I have a confession to make - I am a weather wimp. When it snows, or the roads are covered in ice, I look for excuses not to venture outside. Do we really need groceries? No, I just found a box of Kraft Dinner that only expired a month ago. That should tide us over. Do Mitchell and Sylvia really have to go to school? Chances are, I tell myself in a very convincing inner-voice, other kids won't attend school. Without a full class the teachers will fall back on yet another viewing of ‘Scooby-Doo and the Search for Nemo.'
I never used to worry about road conditions. Blizzards came and went without a rise in anxiety levels. But that was in the old days when Canadians were accustomed to receiving huge dollops of snow. Plows cleared the roads as quickly as it fell and people changed their driving habits to match the situation. These days the municipality seems to wait for a warm spell to do the job while drivers act as though the roads are perfectly dry as they fishtail all over the roads.
We've only had a few major snowfalls this year and each time the news is full of reports of accidents which only adds fuel to my wimpy fire. See? I tell myself, that could've been you! Aren't you glad you stayed indoors with the radio, a pot of coffee, and season two of my current favourite show? Better to watch ‘The Walking Dead' than risk becoming one!
My wimpiness is not exclusive to driving. I used to love clearing a huge patch on the ice for skating or going tobogganing until my toes went numb. Walks through the woods in unsullied snow was a simple joy where time didn't matter. Hours passed without ever feeling the cold.
Maybe I got too used to the mild winters, but now I find chilly weather to be unbearable. When the temperature hits the negatives I want to stay indoors. Sylvia, bless her youthful soul, still enjoys going out even if conditions resemble Siberia on a bad day.
After the most recent storm she insisted on walking across one of the frozen lakes in Middle Sackville. I tested the ice with an auger and found it to be about eight inches thick.
"It can hold up to 2,000 pounds," Mitchell informed me.
"Then it should hold me," I said.
A breeze was blowing and my right eyebrow felt like it had received a Botox injection. The idea of walking across the open, drifting, landscape became less appealing with each fresh gust of icy wind.
"We could just pretend we went for a walk," I suggested to no avail.
As it turned out the walk wasn't too bad. One of the lenses on my glasses fogged up and the condensation froze, which turned me into a cyclops for much of the trip, but it was refreshing and quite a lot of fun. When we returned home I realized the driveway still needed to be shoveled out. Unless I waited for a thaw...
Kevin Toal is a freelance writer who is counting the seconds to spring.