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  • karenlowe4447

Fighting Siblings

La Niña's been active this past month, like she’s been fighting with her brother, el Niño. (So, NO, I am not fighting with MY siblings!)

Sunny Winter Day

A week ago, it was frosty and brilliantly bright. A stroll in the crisp early morning air was invigorating, like jumping into a cold lake in October.  (I wouldn't jump in later than that - polar bear plunges aren't my thing!) Each inhale froze my insides. When I extracted my fingers from my mitts to snap some morning pictures, I rushed to put them back on. I hate cold fingers and toes. They remind me of my freezing digits from when I lived in Winnipeg. 

I was single-digit young when we lived there. Some snowy days, my mom would bundle me up to go outside. This bundling took ages. I’m sure I was not very co-operative as sweaters were added to my little body, then the overall kind of snow pants, (which made things bunch up uncomfortably), extra socks (also bunchy), arms into jacket sleeves that seemed to only fit arms not covered in those thick sweaters. Multiple layers of socks were forced into boots, making your squished toes curl inside those sock layers. By the time my poor mother got everything on me, I had to go to the bathroom. 

Off go the boots, the jacket (because you can’t pee with a parka on!) and the mitts. Business completed, Mom had to reload all those layers onto me. 

Grey Day NOT in Winnipeg

But once outside, the wintery landscape was amazing. The quiet was crisp and clean. The snow was fluffy and if you threw it into the air, it sparkled like fireflies. There were snowbanks to crawl over, tunnels to dig into, and snowballs to throw. I recall my nostrils freezing together, which meant it was time to go back to the warm inside. 

Again, my poor mother! Only a few minutes of reprieve from a little kid before I banged at the side door, stomped inside to get warm, and stripped off of all those outer layers, with Mom's help, of course.

But this past weekend, the temperature in Peterborough, Ont. was above zero. Way above zero for a February day. Like high single digits, maybe even touching double-digits. It felt like spring. Our snow banks melted into puddles. Grass on lawns is green, not the expected killed-by-cold tawny brown. Winter coats were too warm. I pulled out my light-weight spring jacket to walk the dogs. And I disregarded the boots and wore outside - gasp - running shoes. In February! Something I haven’t done probably EVER. 


I miss the February snowstorms that make you wish for summer. Indulge me as I wax nostalgic over crisp winter days, the kind of days where you endure frigid temperatures only briefly, followed by a frantic re-entry into the heat of shelter. The days when - once back inside - I wrap my frozen fingers around a hot cup of tea, inhaling the warming scents and popping bread into the toaster. The times when you put on your snuggliest sweater and curl up on the couch to nibble your snack while reading the afternoon away.

I’m off to put the kettle on. Wishing you warm times in El Niño and in El Niña days!

Grey Winter Day

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Mike Hammond
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I really like this description of winter, those days where you can sit out of the wind, face tilted toward the sun and enjoy the warmth. Tanning anyone?


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At first the idea of wishing for something that made you long for something else made me laugh. Then I realized how true it is. There's no summer without winter, and anticipation is a very special kind of joy.

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