Friday, February 18, 2011

Things I love. (18)

Like all people who have been raised in the Canadian Prairies, I bear one love/hate sensation that returns every year for at least 5 months. Personally, this relationship is mostly defined by love.

I love snow.

I hate it when it first arrives, but it grows on me throughout the season - until it is, at this point, absolutely stunning. To the point that I forget what grass looks like until it finally breaks through its white prison cell in April or May. I love the way it sounds beneath your feet as you walk through a field of fresh sparkling crystals, and the way that it absorbs sound. The world becomes still, covered in a blanket, slumbering. Beautiful in its sleep.

I love the promise of snow-shoeing, and cross-country skiing, and skating, and sledding, and watching hockey, and walking around town the see the ice sculptures, and attending winter festivals, and drinking at an ice bar, and curling (and just watching curling with my grandmother), and making forts with my god children (please never let them age, for my sake). I love the memory of making piles of snowballs to throw that some unsuspecting victim - hiding the pile in my backyard for just the moment when I will unleash my terror on my neighbour or my mother.

When there is snow on the ground, there is a reason to be outside.


  1. Such great prairie images, Neal. You appear to be a real prairie boy at heart.
    I love to watch snow come down, especially big, fluffy flakes, which is all we get on the coast. I love how quiet the world is as the snow falls. And I love when it lasts on the ground no longer than a day or so. That's plenty long enough for me.
    I grew up for many years in Dawson Creek, in northern BC, and I remember extremely cold weather and snow drifts as high as fourteen feet or more. Lots of fun as a kid, ski-dooing, building igloos, etc., but we thought spring would never come.
    Sure grateful I don't live there anymore.
    Thanks for sharing. Nicely done.

  2. Oh Rick! You need more snow in your life!

    Honestly, the greatest downfall to SFU as of now is the lack of snow. Perhaps that is being a little facetious, but it is at least partly true.

    We just had a light twinkling of snow tonight. As I was driving home I intentionally went down residential streets where few cars had yet compressed it and removed the shimmer. And the world looked as though it was covered in pixie dust - everywhere you looked you saw shine of your headlamps or the street lamps. It was so bright and beautiful. Icy, humid snow too - crystal like. Not really powdery, but much more beautiful than what we usually get. Almost as though hoarfrost had fallen from the sky rather than blown off of a tree.

    How can you possibly not miss snow when you were raised in a world where it defined your life for so many months of the year...?

  3. Honestly, Neal, snow has never defined my life. What defined my life was getting the hell away from it as soon as possible. It's pretty to look at, but I sure don't like to drive in it.
    The Lower Mainland gets as much snow as I'm interested in getting. We've had a few days of it this winter, and that's plenty. It never lasted.
    This weekend has been beautiful. The skies have been sunny and bright, and the temperature went up to about 10 degrees C. I was outside helping Chris carry our palm tree in a pot to the back deck, and I wore only a pair of jeans and a long-sleeved sheet. And still I was warm. I have a couple of windows open in the house. Can't wait for spring. Some trees are already out in bud. Early next month will be amazing around here.
    Wait until you're here, Neal. You'll see. I bet you're a west coast boy at heart.