Face it, Toronto: it snows here
For the past two weeks, I have tried to resist blogging about snow, snowstorms, icy sidewalks and uncleared roads. To me, writing storm stories is like writing about growing grass. Snow and ice happen in winter. Eventually they go away, by one means or another, and the elderly stay indoors for a few days, while the rest of us trundle through—life in a northern town. Meanwhile, every other media outlet in the city can’t exact opposite. enough of this stupid story. So I’m belatedly joining the fray, just to rub it in by letting everyone know how much I am really, really enjoying all this snow.
Sure, I have my complaints (specifically about neighbours who shovel their share of the sidewalk as though they were hoeing a row in their garden, tracing one thin line of pavement down the centre of the walkway as if to test passersby for intoxication), but these miscreants, like most Torontonians, are merely following city hall’s lead: the preferred solution is to just push the snow aside and let the warm weather make it disappear. This amounts to betting against winter, which is dumb. Then, when the bet doesn’t pay off, the city and its citizens get flustered and start pointing fingers at one another, which is crass.
I find the snow brings a welcome measure of unpredictability to a city that, sadly, doesn’t like surprises. Yesterday I gave up even trying to push a stroller through the snow and just carried my son to daycare, a decision born of frustration, but which ended up transforming a daily commute into an adventure. I also like shovelling. (Did I just say that out loud?) I like the weight of a full shovel in my hands, and the satisfaction I experience from tossing a load of snow right into the bull’s eye my imagination has drawn in the top of the snow bank. Truth be told, there’s a lot of muscle coordination that goes into the shovel toss, not to mention a keen sense of the prevailing winds (lest your toss get blown back in your face). Shovelling snow is a skill; mastering the moves takes practice. Having grown up in Edmonton and Montreal, I learned them as a kid. Maybe kids who grow up in Toronto never learn them. Hence the garden hoe technique.
Living in Toronto, snow is one of the things I miss most. I find the sepia-toned winters of bare trees and dead grass rather depressing. My Canada features a blanket of white that lasts from early December to mid-March, and snowbanks that grow to be as tall as a seven-year-old child. What we have right now is just a few centimetres short of my ideal winterscape.
As luck would have it, I had a busy January and never got around to taking the Christmas lights down off the tree in the front yard. So last night I turned them on, a festive beacon urging mother nature to hit us again.