you’re annoyed until you remember where you are: Grassy Hut, Bonnington Range, New Year’s Day. You peek past down and spy a crackle of light coming from the wood stove. Visible warmth. You smell smoke, snow, and kerosene. Propping your head up on an elbow, you turn your gaze to the tiny four-paned window. The sky is lightening over the mountains to the east and you roll over, stand up, hike your sleeping bag around your shoulders and hop out the door to get a better view.
Within minutes the sky turns the colour of bruised plum: purple and fleshy. Chickadees twitter in a pine nearby; their voices like giggles against your friends’ guffaws. The world brightens. The sky changes shape – clouds pass, colours fuse. Suddenly you’re staring at a shade that is best described as cotton candy pink.
More morning noises. A crow sounds off – guttural utterances that reverberate through the mist hovering over its valley. White returns to the world – trees, clouds, yesterday’s tracks – they all pop forth from the grey.
Then the sky changes again. Pink hues are replaced by cobalt. Jet tailings brighten against the blue. Behind you the fire pops and you step away from the door to bathe in a different form of light – a yellow glow that warms your toes. Eventually, you return to your mattress and curl up listening to the sound of the wood stove ping – like a party of mice swing-dancing on tin.
You daydream of deep snow, sunshine and smiles.