The American Calgarian

Tales of a Midwesterner transplanted in Western Canada

A January Confession

When I announced that I was moving the NW, a man I worked with warned me.  “It gets cold there.  I lived in Manitoba for a while and it was lovely, but the winters can be like nothing you have experienced.  Bloody bone-chilling.”  I smiled and nodded politely, because I really like and respect this person.  But I was thinking, dude, you are from South Africa, what do you know about cold?   I was raised in Wisconsin, for crying out loud, I know what cold is. (To get the full effect, say it like this – whi-KAHN-sin, through your nose.)  All through November and December, well-meaning Calgarians had been asking us if we were ready.  Winters are not usually this mild, the cold weather would be coming soon, they would say.  Bleh.   It was fine.  I had barely gotten out my parka.

For the last couple of days it has been -29C, with a windchill of about -40C.  (-22F without the windchill.)  I have a confession.  I am cold.

The interesting thing is that although things have slowed down a bit, almost nothing is cancelled.  Schools are still running, businesses are open as usual, people are going to work as planned.  I have only seen a few things temporarily close where the activities are outdoor, like downhill skiing.  Which reminds me of something a running coach said in San Diego last year.  “Winter does something to a person.”  He meant it in a positive light.  Winter does, in fact, do something to you.  It makes you appreciate things like the air you are taking into your lungs, (because you can feel it all the way down), the crispness of a morning, the grass under the snow that is just begging to turn green again in the spring.  This morning the sky is a bright seawater blue with shiny ice crystals.  Its beautiful, assuming you are indoors with hot coffee, of course.  Winter makes you slow down, to be better prepared.  It can also keep you inside with your family, and when the time is used wisely to play inside games or read or just snuggle on the couch, it is all good.

Winter makes you an optimist.  For me, I am optimistic that the forecast is correct for the weekend and it will make it to 0C.  Heat wave!


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2 thoughts on “A January Confession

  1. Ahh, so they aren’t running the ski hills and outdoor hockey practices. They’ve gotten weak up there! 🙂

  2. blogginglily on said:

    I hate that you’ve gone all metric on us. Traitor.

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