I was originally going to call this post “The Spring of Winter.” You see the idea was that I would explain the difficulties of being in the in between of a season before its true self is made known, like how in Spring you often wear a skirt of flip flops before you really should wear them. You get cold and wet and you often regret it. It’s a hazard of the transition. In the case of winter it is confusing in how it’s milder days remind us just how bitter and cold it really can be at it’s worse, but it is not really that bad yet so we overcompensate. So I thought a clever title was ‘The Spring of Winter.’ However, Robbie pointed out that we already have a word for that or rather an entire season for that particular process: Autumn. I guess he got me there. We had a good laugh over that one. And with that self mockery I will commence.
Things are changing here in Camrose. We are in transition from the gentle, yet crisp lull of Fall to the stark freezing temperatures of Winter. I know that the deep freeze is sneaking up on us, not just because of the time of the year, but because the signs are everywhere. For example on Friday morning we had a light dusting of snow. It looked just like a childhood Christmas decoration that my mom had: a row of miniature ceramic houses all lined up beautifully. The perfect Christmas scene. My mom used to take icing sugar and sprinkle it over that little hamlet to imitate snow. Camrose looked just like that on Friday morning, but it was gone by noon. There’s also the nighttime temperatures. We’ve reached -15° a few nights in a row now, but it always warms up to about 2 or 3 degrees during the day, a surprisingly warm 2 or 3 degrees. Also the water has taken a lot longer to get hot coming out of the faucet and the kitchen tile this morning was distinctly cold. I rushed back to the bedroom to grab my slippers before finishing preparing breakfast. On top of that our old apartment building, which I’m guessing was built somewhere in the 1950’s is working over time heating itself. This is apparent by the random tick-tick-tick and banging noises coming from the heaters. These are all tell tale signs of what has somewhat arrived, but is yet to come.
With this transition comes my greatest frustration of this time of year: over layering. This morning I was over zealously dressed as I had seen the -15° forecast when I first woke up at 9 or so, which was really 10 or so due to daylight savings. We left to go to 11am mass at St. Francis Xavier. The moment my skin hit the outside air I knew I had overdressed. I wore jeans, boots with socks, an undershirt, a long sleeve u-neck shirt and my massive wrap sweater that Santa got me for Christmas last year. To top it off I wore my North Face jacket. I determined out loud to Robbie in the car that the jacket was an overdress and decided to leave it behind. Then the moment we found our place in the church during the Gloria (these retirees start mass about 3 minutes early) I was smoking hot. I just breathed deeply until I self regulated my temperature (this really does work) and enjoyed our parishes test run of the new translation of the mass. We went for coffee after mass as McDonald’s as there is free coffee there this week, and by the time we headed home I didn’t even have my sweater on.
It has continued to be a lovely fall day. Even now as I am waiting for my banana bread to come out of the oven and I type away on the couch, I’ve opened the window just a crack to let some of the brisk air. -4° ain’t so bad.
There is something lovely about this time of year, but it also looms with the promise of what is to come. I assume the worst of the weather. I assume my snot will be freezing and my toes rendered useless in the feeling department. I assume my car won’t start and I’ll have to scrape it down every morning. I think back to last November when Calgary was called the 2nd coldest place on earth at -32°, -41° with the windchill, coming second only to Antartica. On that same day Mami and Papi in Dubai were living it up with a high of 29° and a low of 19°. That was a bit hard to take. But there are perks with the season we call winter. For example my hair doesn’t get dirty nearly as quickly when its this cold and dry. There’s also the previously noted fresh air. And the most magical of all, a blanket of snow. And who can forget those jack rabbits turning all white and getting chubby. I, of course, cannot forget Christmas or the beautiful liturgical lead up to it in Advent.
So therefore, I think I can take this winter in stride. I will try my best to still enjoy your great playground even when it is covered with snow and ice.
On another note and in honor of All Saints Day from this past Tuesday here’s a beauty from St. Theresa of Liseaux…
“Love consumes us only in the measure of our self surrender”
And from the aforementioned new translation of the mass…
“Lord, I am not worthy
that You should enter under my roof,
but only say the word
and my soul shall be healed.”
Yup, it’s going to be a good winter and a good advent!