Let’s Call The Game

I know I don’t speak for everyone and perhaps it is quite likely that I speak for very few, but some will agree with me when I say I’m not a real fan of winter. I used to be. I suppose every kid on the planet would be a fan of winter given the choice. I played outside until I could no longer feel my toes and fingertips, until my eye lashes were frozen to my cheeks. I built snow forts and swam in the snow the entire length of our long lane, practicing my imagined front crawl in the snow along the snow fence, snow that resembled, in my mind, the ocean. I envisioned a future as an Olympic swimmer, which was a stretch, considering I could barely tread water. I careened down the hill on wooden toboggans and aluminum flying saucers, airborne and breathless. I skated on every tiny patch of ice I could find under the snow. I think it is fair to say I gave winter my all and I think maybe I have earned the right to decide that I no longer like its duration and intensity.
I don’t mind the snow shovelling. I pretend I’m at the gym and it is part of my work-out routine and I give myself permission to eat too many cookies after spending a half hour on the end of a shovel. I go out every few hours in a snowstorm, to keep ahead of the accumulation and only when I am beaten down, do I resort to using the big gun, the snow blower.
Winter is a bit like getting a new puppy. It seems like a really good idea from a distance, a time of restoration, the idea a hard one to resist. Puppies are fluffy at first, like new snow, and so clean and smell so good. Our maternal instincts are heightened and intensified as we snuggle said puppy in our arms. Can’t you just feel it. You can also snuggle up with winter, under a blanket with a good book and a hot cup of tea or cocoa, but eventually that pup is going to resist house training and will eagerly chew up the most favourite of slippers and will exhaust our resolve. In most cases, there are no do-overs and you can’t send the puppy back, just as you have to wait winter out.
I start to feel claustrophobic after a few months of winter. I live in the woods, away from mainstream civilization and I’m happy here, but I want to stretch and wander and remind myself I no longer have to cut grass in the summer. I want to wish winter on its way and thank it for dropping by, but let’s call the game due to lack of interest. There is nothing finer than a bright sunny winter day when the temperature hovers just below freezing, cold enough for the snow to support my weight and I can walk unencumbered through the woods. There are no bugs buzzing around my head, the air is fresh and my soul is invigorated. I guess it is a matter of taking the good with the bad. But I remember spring, the spring of childhood when we couldn’t wait to shed our jackets and winter boots. When we’d drag our bikes from the shed as though we had unearthed an old friend and riding our bikes was never more fun than those first early days of spring. And marbles and skipping ropes and hopscotch and. . . I’d better stop. I’m getting ahead of myself. Spring is a long way off and I’m certain I have my share of going to the gym, aka shovelling, before it’s all over. Did I mention I’m not a fan? I may have.
wendistewart@live.ca