The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

04 January 2015

It snows

I have, in life, lived Far East, and Far West (Canada-wise, that is) and Far North (in civilized Ontario, that is). In each of those extremes, winter is an event that lingers long and tramples hard. I have experienced the need to use a window to leave the house. I have seen deep snow in April, lingering hillocks in May, and unexpected flurries in September. I have walked to school through drifts knee deep. I have, like Legolas trod above the field of snow, held up by the skin of ice - only to crash through unexpectedly, losing my boot as I struggled to pull it from the avaricious grasp of the sharp hole. I was drilled to pull the sodden lining from my boots, tipping them upside down over the hot air vent to dry overnight, damp, limp gloves turned inside out, and hats draped over the wash tub to drip into the drain for the next day's fresh abuse. We wore balaclavas, scarves wrapped twice or three times around, doubled our layers of shirts and sweaters, and snowsuits over it all.  Still the fine hairs in our nostrils would freeze together, and yet we played outdoors, speeding down hills on magic carpets, practicing on little plastic skis, building tall snowmen and towering forts, decorating the snow with angels and foot-flowers. Difficult, yes. Inconvenient, yes. But it was expected; it was winter in Canada.

And then it became enough. I flew from Winter to The South, to Sohoe where it is as gentle and mild as is possible to find in this True North Strong and Free country. Spring and Autumn here claim more of the calendar, and Winter is too mellow to possess claws. Snow may visit us, but seldom with great drama, and rarely lingers for long. To be sure, this is still Canada... we are not overrun with Spanish Moss and orange groves. You tender-skinned of the South would think it bitter cold here, while we who live here delight to read the weather reports of our kin in more northerly locales.

Months ago we learned that our Dutch Family would like to visit for Christmas as they wanted to experience a Truly Canadian Christmas. To them that meant cold and snow and hockey. We hoped and prayed to satisfy their expectations, though every forecast and prediction hinted at disappointment. And indeed, the forecasts and predictions were right. There was now and then a snowfall in the weeks leading up to the Great Feast, but nothing lingered. When the Dutch Family arrived the grass was green and the air so warm they could sit wrapped in nothing more seasonal than sweaters on the back patio. So much for tobogganing. So long skating on the neighbourhood rink. Farewell the snowball fight.

Home they went, disappointed. Surely the perception abroad of Canada being a vast land of snow-covered forests and unending tundra was naught but lore, a rumour to lure naïve travelers.

But what do you suppose happened on their return home?


Lead to this:

But which, before long, gave way to once more:


As it happens, the Dutch Family would have had a White Christmas if they had remained at home.
Today again in Sohoe... it snows.

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