It’s funny saying that, having grown up in Canada with my share of Canadian winters. Having now lived in Austin for over 20 years, it always amazes me what now constitutes “chilly”. The natives here tell me that your blood thins out when you live here a while. I don’t know if my blood is any thinner, but I know my feet get cold faster than ever.
A Canadian winter is something I will never forget. Winters in Eastern Ontario are a far cry from those experienced in Lotusland (aka Vancouver, British Columbia – otherwise known as Hollywood North). Living along the St. Lawrence River, you are just a stone’s throw from the snow belt – when a trip due south in perfectly clear conditions becomes a white out in a heartbeat.
Winter sounds enchanting, doesn’t it? You can go downhill skiing, or cross country skiing, or snowboarding, or sledding, or ice skating, or go curling or even play some hockey. It always sounds delightful - until you are faced with its icy grip for, oh, about 6 or 7 solid months, if not longer.
At first glance, the snow and cold is a bit of a treat. It’s a nice seasonal change. But once college football season is officially over and the Vanier Cup is history, you know you are in for a long hard winter ahead.
I have had winter days when I have gone to work having just barely watched the sun come up, then finishing up for the day with the sun already well on it’s way to sunset. You have to go outside at lunchtime to acknowledge that the sun does actually exist. You might even end up experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder. Believe me, there is a reason why the abbreviation is SAD – but I digress.
There is also a reason why animals hibernate during the winter, trust me. Blanket, television (Hockey Night In Canada, perhaps?), and hot chocolate – repeat. An extra layer of fat becomes valuable when the temperatures are hovering around –30 or so.
You get to a certain point, sometime around February, when you know without hesitancy that you are now well and truly in over your head – pun intended. Snow shoveling is the Canadian gift that keeps on giving. You awaken to snow drifts halfway up your front door. You struggle to push the snow aside so you can trudge out to try and dig out your car, clear out some snow so that you can get onto the street, and drive off to work. But just when you thought you’d expended enough calories for the week in doing so, you return home to discover that all the city snowplows have finally been out, and your driveway has now been plowed back in! So you then pull the car over and start shoveling again so that you can get the car back in for the night.
Great fun, isn’t it? Oh, those lovely thoughts of home.
Maybe I have softened a little with my years in Texas. Maybe my blood has thinned with the years away from the harsh Canadian winters. But I will gladly take a couple of months of 100+ degrees in the summer so that I don’t have to shovel another ounce of that white stuff.
Freezing temperatures expected again tonight? Oh my. Time to pull out the hot chocolate. Chilly, indeed.
Photo credits: jazonz