It snowed quite a bit actually. And people freaked out. And then other people freaked out about the people freaking out. Which I don’t really understand because as much as getting snow is a part of living in Canada, so is complaining about getting snow, at least in Southern Ontario for as long as I’ve lived there.
I myself am not much of a winter person. I’m fine down to about -12 and I’ll tolerate about -18 if there’s not much wind. I think snow is pretty and I like cross-country skiing but I don’t get much of a chance to do it. But for the most part, I just grit my teeth and try to outlast the winter, which hasn’t been hard the last couple years of non-winters, but is looking like it may be more challenging this year.
And as I was contemplating this, it struck me how the year is structured for people like me, with roughly one communal event or idea per month that we’ve agreed to to try and convince ourselves it’s not so bad and it’ll be over soon.
October I still consider fall.
November is typically when you get the first snowfall, so it’s still new and magical seeming and you’re not yet tired of putting on two layers every time you need to go pick up some milk or something.
December is Christmas or whatever your solstice-timed holiday of choice is, celebrating, as Doctor Who so beautifully put it, being halfway out of the dark. The sun is barely out, but at least the days will be getting longer, right?
January has New Year’s when you are meant to approach the world with fresh optimism, start some new routines and make some changes in your life to spiff things up.
February has Groundhog Day. I know this seems like a stretch, but the very fact that news crews get up at 6 am and wander out to a hole in the ground where a guy in a ridiculous costume claims to tell you what a groundhog is thinking pretty much tells you how desperate we are for something, anything, to tell us how much longer we have to endure winter. I had a roommate from the Netherlands for a while and he saw Groundhog Day being covered on TV and trying to explain it to him was next to impossible:
“Why does him seeing his shadow mean anything?”
No no, it’s just a silly tradition. It doesn’t mean anything. There will be more winter regardless.
“Oh, well how do you know if he saw his shadow? Do you ask him?”
It depends if he runs back into his hole.
“Won’t he run back in because of all the people around?”
Never mind. This is too hard to explain.
I’m not saying this is a good “getting through it moment” for February. I blame the February blahs on the questionableness of this moment. I mean, first off, the little guys can’t seem to agree and just taking a simple majority doesn’t seem to give reliable predictions. But even if it did, then if he does see his shadow you still have six more weeks! But still then you know there’s an endpoint somewhere down the line, which is comforting when winter seems to be dragging out forever.
March is the time for the expression “In like a lion, out like a lamb.” Or vice versa. So either the weather is terrible but you remind yourself that it’s about to get better. Or it’s nice but you remind yourself not get too excited because there are still some cold spells to come so you should take advantage while you can.
And then April is spring, hopefully, at least if you live in certain parts of the country.
So currently still a month and a half to go. But we can do it folks. We’re, like 78% of the way out of the dark I think, if I did my math right.