Thursday, January 11, 2007


Imagine they held a winter festival, and forgot to invite winter

Warning: Those of you reading from the Prairies might want to breeze past this one. Sucks to be you, doesn't it?

Been a long time since I blogged about the weather. Did you know that as a Canadian citizen, we're constitutionally obligated to discuss the weather at least 37 per cent of the time? And with a winter like this, especially with the undewhelming performance of the Senators (hockey being the other topic we are constitutionally obligated to discuss), there's nothing else worthy of conversation.

What the heck is up with this weather, anyway? It's mid-January, and we're still waiting for winter to arrive. We've had two, maybe three snowfalls, plus a few dustings. The temperatures have been in the range of ten or more degrees (Centigrade, bien sûr) above the norm almost every day. Quite frankly, as a cautionary tale on global warming, it's scaring the hell out of me.

Every February, Ottawa has a winter festival called Winterlude. Central to Winterlude is the Rideau Canal, a 7.8 km skateway recently certifed by the Guiness people as the world's longest. Also popular are the ice scupltures and the snow playground.

Who would have imagined that Winterlude, nestled deep in the cold heart of February, would be in jeopardy due to unfreezing temperatures? In the Citizen today, they had a little graphic stating that we need at least 10 days of temperatures below -15C for the Canal to freeze. There are only 22 days until the start of Winterlude, and the long-term forecast doesn't show a single day that will get that cold.

To my great surprise, I'm finding that I'm actually missing the winter weather. I miss the way the snow insulates sound, so that when you go for a walk on a snowy winter evening, the world is peacefully silent except for the crunch and squeak of snow under your boots. I miss the ruddy hue on the boys' chubby cheeks. I miss that biting, shocking blast of cold that snatches the air out of your lungs when you first step outside.

Who knew it was possible to have a year without a winter? And who knew I'd be disappointed? It's just not right, I tell you. There are some things we can count on, and a cold Canadian winter should be one of them. It's just not right.