I love winter. No, seriously.
It already snowed here, twice.
No, I’m not kidding.
In Alberta, I have learned (the hard way) that you have to have your snow suits ready come September. As we hit the road for Ontario this September, indeed, that fluffy white stuff began to fall right along with us. We stifled our groans as we drove onwards to Montana, and we hoped warmer weather. Indeed, in Ontario we found fall. The magical red, yellow and orange leaves in their glory. The piles and piles of leaves that are enough to launch yourself into with a hearty crackle.
In the mountains, it’s a little different. The few deciduous trees we do have, turn a stark yellow, and then the week later they are bare. Don’t blink – you might miss that week of fall. Soon thereafter, the evenings get down into freezing and we’re launched fully into winter. All of our Halloween costumes fit over snow suits. Mr J’s second Halloween saw 3′ drifts of snow on my street.
Now, don’t get me wrong here though – I love winter.
I can narrow down the why on why I love this season too. It all traces back to one evening.
The only light left was coming from the glowing kitchen windows. It was enough to be able to see the edges but not much more. It was dark. But I wasn’t scared, and I wasn’t alone. A few deep breaths, and I filled my lungs with the frigid, clean, fresh air. I could hear the glide of my skates as they hit the ice surface with a snap. Not always a perfect glide as the surface isn’t always flat. Imperfections litter it – little bumps, branches and leaves that have gotten crystallized into the surface. Round, round and turn – into a flawless figure eight. I keep repeating it over and over, following my Dad as we laughed and giggled right before the next flood. Of course, the arena operators – well, they are us too. After we are tired and out of breath, we get out the hose to flood our little piece of ice in the backyard.
We hosted tournaments against our cousins, we hosted neighbourhood shinny, we invited all of our friends to come over and skate with us. You know what else? They did. We have pictures of all of friends and family enjoying our rink year after year.
This is the backyard, grass-roots level path that has lead me to my love of winter. Although my mom will tell you all about how outrageous her water bill was, we created a community place – a place for kids to gather. A place to recreate quietly (or loudly).
We enjoyed a lot of other winter pursuits as a family too. My mom decided one year that she wanted to take up downhill skiing. She didn’t know how, and neither did any of us. She implemented girl’s skiing night on Saturdays. Simply grabbed a bunch of used gear for us to try, and we took lessons on the hill. (I say grabbed gear like it was easy, but as you know getting gear for 2 growing girls & a mom is anything but!) This remains a fond memory to all of us to this day.
You can imagine my mind is already alive with the possibilities of cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, backyard and lake skating and sledding to keep my family active this winter. Who knows what this grassroot family winter activities might build….