Cold weather feels like home. As a lifelong Canadian, it’s part of who I am. Make no mistake, Ontario summers are beautiful and warm, but shorter than many other places in the world. I love summer but a crisp autumn day or a cold sunny day in February hold their own charms.
I was born in southern Québec, where I lived until my early twenties. Some winters I remember, the cold air hurt my lungs. But a cold winter’s night has an eerie charm that is hard to describe. I grew up in ski country and developed a passion for downhill skiing and some cross-country skiing too. Cold weather meant snow. And snow meant skiing, which was an absolute joy. The pinch in my cheeks as the cold air whipped my face was an oddly pleasant sensation while zooming down a ski hill.
When I was in my forties, I had the good fortune to make it out to British Columbia one January and skied for four days at Whistler, BC. That was the highlight of my skiing life. The cold wind at the top of Blackcomb Mountain was exhilarating. The heart pounding thrill of flying down its glacier bowl with the cold wind blasting my body was pure heaven to me.
I am quite a bit older now and don’t dare ski anymore for fear of destroying my poor arthritic knees so I hang onto those memories in silent reverie and nostalgia. Now I have a hot tub and taking a dip in the 100 degree water on a 20 degree starry night is magical. Getting out of the hot tub in the cold is also exhilarating.
I don’t hate the cold of winter but I hate how long it lasts and hate how much it snows here in Eastern Ontario. As you may have guessed, I’m in charge of clearing the driveway- a chore that gets more dreary with every year that passes.
I hate the dark of winter more than the cold. I don’t mean those brilliant starry nights on a blistering cold and still night because those are magical. I mean waking up and going to work in the dark and coming home from work at the end of the day in the dark. That wears on me far more than the cold. Besides, hot, sticky and polluted skies in late July and August make it so hard to breathe. You get much less of that in cold weather.
You can’t appreciate joy without sorrow. You can’t appreciate light without darkness. And you can’t appreciate warmth without cold.