It has been a cold winter this year. All over North America, people are complaining of it. And yet, when you look at what winter in Ottawa is supposed to be like… well, it’s not so bad, actually. Yes, we’ve had quite a few days where the thermometer is getting depressingly close to (or past) -30 C. But that’s normal. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
We’ve been spoiled a bit by a few milder winters with so much snow I suspect. I can distinctly recall conversations with American friends wherein I explain that really, below freezing isn’t that bad. Provided you dress properly for the weather, you really don’t mind the cold much until it gets down past -15 C. And at the tail end of January, a sunny day of -10 feels positively balmy.
Don’t get me wrong — when the thermometer reads -25 C, it’s damn cold and I’m not afraid to admit it. When overnight temperatures are listed as -38 (and that’s before the wind chill), you throw an extra blanket or three on the bed, make sure the kids have their hot water bottles to snuggle up to, and maybe edge the thermostat up a notch or two for good measure. And if it’s a weekend, a family bed just might be in order, with The Man We Call Dad providing the warmth and only complaining a little bit about other people’s cold toes.
This afternoon, the sun is shining brightly, almost blindingly so as it reflects off the powdery white snow that coats everything within sight. You might, if you weren’t any wiser, think that it could just possibly be one of those balmy warm days of winter that’s freezing, yes, but not freezing (am I the only one who makes the distinction between freezing and freezing? Surely not.)
If you look at the sky, such a gorgeous rich blue this afternoon, you just might notice that there aren’t any clouds. Not a single one. Just blue as far as the eye can see, with bright sunshine from above, and reflected from below, too. It is the sort of day that, looking out at it from the warm side of the window, makes your heart sing with joy and that particular lightness of being that comes from a sunny day.
But Mother Nature is a trickster.
There aren’t any clouds. Not a single one. Not because Mother Nature wanted the sun to shine through and make our hearts sing.
No, there aren’t any clouds because even the clouds know it’s too damn cold to go outside. (And anyone who tells me it’s a myth that it can ever get too cold for clouds to form can go read this article.) So Mother Nature? Listen up…
Please send us snow. I like snow. I like the warm-ish temperatures that go along with snowy days. I like the way the kids play outside for hours building forts and sledding and having snowball fights. This cold and bright thing? I’m not liking it so much.
Glad we cleared that up.
Though the blue sky and sunshine does make my heart sing… as long as I’m on the warm side of the window.