Winter

Despite my birth name of Winter and although I have lived for more than fifty years in Canada, I have never been a big fan of the season. I was reminded of my dislike when I turned the page on my calendar to November and the next day read a personal essay in The Globe and Mail about the joys of winter. Bah humbug!

I have avoided winter for the last 8 years by escaping to the Southern Hemisphere from October to April. I have experienced the odd cold miserable day both here and there because seasons don’t always come and go as they should. A couple of years ago, I stared in disbelief at sleet and snow swirling outside my condo window. It was meant to be spring.

Initially in Canada, my attitude was more positive. I was delighted by the flowers of summer, the colours of fall and the first snow of winter. We were instructed to outfit the kids with snowsuits, hats and mitts and I bought a jacket with a fleece lined hood. I have photos of us playing in the snow outside our rented house. AS the kids grew, they learned to skate like real Canadians although they didn’t take up hockey. We bought cross country skiis and ventured onto nearby golf courses. At times, we bribed the kids to continue on an outing with chocolate and trail mix. I was always amazed by how heated my body became while skiing. It certainly got the blood moving even when it was really cold.

New Zealand does get cool in the winter but where we lived it never became as cold as Canada. My neighbours complained if the daytime temperatures didn’t rise above 12 degrees. And we had overnight frosts that covered the puddles with a thin skin of ice which disappeared when the sun shone. Mostly what happened in the winter was rain not snow. A windy and wet three day southerly could be plain miserable but at least houses nowadays have better heating systems than they did when I was young. Open fires then warmed the living rooms but left the bedrooms feeling like refrigerators.

Because of health problems, I will stay in Canada at least until December and maybe longer into the winter. I am already complaining about the cold and searching out warm clothes. Goodness knows how I will react when the outside temperatures plunge well below zero. Maybe I will hibernate in my bed with a couple of hot water bottles and my heating pad. .