Monday, 5 January 2015

It's Cold Outside

It is winter in Canada. This massive land, beset with ice and snow, is once again huddled and bundled against its only true natural enemy, the cold. This is a land where weather begins in the cold, Arctic north, over the frozen wasteland of a vast northern sea, sweeping across the massive expanse of permafrost supported tundra. The Arctic air masses that form in our great, white north move southward, most often pushed east by the high peaks of the Canadian Rockies, yet often enough even moving over their massifs, high enough to carry their cold load down to the warmths of the Pacific coast, there to bring winter even to those who rarely see snow or ice.

These winds which begin in the north easily sweep down across the Canadian prairies, then further on eastward to the Great Lakes, where they pick up more moisture, delivering their load as snow, ice pellets and freezing rain on what are inevitably the ill-prepared below. No matter how many winters we have here, we all seem surprised at the first great gush of winter precipitation. It happens year after year after year. The problem is, of course, that we know it will come; just not exactly when. It is the great Canadian guessing game. Will it snow this weekend?

That is the other great truism in this country. Bad weather almost always begins on a Friday night, working up its energy and blowing out its contents over the weekend, with the worst of it happening on Sunday night. That way the Monday morning commute couldn't possible get worse. This includes the requisite power outages from lines broken by falling trees and school bus accidents on roads which host merely a suggestion of a plowed surface.

I don't mind the cold, or the snow, or the ice... mostly. I usually hide out indoors, or take it easy and use my truck to get around. In most cases my most difficult passage is across a parking lot filled with slushy ice and snow. Sometimes I park underground, making the whole process easier. Most times I am above ground, exposed to the sub-zero freeze as I struggle my way from my truck lift system, then get my wheelchair and finally close all doors. After this fight, I can head for the doors of the place where I plan to find warmth. I get there; it's just a bit chilly at times.

My only problem today is that I am in Toronto, trapped in a hotel room while Dan is off exploring coin shops in the area. He has his hobbies; I have mine. I have no car, at least not one with hand controls. I have no specific place to go or be. Instead I plan on watching the Junior Hockey Championships today, enjoying a cold beer, perched up on my bed here in my hotel room. My plans for travel today involve going absolutely nowhere. After all, oh baby, it's cold outside.

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