Let it snow or no?

The Central Voice - - Editorial - Carolyn R. Par­sons Carolyn R. Par­sons is an au­thor who lives in Cen­tral New­found­land and Labrador. She can be reached at car­olyn­r­par­[email protected]

My po­etic side is al­ways en­thralled by the first fall­ing of big fat snowflakes that ad­here to the land­scape and change it from its late fall drab into win­ter splen­dor. Then there is the kind of snow that sparkles in the moon­light on a cool still night.

I also en­joy the snap of the wood­stove while the white stuff piles up out­side and in­su­lates us in a win­ter co­coon.

My re­la­tion­ship with snow would prob­a­bly be just a love re­la­tion­ship if it could some­how fall ev­ery­where but on drive­ways and roads. It’s just that in ad­di­tion to be­ing beau­ti­ful, it’s hard work! The thing is, I love noth­ing more than to stick my feet into a pair of flip flops and skip out the door in a t-shirt with­out a se­cond thought.

Win­ter changes that. There is no skip­ping out the door, in­stead there is trudg­ing. Go­ing out­side in­volves socks and boots, big coats that keep you warm out­side but cause you to melt when you get to your des­ti­na­tion. It re­quires shov­el­ing and walk­ing with tiny shuf­fling foot­steps so that you don’t slip on a patch of ice hid­den be­neath the fluff and break your bones. Then there is the scrap­ing of the car win­dows, re­quir­ing you to leave the house far ear­lier than you have to on a sunny sum­mer day.

So yes, I have a strange love­hate re­la­tion­ship with snow. I think we all do when we live in a place such as this though those of you who em­brace win­ter sports like ski­ing, snow­mo­bil­ing, snow­shoe­ing and cross­coun­try ski­ing prob­a­bly en­joy it far more than I do.

When I wrote my up­com­ing book, I set it en­tirely in win­ter. It’s about over­com­ing hard­ship and I thought, when was it hard­est for our an­ces­tors than in the long days of win­ter? And 1933 was one of the harsh­est win­ters on record, in the mid­dle of the de­pres­sion with record cold across much of the con­ti­nent and sev­eral ma­jor storms on the east coast.

When I look out my win­dow now, I see plows whip­ping by, snow­blow­ers hoist­ing huge snow foun­tains up on to grow­ing banks and many other tech­nolo­gies that aid in get­ting us through the most dif­fi­cult parts of the sea­son.

Back then, that wasn’t quite the case. How did they clear a path to get from one house to the next or even to get to the store where their nets were or to feed live­stock? Surely, the horses and sleighs strug­gled to carve out the first paths to any­where. It’s cer­tain that the peo­ple, iso­lated from the rest of the world, and oft times from each other, cursed the snow as it fell upon the land.

Two years ago, I was in Florida in De­cem­ber. I mar­veled at the con­stant 26 Cel­sius days and the size of the large red poin­set­tias that were ev­ery­where, and sit­ting, of all places, out­side. I won­dered if we’d been sold a bill of goods on this nar­ra­tive about white Christ­mases be­ing the ideal. After all, it was so much eas­ier to slip on my afore­men­tioned flip-flops, don a sun­hat and go for din­ner on the dock, through the brightly lighted palms, than to tromp through knee-deep snow to scrape of the car to go see the lights around our New­found­land and Labrador town.

But eas­ier isn’t al­ways bet­ter. We’ve adapted to the hard­ships, cre­ated ways to over­come, found a means to en­joy the white stuff. And as I sit here, sur­rounded by sparkling tree branches, a highly ex­cited blue jay is danc­ing on the fence, turn­ing my back­yard into a win­ter scene that would de­light any­one even if their soul isn’t par­tic­u­larly po­etic.

This is my place, the snow is a tem­po­rary thing, (though it doesn’t feel that way when it falls in June!). It’s just one of the many things that makes it so very spe­cial, and very much mine. Merry Christ­mas ev­ery­one!

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