Sunday, December 05, 2004

Winter

It’s winter.

Not officially, not for two more weeks, but if it looks, feels, and smells like winter, it’s winter.
I don’t like winter. For that matter, I don’t like summer either when it’s hot, humid and buggy.
Give me perpetual spring and fall.

I look at winter as just one more thing to put up with in order to live here. I like Canada and I even like Quebec, infuriating as the politics may be at times.
The cost of living is reasonable compared to Toronto and Vancouver.
Montreal is still a major city although it lost its title as largest Canadian city to Toronto some time in the 1970s.
I’m still annoyed about that.

But back to winter.
I think winter is like giving birth.
You forget, from one time to the next.
Otherwise, nobody would have a sibling and nobody would live north of the 40th parallel.
(40th? Make that the 30th.)
If it weren’t for the holiday season, which if nothing else is a major distraction, people would probably feel like slitting their throats about now.
For years we escaped to Florida for the last two weeks of December, but I don’t miss that.
It wasn’t worth the trouble to me (traveling with two small children!) except for the part about seeing my father.
One year (1998) we came home to the famous ice storm.

Another year we had to turn back after a full day of driving because Mark came down with chicken pox.
Ah the joys of kids.

Other than the most dramatic, most of my winter memories are good ones – so good in fact that they’re probably winter fantasies, coloured more by my romantic nature than by reality.
Winter is fun for kids, of course, who don’t have to chisel ice off cars and battle traffic and idiot drivers who are clearly in denial.

The snow piled up higher in those days.
Or maybe I was shorter.
Or maybe the city blew the snow from the street onto the lawns instead of carting it away in trucks as they do now.

Even into my late teens, winter wasn’t so bad. It can be lovely on a college campus when big flakes fall in a windless night and are silhouetted like stars by the street lamps.
Unfortunately that only happens at most once a year.

Many adults rediscover winter when they have their own children.
I never did but luckily their father was into it, and took them sledding and hiking around the large parks in our area.
One of them (the parks) has a barn with a few farm animals and a greenhouse with (what else?) plants which gave them an opportunity to warm up.
It didn’t work for me because I’m allergic to animals (sigh) but after awhile I wasn’t required to go along on those expeditions, giving me some precious ALONE time.
Alone time is very important to hermits like me, although I tend to overdo it at times.
There’s a thin line between solitude and isolation.

One more thing before I wrap up today:
Check this out if you like tawdry government scandals. Those Brits sure know how to do it up right!


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