West Islanders – like many Canadians – grow so tired of winter that, often, despite all the evidence to the contrary, we're forcing Spring to arrive at our homes, whether it's ready or not.
It's almost as though the winter has been so oppressive, for so long, that it's like getting out of prison (or school for the summer, if you've never been to prison. I haven't, but I went to a public school. Same thing, right?). At our house, the preparations for the warm season have begun in earnest. My wife, kids and I started cleaning out the basement last weekend – before a snowstorm on the last day of winter cancelled school and left us with a wet, snowy, slippery mess that carried over into the opening days of spring, and now hangs around, like a bad cold.
It's putting the winter's inactivity behind us – weekends now dominated by trips to arenas are now gleefully wide open, the endless possibilities of two days as a family sit tantalizingly at the end of the work week – but it's really, really hard to get all that gleeful about said possibilities when those possibilities are still covered by four feet of snow – and all the attendant slush-puddles that accompany such a snowstorm in the waning days of winter.
My kids are in exactly the same boat.
'Is it sweater weather yet, dad?'
'No, baby. It's winter stuff for now.'
'But isn't it spring? Shouldn't we just wear sweaters and rubber boots?'
'Does it feel like spring? No. Case closed.'
That, however, hasn't stopped us from doing what we can to embrace the longer, slightly warmer days. We can't be the only ones. Look at the feeling you get when you walk down the street on a warm, sunny spring day after the weather we've had recently.
When it's sunny, the world seems glorious and unending. The high ceiling of the sky representing the wide-open possibilities of the warm, sunny days, the glow of the sun like warm hug from a loved one you haven't seen in ages. It's for all these reasons that we push the spring to come; first by starting all the chores and tasks that seem to be reserved for when the big winter coat of snow gradually gets shrugged off by the same, hug-giving sun, and then gradually, By noting how far back from the street the snowbanks have receded, until some day in April when they are finally gone forever, long forgotten and hardly missed. It's the same way at our house.
In the rush to rid ourselves of the limits of winter (short daylight hours, endless dressing just to set foot outside, warming the car up for driving, shovelling snow, brushing it off the car and gloves, hats, scarves and other accoutrements of the season), we don't really take time to appreciate the way we have been shaped by the coldest season.
So, that said, I think it would benefit everybody – my kids included – to take a minute and think about how winter has steeled us and made us stronger.
OK, time's up. Now let's go outside and throw the ball around.