I believe in winter. Real winter. A winter that arrives in November and lasts until April. A Canadian winter. I was born in the province of Saskatchewan, the heart of the Canadian prairies. It is a cold place. A place where the daily winter weather forecasts include updates of how fast your exposed skin will freeze. But all that doesn’t matter because I also believe in scarves, mittens, huge coats that make you feel like an elephant, toques, neck warmers, earmuffs, boots that won’t let your slip on the ice, and even snow pants that make it difficult to walk. All of these items are what children of the north wear in winter. I believe everyone should have the chance to experience the sights, sounds, tastes, smells and feel of winter.
As a child I remember waking up on a frosty morning, looking out the window and seeing a fresh blanket of white snow covering the entire property. I know this may sounds strange to you but one of the best times of the day is waiting for the bus to arrive in the morning. After you’ve been bundled up so much that you feel like a giant walking snowball, you are ready to face the frosty winter wonderland outdoors. Being about nine years old and maybe 3 ½ feet tall, walking from the front door to the bus stop at the end of the street could be a difficult task. If you’re careful and don’t weigh much, it is possible to walk on top of the two feet of snow, but if not, you’ll sink in and have to waddle your way to the street with the snow up to your waist. If you’re lucky, the snowplow has made it to your street and has cleared a path. When I say snowplow, I don’t mean the Tonka-size ones that you may have seen here in the south. I mean huge, powerful machines that take up almost the whole road and leave you with a mountain of snow in front of your driveway. This was one of the many things I looked forward to in the morning. It is amazing how entertaining a giant pile of fluffy, white snow can be to a group of kids. Not only can you climb to the top of the mountain and feel like the king of the world as you play with your friends, but it can also be used to make tunnels, igloos, and forts to protect you from the opposing team in a snowball fight, to make snow angels, and even a mini freezer to make your lunch juice boxes into a tasty frozen treat for later. That is if you remember where you hid them in the snow!
I believe that everyone should skate on an outdoor rink. In the winter, my parents would create our own personal skating rink, with lights, in our backyard. The biggest thrill however was skating on the world’s largest outdoor rink, the Rideau Canal. When we go to Canada for Christmas holidays, if it is cold enough, you will find my family playing pick-up hockey on the lake in front of my uncle’s home.
I believe that all kids and adults need to experience the thrill of snowshoeing, tobogganing, skating, cross country skiing, and snowboarding. From an early age, my parents would drive me every weekend for ski lessons to the Gatineau Hills. I also believe that everyone should have the chance to ride a snowmobile. When I was a child, we would borrow my grandpa’s snowmobiles and spend the day traveling in the woods on the perfectly groomed trails.
Yes, I believe in winter. The sight, sound, taste, smell, and feel of winter.
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