Wednesday, February 2, 2011

S-no Day

I always knew that one of my favourite things about living in Alberta was the existence of seasons. With few exceptions, you could look outside your window and know what time of year the world looking back at you was experiencing.

When I decided to move to Toronto, many many many people regaled me with stories of the frigid, painful winters I had in store for me. If I could remember exactly who those people were, I would ask if they had ever in fact actually experienced frigid or painful in association with winter before. I know not to take people's word for things...but they got me. I feared Toronto winters. Turns out, that was like fearing that there was a gangly garish clown lying in wait for me under my bed after seeing Poltergeist as a child. Pure fiction.

The news here has been touting the arrival of "the storm of the Century" today. The Toronto School Board declared a snow day because it is just so very...I couldn't even tell you. White? That's all I can think of - because it certainly isn't that windy, the falling snow is big and fluffy, and the temperature was absolutely not low enough to prevent me from stepping out in my bare feet and pajamas to leave a joyous handprint in the snow on top of a storage container on my balcony this morning.

I was at the University of Alberta for the only day in its history (at least at the time ... I don't know what has happened since) that it closed due to inclement winter weather. Gangs of students who lived in the residences would cluster at the exit doors awaiting great enough numbers to venture out against the wind and the driving snow, in hopes that a large enough human mass would get us through to our classes. In class, we would discretely point to one another's faces, because while our nose contents had thawed, our faces actually hadn't -- so we couldn't feel the puddle of mucus that had subsequently collected above our upper lips unbeknownst to us. Invariably, our classes were cancelled because either not enough students had fought their way onto campus, or the professors couldn't. The solitary trek back to the safety and warmth of our residence towers was harrowing once we no longer had the strength of numbers we had enjoyed when we set out that morning. Cresting snow drifts twice our heights that we had only managed to successfully climb by dropping on all fours, the gray site of Lister Hall in the distance spurred us forward, holding its promise of shelter and hot chocolate.

That was a snow day. (... and if it had been my father's story, fighting off rattlesnakes on the journey would have figured prominently in the memory ...) Being able to stand in bare feet on a balcony is just a lovely morning.

(I really don't want to be one of those people who move somewhere new and constantly complain that where they came from was so much better ... but good golly does Toronto make it so very hard sometimes)

p.s. Nothing new to report re: plants. Still alive. Still thriving. Whoo. Hoo.

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