Snowbound Heroes

marcmywords #2

Heroes on skis.

I’ll be in Norway cross-country skiing this weekend. In honour of which, here are some real life heroes on cross-country skis:

Read all about the Battle of Raate Road on this Twitter thread:

WW2 Tweets from 1940@RealTimeWWII

Finnish ski troops are raiding Red Army on the Raate road, in eastern Finland: they strike quickly from darkness, killing 100s of Soviets with submachine guns, grenades, & knives.

December 22, 2017


The Finnish insurgents lost 400 men, but killed some 14,000 Soviets.

Love on ice.

Continuing the snowy mood, and providing an excellent corrective to Valentine’s Day schmaltz, there’s nothing soppy about Habitation by Margaret Atwood. It’s a spare, compressed poem that nevertheless gives mythic scale to the heroic struggle of married love. And offers a bit more snowy imagery for good measure.


Marriage is not
a house or even a tent

it is before that, and colder:


My alter ego Marc Freeman’s fast fiction spy thriller Geneva Bound features a biathlon race where the stakes are life or death.


“Don’t play games,” muttered Natasha. She dropped a ski pole and bent to pick it up. “Drop your glove. Do it now.”

Why can’t they start the bloody race?

She met Nat’s eyes. They looked sincere.

Alex threw her glove down like a challenge, and knelt after it.

Their heads came close together.

“You drugged me,” said Alex. “What did you—”

“You give it to me now,” said Natasha. “Or they will kill you.”

“Are you nuts?” Alex reached for her glove.

Natasha slammed her hand on top, forcing Alex’s palm into the snow. The cold began sinking its claws into her bare fingers.

“It is not in your room. You must have known we would search when you left. You made no dead drops, no brush passes. Your handlers are all far away. So, you must think it is safe on you. They will take it.”

Natasha stood, and wiped the snow off her ski pole.

Alex rose after her, massaging her throbbing fingers and forcing them back into her glove.

“No? Well, I tried.” Natasha smiled. “It’s your funeral, Dominion.” 

Alex gripped the handles of her poles. “Let’s see who wins.”

Winter Olympic inspiration: Lowell Bailey.


Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

Never read the book of the week.


The ghostly winter silence had given way to the great spring murmur of awakening life.

And to play you out…

That’s all the words I have for now.

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