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26 Feb 2013
Just to make this clear from the start, this isn't a doomcasting thread or an 'oh God, why us?' discussion, just a place where we can write down our favourite parts about the passing Winter. Please keep it good-spirited!
You know, I was walking around town today in my sweater, listening to the sound of the snowmelt, enjoying the chickadees and smelling the melting exposed ground (what little there is around here), and I realized that this winter is coming to a close. I think that, like at new year's, we should look back on the season that was and remember our favourite parts, the highs and the lows.
Now, I realize that winter isn't over yet (and might not be for a while), but I invite you to write down your 'eulogy' for the season however you want!
For me, this was a great winter - no 2007-8 by any stretch, but for the first time since then, I felt like this was a real winter - snow, ice, cold and all.
Granted, it began awful slow - I can remember waiting for the bus in 20C and rain around mid-December. I wasn't convinced that this season would hold anything extraordinary, but after all the dud-winters, I didn't really expect much.
However, winter literally went from 0 to 75 in under a week with the December 21st storm and the Boxing Day storm, both of which were one of the first 15+ snowfalls I had seen since 2007-8. I can still remember waking up at 3am and stepping out in the middle of the abandoned main street into the pouring snow (there really isn't any other way to describe it) in my pyjamas and wrapped in my parka and watching the enormous snowflakes shoot down from the sky at a rate I don't think I've ever seen. I remember walking around with everything plastered white and being amazed at the first sight of winter I had seen in quite a while. The next day, the east side of every tree, building and car was covered in a rock-solid sheet of snow which made everything look surreal. It would stay there unchangeing until the thaw, some three weeks later. In the morning, I shovelled the driveway with the rest of the family (man, was it heavy stuff!), we discovered that it was much more efficient to roll snowmen to get rid of the snow, we dug a few stuck motorists and a bus on our block and we had an impromptu snowball fight. It was a day of wonder, enthusiasm and a rediscovery of winter, a season we hadn't seen in years.
A week later, we hit gold again: I can remember the quiet sound of the powder after Boxing Day and watching the snow accumulate at a rate of 10cm per hour! The combination of heavy rates and a complete lack of any wind during the storm let the snow cake on every surface.
The week or two that followed was the most perfect I can remember - The temperatures stayed at about -15 with glorious sunny days with small snowfalls of 5-10cm every two or three days to keep things white and fresh. It was the perfect way to enjoy the new snow! I went for walks, enjoying the blinding light during the day, the yellow and purple sunsets in the afternoon and the moonlight so bright, shadows were as clear as day. During the colder nights, I took all the blankets I could find and would sit by the window with a hot drink in hand. Never had winter been so perfect as it was then.
Of course, there was the thaw, which turned the caked trees bare and the brilliant white snowbanks grey, but, despite it all, there was enough snow still on the ground to keep the bare ground hidden under 40cm or so. However, it came to an abrupt end: within one day, we went from a temperature of 7C at about 6am to a temperature of below -20 by nightfall with a windchill well below -30. The week that followed was bone-chilling. It's weeks like those, when the windchill pushes -45 and you can feel your skin start to freeze on contact - It's those weeks that make you feel as if you live in some exciting and exotic place. It also gives me the right to laugh at (almost) everyone else's winters
That week lead to another warm-up, which was pretty devastating for the snowcover - for the first time since the first real snowfall, we dipped below 30cm. But it wasn't all bad: for the period between the warm-up and the snowstorm in the beginning of February, the Ottawa River, whose snow had created an enormous puddle some 4km across, froze. I have never seen such perfect, arena-grade Ice go on past the horizon in all directions. The ice was so perfect, that you could skate eyes-closed without fearing a bump. I made a point to go out at every opportunity, knowing that I might never see such an incredible sight again. And thanks to a brisk wind from up the valley, I could skate downwind on my nordic skates at speeds approaching 50km/h without breaking a sweat or having to avoid anything.
The snowbanks were replenished a few days later, much to my joy at seeing everything look so beautiful again and to my dismay of no longer be able to skate, but alas. We got about 25cm from that storm, more than anticipated. It was the first real snowstorm since Boxing Day, and it felt so nice to be able to once again trudge through shin-deep powder. However, it was while I was walking in the Arboretum Park after a skate down the Canal on the sunny day after the storm that I was reminded for the first time that spring wasn't so far away in the form of a half-open brook.
The past couple of days have been an even starker reminder as coats give way to jackets and sweaters and the quiet simplicity of winter gives way to sounds and smells we haven't experienced for 12 months, but I think winter is still good for another bit - the snowstorm just now beginning to be felt in SO won't hesitate to make it clear! But no matter what happens for the next month, this has been a great season for me.
Winter, you've been a sport - I hope we'll see each other again next year too.
19 Mar 2013 - 8:55
25 Dec 2012 - 2:08
2 Dec 2012 - 12:34
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