Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I am Canadian ...

the topic this morning in work was invariably the weather .. specifically, the frigid, -30 temperatures which have descended on our city (THANKS Buff, just THANKS)...

it was SO Canadian! What would we do without our weather, we Canadians? What in the world would we talk about?

Each person to whom I spoke had a usually amusing story to relate about their forays into the arctic air. From the lawyer talking about how his shoes freeze, thus making him walk like a clown as the soles refuse to bend to the individual whose nose suddenly began gushing blood as she took a deep breath and frozen water sliced into the tender mucus membranes with a vengeance.

This morning at 4 a.m. I was crunching through the morning dark with the dogs frisking ahead, oblivious to the cold, kept warm by their enthusiasm and sheer joy in being alive. Encased in my dad's parka (bought in 1958 when he first came to Canada and was working up north in Bear Island), I felt quite cosy but as the walk progressed, as the frigid embrace of dark arctic need insinuated itself into the vulnerable exposed expanse of skin and licked fire into thighs covered only by thin work pants, I felt the beginning of the Canadian "sting"...

My legs began aching, licked by fire and breathing hot stinging want...until I slipped into the warm golden light of the house and they erupted into ache. Laughing, I pulled down the pants and grinned at the flaming crimson of my thighs, reminiscent of those high school days of micro minis, knee socks and coats with linings removed and never closed (because you might look FAT)... when pale fleshed legs flamed red and even purple and frostbite was a thought away.

Rubbing feeling back into their frozen length, I slipped up my pants and put on a coffee, slipping out quickly to start the reluctant car (and feeling a small sting, quickly extinguished, of remorse at my contribution to global warming!) and then completing my ablutions continued into work ... where I gloried in the myriad tales and stories of my workmates and laughed again at the Canadian obsession with our weather.

Despite dealing with what many from outside our country consider untenable situations, we Canadians remain united and strong in our passion and secretly (and not so secretly) relish our crazy temperatures as a uniqueness which defines who we are.

4 comments:

THE Michael said...

Reminds me of being 17 in Fairbanks, of Friday night dances at Eagles Hall, of coming home soaked with sweat, having to trek thru the 50 below, across the frozan river, into the house stripping everything off as the warm air drove the cold into me, my bangs frozen icycles, my toes numb in my dancing boots......

And to think I miss it......

Buffalo said...

I'm not going to comment on the quality of the writing. Trying to come up with a different way of saying "superb" is almost impossibly difficult.

Walking the dogs at 0400 seems nothing short of utter insanity. I'm surprised they don't fight when you force them into the frigid night.

A nose bleed from the cold? That is ... unacceptable. Think you hearty Canucks should be praying for global warming.

aphron said...

Wow. I remember to some temps below freezing here in the Southern US. That was cold. -30?!? Wow. Why? Why live there? I would never go outside in the winter. AND, at 4am! To laugh about it, to boot.

selkie said...

grins at The Michael ... I remember times like that too! That's when one has to watch seriously for frostbite .. becuase you're so overheated you don't feel it until it is too late!

Buff, thank you dearest friend and the dogs don't CARE - rain, snow, cold, heat - it is ALL about the sniffing!

Aphron, truth? we Canadians revel in our crazy weather - from our minus 30 and more in the winter to our plus 35 (that's celsius - 100+ in your American parlance LOL) - in the summer - we are a hardy bunch!