Although I dream about a winter wonderland, I kind of dread winter. Gosh I wanted to love it. I was raised in Vancouver and I didn’t hate winter when I lived there. I remember the rain and how grey it was, but I didn’t care. I loved the rain, the moisture, and how you could do just about anything year-round. Actually, Vancouver doesn’t really have winter – it’s just a really, really long fall-spring season.
But Calgary has winter. Bone-chilling, skin freezing, frostbiting, frozen nostrils, static-electric hair winter. When I first moved to Calgary, winter played a trick on me. Summer was hot and long, there was no rain and fall was warm and extended almost to Christmas. Then suddenly it went from +15°C to –30° overnight. There is nothing to describe the pain of skin exposed to extreme cold and windy air. The land dries up and is brown, grey and white, devoid of any colour. When the snow flies, the horizon often disappears and the white sky and ground blend into one.
People tell you to dress for the weather and to take up winter sports and you will learn to love the winter. I learned to love my fireplace! I tried skating, skiing, and hiking, but in the cold of winter, it was just plain painful. I applaud those who embrace winter and I often think about the early settlers, or those less fortunate who must brave the elements to survive. Obviously, I’m a wimp – a west coast wimp. I start to get butterflies in my stomach at the end of September, worrying about the first snowfall. I hate driving in winter, but I must.
As much as I say I dread winter, I actually get a lot done in the cold, dark season. I write, I paint, and amazingly I still walk my dog… and luckily, I often get to make the first imprints on a snowy path, when the sun is shining and the sky is bright blue. I also log hundreds of hours on my treadmill. I read books, explore the arts scene, and enjoy the exceptional dining choices that Calgary offers.
Calgary is hopping in winter. Nothing slows down and I’m always impressed by the fortitude of those living in the “Wild West”. But like I said, I’m a wimp. Now that I’m older, warm southern locales call my name in February: Florida, Mexico, Arizona, France – and our favourite paradise, Maui. Although I wimped out on embracing the cold northern climate, it inspired me to take an annual vacation in warm locations. Now I look forward to winter. Sometimes, all it takes is a different point of view to find your Winter Wonderland.www.teresamccallumauthor.com