Surviving Mother Nature’s challenge

Our New Year dawned as the great white north after some 15 inches of drifting snow turned our world into a winter wonderland.
Waking on Monday morning, the CBC announcer let all of Ontario know that Fort Frances was the desperately cold spot of the province.
When the sun rose, the sky became a cold blue-white colour that only frosty January days hold. Pristine in its cleanliness, the change from the milder December days was dramatic.
Yet that cold blue-white sky seems brilliant in itself. The air is fresh and breathing it in feels like your lungs are living again. It is a full breath of fresh air delivered unpolluted from the northern reaches of our country.
The snow now crunches and squeaks as you walk along the sidewalks. The trees around the town, meanwhile, are painted white by the hoar frost.
The double blizzard that struck here last Thursday and then again on New Year’s Eve has given everyone something to talk about. Smaller snowblowers that couldn’t throw the snow five feet into the air have been replaced by older technology—the shovel.
The new, more powerful grader of the Town of Fort Frances has met its match in trying to push the snowbanks back to the curb. The parking lanes on each side of Second Street have been replaced with plowed snowbanks rising six feet in height in places.
Wherever a driveway entrance or sidewalk had been dug across the boulevard, piles of snow now tower over the vehicles or persons walking through them.
The beauty of the twin snowstorms let everyone hold to their New Year’s resolution to get more exercise. Our household certainly did. While I spent more than an hour removing the snow from the driveway Friday morning, my wife, Marnie, cleaned the walkway around the house.
My eldest son, home for the holidays from Calgary, spent another hour taking the snow out of the driveway entrance onto the street. If he had his way, the two dumps we received should have been delivered in Banff to improve the ski hills.
Then on New Year’s Day, we returned to the snow-clearing business. This time we also included the roof of our family room that had a five-foot drift across the centre.
The Christmas lights that have lit our shrubbery are now safely buried under at least a foot of snow. The snow has climbed to the first crotch of our flowering crabs on Second Street East.
The young boys on the street already are discovering the thrill of sliding from the top of the snowbanks in their shiny nylon ski-pants.
They are immune to the cold. And their bright, shiny red cheeks tell you how much fun the outdoors is in winter.
We older folks are now discussing the pains in our arms and legs from the physical work we performed over the weekend. Yet behind every ache, there is a sense of pride that once again the snow has brought together the community in surviving another challenge from Mother Nature.
Yes, there was a lot of snow but have dug out.

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