Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Go Home Winter. You're Drunk.

I rarely use material in this blog that I have written for other outlets as it always feels like "cheating", but this morning on the last day of March when I woke up and looked at the temperature outdoors I realized this is every bit as relevant as when I published it in Connect Weekly some time ago. Let's hope April arrives with spring in her Easter basket, shall we?

I am in fact just ready for it to be over. It is astonishing how the excitement I felt in the fall over the first gentle snowflakes has now become a dread of looking outdoors and seeing fresh snow on the driveway. What once filled me with wonder now fills me with a sense of impending doom as I head out to shovel, again, and clean off the car, again. Winter, it seems, will just never, ever end.

 I think it is perhaps the hallmark of being a western Canadian that we have this love/hate relationship with winter. Nobody feels this way about any other season. Summer is glorious and I have never heard anyone wish the long days and sunny skies would just be over already. Fall is the time of crisp autumn leaves and spring is the time when green shoots and buds begin to appear, and no one begrudges those seasons. But winter, oh winter, how it seems to have gone on forever when March finally rolls around, and how burdened we seem by our heavy coats and mittens and toques.

Those first snowflakes often fill us with glee, having us running to our sheds to grab toboggans and get our skis and skates in order. The charm lasts for awhile, too, with most of us relishing the bright lights of the holidays contrasted against the fresh white snow – but as the weeks and months wear on the charm begins to fade, like a house guest who stayed too long, drank too much wine and now refuses to take a hint.
Go home, winter. You’re drunk – or so we think to ourselves, a season drunk on its own power and longevity and ability to drive us insane with the unpredictability of the season. We have had enough of this houseguest and we are ready to fluff up the pillows and welcome a new one, a guest who comes with a gentler personality and a promise of an even warmer guest to follow. But winter, well, it just isn’t always ready to leave.

We watch the temperature like hawks, seeing every increase in the digits give rise to our spirits while any dip, no matter how temporary, feels like a curtain of doom falling across our hopes. We watch the skies for patches of blue and for glimpses of sun, hoping against hope that this will be the day when it finally breaks and winter decides to begin to retreat, exiting quietly stage left while spring arrives stage right.
How fickle we are, really, the same ones who welcomed the season with excitement now anxiously waiting for it to depart so we can slam the door and turn all the locks, preventing its return. But so it is our nature, and so it has always been.

Spring is coming, and while we know it is inevitable we cannot help but sigh and moan about the slow departure of that “other season”, the guest we once invited in but now are giving the bum’s rush out the door in favour of a new arrival. And, when spring arrives and winter has faded we will not miss it, will not likely reminisce on how wonderful it was and how we wish it would come back…until the fall, when once again we watch the skies for the signs of the first snowflake drifting down gently, landing on our nose perhaps and making us smile.

Go home winter. You’re drunk. Go home and sober up and give us a little break and then come back again next fall, when we have forgotten your trials and tribulations and are ready to welcome you back once again. It was lovely having you as a guest, and we know you will return – but we are ready now for your departure and a new season filled with opportunities and promise.


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