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The return of winter’s white fury and why I love it!

If you look beyond the negative repercussions of this time there are some definite positives

By Marylin Smith Carsley

Every winter elicits one distinct memory. As a child, I would reside in the back seat of my father’s oversized car and gaze at the graceful snow patterns adorning all the windows. Innocently, with a youth’s sense of the magical, I would marvel on how nature could be so artistic and original. As I much as I would try, I was never able to locate two snowflakes that were identical. It was as if weather and art would intertwine during this particular season making winter a fantasy creation.

The early morning brilliance startles me daily as my bedroom windows are now seasonally transformed. No longer are there red, yellow and orange hues illuminating the frames but they have been replaced with white, lacy flakes of snow and icy designs. Autumn had a very brief stay this year and winter made an early and chilling debut long before expected.

Surprisingly, I do welcome this transformative season yearly with great anticipation even with its imposed complications and restrictions. Truly, what are the benefits of cold, sleet, snow, ice and hazardous driving? There is nothing that tempting about it but I tend to believe otherwise. If you look beyond the negative repercussions of this time, there are some definite positives. I perceive winter as that ultimate time to hibernate indoors without guilt, to slow down from that hectic pace, to read and relax and not feel that necessity to run around. When the weather transforms to those minus numbers, an intense hibernating feeling sets in. Reading and writing actively resurfaces dominating my day and with that a sense of peace surrounds me.

I perceive winter as that ultimate time to hibernate indoors without guilt, to slow down from that hectic pace, to read and relax and not feel that necessity to run around.

We run on a daily treadmill trying to crowd in all those appointments, and activities. Winter lends the perfect excuse to pause more as occasionally the wrath of the climate can leave us stranded in our homes. As a former teacher I can vividly recall those radio announced snow days. Hearing the cancellation of school was always spectacular news! Today when snow day weather transpires, I experience that same delight in knowing that whatever needs to be done will just have to wait. I heat up some coffee, put on some sweatpants and enjoy the coziness of the indoors.

Being homebound as a young mother was something I actually dreaded. I needed a purpose to the day and I was not the homemaker type. Although time was always at a premium, a snow day offered a reprieve and some bonus time to catch up at home and even practice all those crafty art lessons on my children before I would execute them at school with my class. Being sedentary was not easy for me as I always felt that pull to be out trying to catch up on errands. In fact a day of nothing at home did not entice me. As I became older and wiser I began to envision a snow day as that occasion to catch up on domestic chores. Once I acknowledged the benefits of stormy weather on calming down my hectic pace, I begin to really relish the days of being more homebound.

‘On a sunny cool day, there is nothing more invigorating than a brisk walk especially in all our Westmount parks and streets.’

All Canadians learn at an early age to alter and accommodate their lives according to the weather’s inconsistent fury. On a sunny cool day, there is nothing more invigorating than a brisk walk especially in all our Westmount parks and streets. With the holiday decorations, the scenery is spectacular and pausing along Sherbrooke or Greene Avenue for coffee or hot chocolate is a treat. Reading becomes a focus and as much as I love to read, I have been delinquent but not in the winter. It is my time to catch up. The wonderful Westmount Library has it all for children and adults and they are current with bestsellers. The dormant homemaker in me makes an appearance as I bake, make soups and enjoy my two grandsons who come for frequent dinners while we plan this year’s snowman construction.

The rhythm of life varies with the seasons. Warmer temperatures encourage you outside and out of the home, but winter transports you back home to relish in simpler activities and for me, more family time and catching up. I do not anticipate winter with dread (most of the time) as I embrace the pleasures of home and holidays. With two very energetic grandsons, the world of winter fun has reopened its doors and I love watching them as I am reminded of the days when my kids were younger.

‘Warmer temperatures encourage you outside and out of the home, but winter transports you back home to relish in simpler activities and for me, more family time and catching up.’

As we head into a season of extreme temperatures and unpredictable storms, I am orchestrating novel indoor activities and projects. Of course, I am human and also feel the extreme cold and hope to plan a warmer escape where I can rejuvenate. But right now, I am waiting for the winter season to recapture that cozy contentment while indulging in family gatherings. As the snow gracefully falls on this cold December day, I am writing this story by a window framing the majesty of the season and instantly the incentive to relax and appreciate the home returns.

Image: Andrew Burlone

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 Read also: Long live the family but not as we once knew it!


Marylin Smith Carsley is a Westmount writer whose work has appeared in several publications.


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