Nothing feels so cliche, I suppose, for someone in Canada to write about the winter. But hey, if you read the “authentically” Canadian authors, you see they do it all the time. Margaret Atwood, Robertson Davies, Alice Munro, somewhere or other you can find a long description of all this snow and wind and how long it all lasts and how crazy it makes it you feel.
One of my favourite childhood readings were the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, and one of them was called The Long Long Winter. It described how the Ingalls family survived a seven-month winter snowed up in a small town with no extra supplies. They only had one small lamp, only ate bread made with flour they ground themselves out of seed wheat, and burned hay. And they only saw each other- the sudden deadly blizzards made it impossible for people to visit and socialize.
Well, we’re eating all sorts of stuff, we have central heating, and I’m not holed up in a two-room house with my parents and siblings for seven months (can you imagine? How did they not murder each other?) and yet, listening to the wind howl and watching snowflakes catch the light and glimmer across my window, I felt I was Laura Ingalls trapped inside the seven-month winter. It’s March! March! Stop it! I need some sunshine- and not the freezing crazy sort of sunshine we get every other day here, the kind which screws your eyes out while icing up your brain, but real, warm sunshine. Sunshine is supposed to be warm!
Dear fate, dear God. Please don’t send me to Manitoba or Regina or Saskatoon, one of those places where people proudly tell me is minus thirty degrees for nine months or something. Halifax has “soft”, “mild” winters, tempered by the ocean. I shouldn’t be complaining. But oh, the sound of that wind is making my soul die.