The cold, the dark, the endless snow: this is what winter is all about for us adults. Frost is a nuisance we scrape furiously from car windshields as we run late for work. Billows of crystals from car exhaust obscure our vision at times as we try to drive through the ruts of ice on the roads. Then there's the inevitable dead car battery that has to be jump-started. No wonder millions head to warmer countries and spend thousands each winter just to get away.
Not so for children. Snow is just fluffy stuff to them, perfect for building forts or snowmen. Icy sidewalks on slopes are great fun to slide down. Watching their breath rise in the cold winter air is an enjoyable game, as is pretending to be a fire-breathing dragon. Watching snow fall through the beam of a street light becomes a journey through the stars.
In my Deliverance from Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) memoir, I wrote many vignettes about how I loved playing in the snow. Being from Alberta, what little snowfall Vancouver received reminded me of home. Much to my supervisor's dismay, my dorm mates and I frolicked in it while adult motorists cursed.
When I was home for Christmas, I usually enjoyed being out in sub-zero weather. Of course it wasn't fun when I froze my feet, as I did while exploring the creek by my home one afternoon. Apart from that, I felt proud to be an Albertan and being able to brave what others thought of as impossibly cold weather.
I'm no fan of winter these days. I hate having to dress like an Arctic explorer so I can take out the garbage. Shovelling snow may be good exercise but it gets old fast. By march, I'm tempted to leave the snow where it lies and let spring take care of it.
How I long for the warm sweet-scented breezes of May and the lazy afternoon heat of July. I miss the birdsong I hear coming through opened windows, magpies not withstanding of course. I long for the fresh scent of the air after a thunder storm. Waking to brilliant sunlight and retiring to bed as the sun sets is one of many fond memories I cling to during these long winter nights.