Bring on the sleigh bells

Today I began my day feeling miserable, cold, tired, and altogether rather sorry for myself. I’d spent the last week or two getting used to the positive temperatures, working a week in skirts, switching from oatmeal to cold cereal and very much getting excited to finally be rid of winter. And then today happened. Winter storm watch on red alert. Roads closed. Frozen faces and downtown highrises disappearing in a sky reminiscent of December. Winter apparently wasn’t going anywhere, and I couldn’t make a cup of coffee large or warm enough to get me going this morning. On the way to work I found my thoughts taking off without me. “You live in a city where half the year is spent in Arctic conditions!” my head was telling me. “That’s going to be half your life!” said my father in a mid-afternoon e-mail, confirming my day’s anti-Winnipeg thoughts and making me wonder whether I really can live in this city after all. I’ve been here nine years. Well, eight years, three hundred and fifty days. But close enough. But recently it’s really been hitting me hard as to whether or not I can happily live somewhere where half my life I’m never going to be happy to go outside in the mornings. Going back home and visiting the UK didn’t help, neither did seeing beautiful Ireland for the first time last summer, and neither did taking bike rides along Venice Beach in shorts this January. I love Winnipeg, well, I love parts of Winnipeg, but those parts are just so much harder to see when the last six months have been so awful, and it seems life could be so much more enjoyable anywhere else in the world.

Still, at least things aren’t brown and dead and grey and gloomy any more. That’s my least favourite thing about spring, and today the sky was filled with soft and sparkling snowflakes. I walked home from Osborne Village tonight and I wish I’d had a camera with me. Under the bridge a series of frozen stalactites had formed in neat little rows and looked quite decorative. As traffic crawled through laneless roads, slipping and sliding and inching along, I clambered over mounds of freshly fallen snowflakes. I couldn’t get over the shimmering sparkles, so I kept my eyes on the ground the whole way. That way my destination was a nice surprise, rather than a far-off goal impossible to reach. I turned down my street and admired the view. Across the river, downtown was lit up. There was no road, no path, just a vast expanse of new, never-trodden snow. I climbed my way through it and started to laugh – I’d safely made it past McDonald’s and Burger King resisting all temptation, and I was so hot and exhausted from the trek that I was completely okay with the fact I hadn’t gone to the gym tonight. I arrived at my front gate and laughed out loud. The gate was adamantly shut in the middle of a desert of snow dunes in my front garden, refused to open, and so I had to climb over. I finally arrived home to a warm house, a happy kitten, and yesterday’s cupcakes, and collapsed.

It sucks so bad that winter’s here all over again. But sometimes you can’t help but smile.

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