These last few weeks have been a glorious ending to summer, warm, sun-kissed days that we never really wanted to end while at the same time we knew deep in our sad little hearts that the warmth would eventually leave us and in its wake would the frigid cold of a Canadian Winter.
They are calling for a winter that is harsher than any we’ve had in recent years. As a small child I can remember winters with snow piled high, a biting cold that accompanied us on outings such as skating on the Grenadier Pond, sledding down Centennial Hill and just hanging in the neighbourhood with the other kids, playing road hockey or building snow forts at the park.
But then all of that ended, snowfall became more random and any snow that actually lasted for any length of time was never very good for building a fort, let alone a good snow ball fight.
My own kids have never really enjoyed the fun of sledding here in Toronto. Skating on Grenadier Pond has been impossible, since it’s never cold enough for long enough to allow the ice to become thick enough to support our weight.
Now that my kids are basically adults, we are suddenly getting a return to winter. They are predicting a long, cold winter this year, and it’s supposed to come earlier than normal.
But these past few weeks have been a gift. Warmer than seasonal temperatures have left the trees lush and full of brilliant green foliage. Warm nights have kept the emergence of glorious colours of fall at bay. Warm days and chilly nights are what is needed for the golds and reds of autumn. I look out my window and it’s a sea of green that meets my eye. But for how long?
This morning I got up and took the dogs outside, I stood on my deck in my bare feet, looking up into the mist shrouded moon, while I wrapped my arms around me to ward off the chill in the air. I was taken aback by the chill. It was unexpected, since the past few weeks have been so pleasant, I was not ready for that drastic change.
Now, I’m not saying that I stepped outside and my bones were suddenly rattling from the cold. I wasn’t shivering and damning myself for stepping outside bare footed and short-sleeved, but it was enough that the next time I went into the back yard I did pull on a sweater and put on footwear to keep myself for feeling even a bit of discomfort from the briskness of the air. There’s a wind blowing today, it brought the colder temperatures with it. I usually enjoy a brisk breeze, I like watching the trees dance in the wind. Listening to the wind rustle the cedars is a very soothing sound for me. But today I didn’t enjoy any of it. It only served as a reminder to me, much like the rapidly shortening days and lengthening nights that whether I like it or not, winter is coming. Snow, blizzards, blisteringly cold winds and dark days and nights are going to be our companions for the next few months.
Hibernation is my normal way of avoiding the depression of the winter months, but in the past years, since winter has returned to us and chased away this pathetic non-winter that Torontonians have been living with for so many decades, I have not been hiding in my house, under the blankets with my nose buried in a book.
Instead I have come to the realization that you can’t hide from winter. It’s a natural part of life here in Canada. Embrace it. Live with it, enjoy it. It’s not going anywhere, so you might as well look for the fun in winter. You can’t hide from it, so you might as well enjoy it.
And the first thing that I’ll be enjoying about this colder weather, hot chocolate. It’s that time again. There are certain things that I just can’t enjoy in the hot, humid days of summer and that is stews, soups, hot chocolate and that’s just a few of the food stuff that in my brain is forbidden to consume during the summer months.
Snow ball fights. Sledding. Skating. These are all winter activities that will make passing the winter months more fun.
I know it’s only fall now, but in my experience fall is a hiccup in Canada. It lasts for such a brief period of time and then we’re gripped in the clutches of winter. Autumn is like that poem, it’s golden and it’s the hardest hue for nature to hold. It’s here for a second, and it will be cherished while it’s here, for autumn is one of my two favorite seasons, spring being the other. So I’ll enjoy it while it lasts, but being a realist, I just don’t expect it to be here for too long.
And I’m ok with that.