Unless you’ve been hibernating, you’d know that Canada and the United States have been hit by the polar vortex this Winter, turning the entire area into Winterfell.
This April 2014, we’re coming up to six months of snow.
Six months of snow.
Every time an Australian friend proclaims how lovely that would be, I get the feeling they’re thinking of snowboarding for six months straight, with clear days and fresh powder. Not tramping through 5 feet of snow to get anywhere, packed with carefully hidden layers of ice to land you on your backside.
And they’re thinking of après ski beverages, wearing trendy Burton gear, sitting in a bar with a roaring fire. Not dragging 20 kilos of groceries through dirty snow with dampy, white stains growing up to your knees on your Walmart tracksuit pants. Tracksuit pants which are layered on top of more tracksuit pants, and leggings, and socks, and boots.
They’re also imagining minus 10, maximum. Not minus bloody thirty five – or minus 50-60 if you’re in Saskatoon, Winnipeg or Alberta. And they’re imagining coming home to hot baths, not coming home to an iced over drive way which you have to shovel off and cut ice away from, giving you crippling lower back pain.
And in their minds, they have heat, lights, and internet. Not entire cities that shuts down during an icestorm.
Yep, that’s the reality of winter here!
For approximately 5.5 months of this Winter, I’ve pranced about like Olaf from Frozen declaring my love of all things snow, and cold, and declaring how fabulous winter is. In response, North Nomad has taken particular delight in sharing LOTR memes about “Second Winter” with me whenever I jubilantly mention Spring.
I did expect it to have warmed up a bit by the end of March, so I’ve been a little less excited about Winter in the past couple of weeks.
But I just try and remember how beautiful Lake Ontario is in Winter, and the things I do love about this season in this part of the world.
Like the time we had the huge ice storm, and to my astonishment, every tree in Toronto was covered in beautiful icicles. North Nomad laughed at me when I said everything looked like Christmas decorations. Apparently, this is what real winter looks like!
And how cute the little kids look in their winter gear, like little star fishes with their limbs sticking out at angles. And how cute they are ice skating in the many free skating rinks around. And how much better at ice-skating toddlers are than me.
Lake Ontario freezes during the cold(er) temperatures, and a huge layer of snow settles on top, making it look like a cream cake frosting with a dusting of icing sugar. And when it gets warmer, the snow melts, and the ice cracks in cool, geometric patterns, looking like a Picasso creation.
For some reason, most of the birds didn’t fly south this year, so I had all of the wild life that keeps me entertained on my walks still around. Then there’s the fish in Lake Ontario – the extreme cold has been hugely beneficial to the health of the fish population, which is expected to flourish this year. And the ice wine industry popular in the Niagara-on-the-Lake region has boomed with the extended winter season.
So there is a lot to love about your average day in Winter here in Canada.
Sometimes, we just wish it was a bit shorter.
You can connect with South Nomad, Jessica over at Google.