On Being a Canadian

Some might say I grew up in the California of Canada. I’ve lived the last few years on an island that includes a rainforest and where snow is a rarity. It’s the same in my hometown. Schools close, airports shut down, people panic when we get an inch or two. When it comes to snow, we’re pretty un-Canadian. Where we are now, being further inland, snow is more common. Not as common as much of the rest of Canada but not unusual either.

Last night Peter and I decided to pop-in on some friends downtown. Ended up being a fun night of beer, pizza, and a BBC documentary on China. And I know have “Sunny D and Rum (Yum! Yum!)” stuck in my head. I’m a big fan of the pop-in, by the way. I think it’s something of a lost art. People feel like they have to call ahead or like their homes have to look a certain way before they can have friends over. To me, the pop-in achieves a next level of friendship. The kind where your friend drops by and doesn’t have a problem with moving a pile of clothes and books so they can find a spot to sit on the couch. The kind where you don’t have to be embarrassed that your bathroom isn’t spotless. I like it and I hope other people do too.

Anyway, when Peter and I got up to walk home last night, around 10:30, we opened the front door to find the world carpeted in white, thick snowflakes falling down. There’s magic in making the first footsteps on a snowy landscape, in the way the flakes look under streetlights at night. It came down thick and fast and it was beautiful. The walk home wasn’t long but it was beautiful.

This morning we woke up to see that it must have snowed most of the night. We’ve got about seven inches here and it’s just now doing what we on the West Coast call “slushing”. That’s where it’s still snowing but it’s wet and doesn’t stick.

Again, I don’t have my camera, so here are some pictures from an earlier snowfall a couple of months ago.

The River a few blocks away

The river near us hasn’t frozen over completely and I don’t know if it will, but it does freeze along the edges which looks pretty cool.

Miracle birds at the Library

It does freeze over on the pond by the Library. The ducks and seagulls seem to love it. In a confused sort of way, I guess.

It’s greyer today than in those photos but the snow always gives a sort of brightness. We walked over to the grocery store to stock up on a few things in case this weather lasts a while. Unfortunately, our car is not so trustworthy in the snow so I do hope it melts by Monday morning when Peter goes back to work. On our way to the store we passed three people using snow blowers. When we saw the first one, Peter turned to me and said, “I’ve never seen one of those.” And, truth be told, I don’t think I have either. Not in real life at least. And definitely not privately owned by someone so they could clear off their own driveway. Also on the way to the grocery store we saw two ATVs, one young guy just doing circles in the high school parking lot. No one back home would ever own an ATV because where the heck would you ride it? Just another reminder that this place is a little different. Or that we’re not your typical Canadians. Whatever that might be.


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