Let it snow, let it snow, let it…STOP ALREADY!

I am Canadian.  I was born in York (now renamed Toronto), Ontario, Canada.  I have lived in Canada all my life.  Culturally speaking, I am a cross-breed.  Heritage-wise, my upbringing was full on “small village” Croatian.  This encompassed types of food eaten to language spoken in the childhood home; all pure village-Croatian.  There are however, very strong parts of my upbringing that are 100% Canadian and shall always remain as such.  The one major part is what most people think when they hear about Canada or think about Canada:  snow.

Snow…that wonderful white blanket that covers the green grass.  Those little flakes that fall from the sky gently and quietly.  You might hear a whisper of snow as it lands upon your puffy coat.  Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes”, as song by Maria VonTrapp (a.k.a. Julie Andrews) in The Sound of Music.  As children we were disappointed if we didn’t have a white Christmas.  I recall actually being at midnight mass and praying for snow.  Imagine my elation when I, prayers granted, left church to see the ground covered in 2 inches of snow and more falling down.  Yay!  Snow!  That wonderful, magical, wintery, fairy dust from the sky.  Well, not so much anymore.  Why?  I am now the designated shoveler of said wonderful fluffy stuff.  Happy?  Heck no!

Snow is one of those interesting things that people yearn for if they are excited tobogganers or avid skiers.  If you are the “driving-around-town” type, then snow becomes a disaster.  There are those who do not recall how to drive in snow, making it a precarious game of pass or fail:  pass the crazy driver who seems to keep fish-tailing, or fail and get hit by said crazy driver.  Ahhhhh…snow.

I bring you back now to the snow-filled back and front yards of my youth.  We had, what was called “packing snow”.  This snow had some wetness to it.  This was vital for creating the most formidable fortresses to hide in.  This fortress was also the place where you stored the snowballs you made with this same mouldable snow.

Snowmen?  Pshaw….best around!  You might need three people to roll the snow in order to make large boulders, but it was worth it!  That three-ball tiered snowman was a work of art!

Snow angels were also on the play menu.  You dropped down in the snow on your back and waved your arms up and down like a bird, and moved your legs out and in.  Once completed, you could stand up and leave behind a beautiful “angel” in the snow.  Yes, the miracles created by using the white, fluffy stuff.

The hardest part of childhood winters was the dress up.  Most of us did not have snow pants so we had two pairs of pants that were tucked into snow boots.  Your coat had a hood with a drawstring that was tied tightly under your neck.  The pièce de résistance  was the scarf.

IMG_2651That magical impediment to play freedom.  That scarf started around your neck, covered your chin and nose (which led to frost forming on the scarf when you breathed).  Then, it was wrapped around your forehead leaving your eyes open.  No peripheral vision and your hood usually slipped down making the scarf slip down so you usually walked with your head up high as your eyeballs tried to focus on what you were working on.  I do recall waddling into the backyard and slipping INTO the snow.  Yes, my body was submerged, but my scarfed-face was breathing air.  My siblings did not rescue me.  I was trapped…immovable (to their delight).  Ahh…the good ol’ days.  Then suddenly, it all changed.

Childhood is full of so many things that are fun and then we become adults and we are no longer permitted to enjoy the trivialities of life.  Ponder this…jumping into a pile a leaves in the fall.  Not fun when you are an adult because you are the one raking the leaves, not jumping into them.  Snow?  Again, if you are a skier then snow is great, but if you are not, then snow becomes something that needs to be removed.  It is work.  It is sweat.  It’s not fun.

Lately, our Canadian winters have been a bit off-kilter.  They have been cold (-20 degrees celsius) or super cold (-45 degrees celsius) and not as much snow.  Initially I was happy to hear that.  Three years ago all I did was shovel the stuff.  I started feeling bad for little children because they would not be able to build snowmen or make snow angels.  Please understand, I was NOT wishing for snow and yet…well…it seems like this new torrential snow onslaught is kind of my fault.

I love children and want them to be able to enjoy the same things I revelled in as a child.  These days it seems that children have to be supervised 24/7 which gives them no time for freedom of exploration like we had.  I recalled one day in seventh grade when I became friends with a new student from Florida.  I recalled how thrilled he was when he saw snow.  He had heard about it, seen pictures of it, but couldn’t imagine ever feeling it.  His leaned his head back, stuck out his tongue, and waited for the flakes so that he could taste it and feel it.  His exuberance led to a snowball fight (which I started so that he could get the full effect of the snowstorm).  I guess that passion for life is what made me think about children and their lack of our Canadian birthright to snow.

So…I apologize.  My “let it snow, let it snow, let it snow” wish, which is usually reserved for Christmas, became my wish for Canadian children.  I hope that schools are closed tomorrow so that kiddies can play with vim and vigor!  I hope that I see snowmen all up and down my street and other neighbouring streets.  I hope I get to hear the squeals of laughter and joy as they make snowballs and snow angels.

However, if I do not hear peels of laughter, then my “let it snow, let it snow, let it…” will become “STOP ALREADY!”


P.S. For some added fun, please read one of my favourite December-time reads.  It is about a newcomer to Canada and their supreme desire to see and revel in the joys of snow.  Diary of a Snow Shoveler.  

P.P.S.  Heading back out now…4 more inches have fallen…STOP ALREADY!!!


The sun’ll come out…tomorrow???

I think I am finally over that horrendous sinus-stuffed / bruised-rib coughing / voice-losing bout.  I believe I am on the mend after four tortuous weeks of headaches and hearing loss.  I am alive and I am (almost) well.  I believe there was one main ingredient that I had been lacking and I also believe that this crucial element to my normal daily routine is what made this illness continue to haunt me.  It made my usual chipper self, quite miserable on a daily basis and I could not release myself from this funk.  I have been ill before (though not quite this like this) and I have managed to fib myself to wellness.  “I am not sick.  I’m not sick.  I am well.  I feel fine.”  This little mantra could always get me back to my happy, smiling self.  What was missing?

It appears that my good ol’ friend, the sun, decided to go away on vacation for awhile.  Had not been seen in weeks.  Why would this matter?  Well, I recall reading about SAD people.  No, not sad people, but SAD people; those affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder.  It seems that if we do not get our daily dose of those beautiful rays our serotonin (mood balancer) levels drop.  With the lack of Vitamin D that we get from the sun, our moods change and we end up in a sleep slump that could lead to depression.  So, while good ol’ fireball went into vacation mode, the rest of us trudged daily through our lives.  Our sloppy, squishy, rain-soaked lives.

So, here was I was thinking I was not getting enough sleep and that this was the cause of my awful, cranky mood.  True, I wasn’t sleeping well on those mega-cough nights, but then I’d make up for it with an almost coma-like sleep the next night.  Yes, my ears were plugging and unplugging, which was annoying, but I had really never been that irritable before.  After week three, and more rain in our forecast, it hit me.  I had not seen the sun in many, many, many days.  Living in Canada we are used to lots of snowstorms at this time of year which is accompanied by bright sunlight that bounces off the newly fallen snow and blinds you from time to time.  Here we are in January (one of our usually worse winter months) and no snow.  No flakes falling.  Nothing to shovel.  I was grateful for not having to perform that miserable task and yet, the daily rain forecast made me even more crestfallen.  What was a girl to do?

I did what everyone else around me seemed to be doing…skulking.  I would go shopping to get groceries and people were wearing their best scowling faces.  Cashiers would ramp up the: “Hi how are you?” when starting to process your order, and would then turn off the bling smile until the obligatory: “Have a nice day.”  Yeah, even smiling was becoming a chore.  What is the point of warmer weather if you are constantly walking through a downpour or even worse, the ever present drizzle of rain.  It was like wandering through a rain forest without the actual accompanying heat.  Not fair!  When was this going to end?

Update.  Weather forecast.  Cold.  Colder than the weather we had been having.  Hmmm, what was this?  Snow?  SNOW!  That meant NO MORE RAIN!  What else did that mean (besides shovelling)?   You guessed it. Look who came back!  I missed you!  We all missed you!  Gorgeous!  Absolutely fabulous!


So what did I do?  I looked right up at that beautiful burning ball in the sky (and promptly blinded myself for several seconds. Meh…it was worth it)!

I am no longer SAD…yes, I think I did catch a quick spell of it.  It is amazing how this glorious Vitamin D provider can, literally, affect one’s mood.  This morning I was happy as a lark, singing as I went outside into the cold air to view my good friend above.  Thanks for coming back. You really were missed.

I would like to take a wee bit of time to review the lyrics to “Tomorrow” from Annie.

“The sun’ll come out / Tomorrow / Bet your bottom dollar / That tomorrow / There’ll be sun!”

My dear Annie, it was a few week’s worth of tomorrows, but the sun finally DID come out!  Hallelujah cause now I’m “Walking on sunshine / Ain’t don’t it feel good!”  (Shout out to the ’80s crowd!)