Now is the winter of our discontent
-Shakespeare, Richard III
Some folks ask what good summer is without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. Now I am all for variety, however a nice balance has always been my choice. In Canada there is no balance. We have two seasons: July and winter. This is why we are here. Although variety is also limited in the Caribbean with two seasons, at least the choice is nice: hot or not so hot.
Besides freezing various parts of one’s body, northern winters pose some interesting vehicular problems, like defrosting the car, scraping the windshield and staying on roads in blizzards without sliding into ditches. Ah, those were the days.
When the kids were growing up, although winter did pose a few risks, it does have a positive side. The whole world becomes a playground where a kid can wrestle or fly through the air and land in the soft snow, unless of course there is no snow and the ground is frozen.
One must dress for the cold. Getting kids ready for the great outdoors in winter went something like this:
First, line them up in the kitchen, look them sternly in the eyes and ask, “Does anyone have to go pee?”
Such is their eagerness to get out of the house and play that the answer to the question, asked several times, is invariably a negative one.
Next, find the clothes. Winter dress is a communal affair. There should be a good selection of snow pants, jackets, mittens, hats, scarves and boots, so that when something is missing, a spare might be available.
One of the body’s physiological responses to cold is a phenomenon called cold diuresis. I looked it up. Apparently this is the body’s response for self-preservation involving vasoconstriction. This is not useful information for someone from a southern clime but worth considering if a person will be moving to a cold climate with kids. Just saying.
It usually takes from one to five minutes for the warmth of the to house wear off and the freezing air to hit the face and lungs before at least one of the gang yells “I gotta go peeeeeee!” Then it’s back to the house, off with the snow pants, jacket, scarf, hat, mitts and boots. After the job is done, those aforementioned items have thawed and are now soggy. The decision is then
a) Is there a spare outfit? If not then
b) Do you put up with the crying when they can’t go back with their siblings? If not then
c) Put the soggy snow pants, jacket, scarf, hat, mitts and boots back on and deal with prying the kid out of that frozen block of stuff when they come back inside.
Of course, the best part of the fresh outdoors is the warm indoors when that frisky little gang gets the hot chocolate and cookies that mom lays out. They get the goodies, mom gets to hang up the jackets, snow pants, mitts…
I think that I miss the thought of winter more than winter itself.