I’ve whined and sniveled enough in this column about my detestation of the winter months here in good old Sas-katch-ee-wan. Then again, you don’t live on the Canadian Prairies for the number of years, (58), that I have and not find a way to cope or even kind of enjoy the winter conditions…given the proper activity, of course, and the proper clothing, too.
I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the total inconvenience of winter that I really can’t stand; not the actual weather, per se. Cold temperatures or stormy conditions can be somewhat enjoyable, too, if you’re in a cozy house with a warm fire, a hot beverage and a good hockey game or two to watch. However, that said, freezing one’s digits off while clamping the booster cables to the battery posts is a different story altogether.
Take the difference between July and January. On a typically July Saturday morning you get up and throw on a tee shirt, shorts and some flip-flops, hop on the bike or stroll on down to the post office for the mail and come back and sit on the patio reading the weekly paper while sipping on your coffee. Easy peasy.
On a typical January Saturday you get up and throw one, three or six layers of clothing on, put the touque on over your earmuffs, pull on the snow boots and mitts over your gloves, put up the parka hood and start to shovel your way to the car, all the while hoping you remembered to plug in the block heater the night before and pray that the stupid thing will even start, and, if it does, then you brush off the snow and scrape off the ice and shovel a path out of the driveway and hope that the snow removal crews have been out so you can get down the street crossing your fingers that you won’t slide through the intersection and hit something, or someone, and then when you get to the post office and get out of the car you’re hoping that you don’t slip and fall on the ice and break a hip or crack your noggin or some damn thing…see what I mean? By the time you get back home from getting the paper you’re too exhausted to read it, never mind pouring a coffee! Sheesh!
Then again, as stated earlier, given the right winter conditions and the proper cold weather clothing you can enjoy some winter activities like I just did over the past weekend. The weather was unseasonably mild for this time of year with less than the usual gale-force wind and the sun was shining so I threw on the snow shoes and tromped around the golf course for a little while.
The gale-force winds that we had been experiencing recently had sculpted the snow into odd looking drifts adding a rather surreal, otherworldly look to the landscape. The drifts had the look of whitecap waves on a lake that had been instantly frozen. The only sounds out there were the crunching of the snow shoes and the huffing of my breath. There’s nothing like a close touch with nature to help you feel alive.
Then, the next day Deb and I took our five-year-old grandson and three-year-old granddaughter out to the toboggan hill in their hometown of Wolseley and slid down the hill a number of times on the super-sliders. All of us. What a blast! Treyton and I even did a little skating on the outdoor rink that they have there, too. It’s at those particular moments when winter is most appreciated. Still inconvenient…but appreciated.
“Winter is not a season, it’s an occupation.”-Sinclair Lewis. (1885-1951).