Thursday, March 24, 2011

Re-thinking Winter ... and Spring

Ah Spring ... crocusses, daffodils, cherry trees, breezes that promise the warmth of summer.  The springs of my Okanagan childhood began in March with dreary, dirty roads and boulevards, waiting for the street cleaners and grass to erase the evidence of winter sandings.  Winters started in November, sometimes December.  I remember a couple of green Christmases in there, and maybe only one Halloween when early snows made trick or treating unpleasant (maybe there we 2).  I spent hours at the living room window just wishing it would snow sooner (be careful what you wish for, little girl).  But by March we were usually mostly done with the snow and looking forward to better weather.  By spring break we were out camping (okay, usually it was a tad nippy, but we were still out there and there was sun). 

But I no longer live in the Sunny Okanagan where 4 distinct (and equal) seasons greeted us each year.  I now live in Central Alberta - a very different geography and climate than the Okanagan Valley.  So I think I have to re-think my definition of Spring.  Spring is no longer these things.  Spring is looking out the window at winter, assembling my little indoor greenhouse and planting tomato seeds with the hope that one day that 3 feet of snow will be gone and I will be able to transfer them outside in 2 1/2 months.  Spring is worse driving than in most of winter.  It's longer days, but no reprieve from the white stuff.  Spring is escaping to warmer climates because you'll go absolutely insane if you don't.  Spring is being thankful that it is no longer -32C and it's only -2C. 

View our our dining room window this morning (March 24, 2011)

Winter, in my younger years, was a time to hibernate.  A time for life to slow, a time for Christmas and the Vernon Winter Carnival (which takes place in February and was often plagued by a lack of snow).  It was tobboganing, snowmen, playing in the back yard and dark nights.  I was never a skier and didn't participate in other outdoor activities in the winter.  Winter was an indoor time.  I think I have to re-think that.  I need to think of winter simply as a time to wear more clothes when out of doors.  I need to find an activity that I enjoy that gets me outside in the Winter.  Because right now I'm just longing for clear sidewalks so I can go for a walk once in a while.

And the view from the deck ...

Granted, this winter is worse than average.  I can't recall last year, so it must not have been bad at this time.  But I do know that in past years, the snowmobile event at the Reynolds Alberta Museum (in February) has had to scramble to collect snow, so winters can vary here, as they do everywhere.  But this winter has been bad.  It has been long, it has been cold, and (damn it) the drought is definitely over - lack of moisture will not be problem this year.

So, if we stay in Central Alberta, I have to get over winter.  Instead of hiding from it, I need to embrace it.  Enjoy the cold and snow.  Bring it on, Winter.  I'm going to love you instead of hating you!  (Wish me luck!)

4 comments:

  1. While I wish you could send some of that melting moisture our way (Austin is DRY right now), I don't envy you those piles of snow. I'm more lizard than polar bear, myself. Growing up in SW New York State was enough of winter for me (I remember going trick or treating through the snow and wearing my winter boots with my new Easter dress!)Sending warm thoughts your way!

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  2. Definitely a interminable long winter this year. I remember this time from last year (only because I wrote a St. Patty's blog about it)...and we were living in a 14 acre pothole of muck. Warmer temps ahead though, and no doubt when this huge amount of snow melts, it will be interesting. As always, I really enjoy reading your writings, Sandi. Hope to catch up soon & have a wonderful day.

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  3. I miss the mils southern BC winters, but not the Alberta winters. Here in Ontario, it is sorta in-between!
    Linda Meyette

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  4. This has been an especially long winter this year. My greatest defence is to not watch the weather report in Vancouver right now. Or buy Sunset magazine.

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