Cold Love

It is bitterly cold this week - so cold the snow is "squeeky" when you walk on it! I love it!

Yesterday I was outside 2.5 hours over three outings with my "Personal Trainer" Hudson. Dogs have the right idea - dress for the weather (Hudson's currently "wearing" about 3" of winter hair) and if you're cold, move around faster and warm up! He reminded me of myself and by friends and siblings growing up.

We never, ever bemoaned winter weather conditions. Needless to say I cannot bear to watch television weather reports now - all that drama over cold in Canada in the winter! Spare me!

During my childhood my Dad called the television the "idiot box". (CFL games, Pro Golf and of course, The Leafs were its only redeeming programming. Even the 3 Stooges were off limits to us - too violent with all the hitting and slapping to be appropriate for children!) So if we weren't in school, in bed or at the table eating, daylight hours (and more than a few dark ones after early sunsets) had us outside...building forts, skating, tobogganing, shoveling driveways, delivering papers or frankly just standing around chatting as we chewed the little snowballs off our hand knit mittens. (Hey maybe my affection for "woolly wool" comes from having ingested it as a child!)

Once past the point of wearing "Snow Pants" Our bell bottom jeans, crusted with snow from walks to school, recess, home for lunch, back to school, afternoon recess would melt as we sat in class yielding soggy socks, damp calves and ankles. By high school the "coolest" kids even had salt stains half way up the lower leg!

Hockey ruled the world. Every boy played. Every. Boy. Any unpoliced patch of ice featured a game. The sound of slap shotted tennis balls hitting metal garage doors rang through the cold air every afternoon and weekend, nets sat akimbo atop driveway snowbanks when not in use but more likely spanned the middle of most side streets whenever kids weren't in school.

Every side entrance - and that was generally as far as you got into anyone else's house - was jammed with hockey bags and boots and mitts, jackets and hats.

We were free to go anywhere in the neighbourhood and our activities were planned and scheduled by us, facilitated by us, policed by us. Occasional injuries were nursed by us. (Split lips from falling or crashing into someone elses's head mid game were remedied with a chunk of ice - such vivid memories of how snow turns a bit of fresh blood almost instantly brown!).  Rarely would we even tell a parent about such a minor injury later at the table too busy waiting our chance to tell the more exciting adventures of the day.

We ate exactly three times a day. At home. At the table. After giving thanks together. We made it our business to be home in time for those meals. None of us wore watches. My curfew was always "when the street lights go on".

When we were "sick" i.e. with a fever or actively nauseated we stayed home, in bed.

Water came from the tap. 2% milk was the beverage of children. Pop was for adults to mix with Rye on special occasions.

We weren't as sophisticated as kids are now but boy we were lean and tough and self reliant and I never remember feeling anything other than the master of my own destiny. I knew what I had to do to be successful and exactly where the lines were. How I wanted to play it was up to me and the consequences - good and bad were all mine too.

Cold was one of those lines. We didn't fear, loathe or resent it or look to our parents to help us cope with it. It just was and we enjoyed the slippery, slidey, tinglly-sore bounty it brought us each year. As with everything else in our lives failing to respect it brought consequences - aching hands after too long in the snow wearing the mitts you liked the look of rather than the warmer ones, a tailbone tender sore after one too may trips over the "jump" the big boys built on the toboggan hill, permanently chapped lips, a sore head from falling on the ice you just couldn't resist trying to slide on.

Yesterday I revelled in the cold bright sun (I got a sunburned scalp!) and thought about all these ways cold makes me feel at home. Last night, feeling full of fresh air and exercise I was too tired to knit! There's more cold in store today. I think I'll wear a hat - don't want to get any more sunburn - and try to save a bit of energy to work up a sleeve for Ranger tonight.

Thanks for dropping by! If its cold today where you are...why not try to enjoy it!


Brendaknits said...

This was so much fun to read. And a good come-uppance for me. I have fallen from Canadian grace and have been dreaming of warmer climes. Yesterday I cut my walk short because I couldn't stand my cold forehead. Minus 23 here today.

Kayla said...

This is the childhood I want for my daughter!!!

Your writing is beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

Kathy said...

Some here think I'm crazy, but we can't wait to retire to move NORTH! Our kids are in VT now, and we all LOVE winter. We shiver better than we sweat, for sure! I love the crunch in the snow, the fresh air, even sheets hung out to freeze dry! Thanks for this fun to read post!

Acorn to Oak said...

Great post and so well written. I really enjoyed reading about your childhood. It took me back in some ways but definitely not the cold part. I grew up in a very different climate. We had to drive up into the mountains to see snow. And, the snow and cold up there were nothing like what you described. When it snows in our mountains, it's usually just a day or so and frigid temps and squeeky snow are rare. It usually warms up again the next day into the 40's or so. Down the mountain, where I grew up and where I live now, the day time high temps in the winter usually range from the 50's to the 80's. Nights can get a little cold and sometimes dip into the 20's and 30's. We get an occasional cold snap like we had about a week ago where the daytime temps didn't rise out of the 40's. But, that's pretty rare. And, snow? Down here, we might get a little once every decade or so. Since I'm not used to the kind of cold you live in, I'd be a wimp. I'm even a wimp with the cold here sometimes. But, I've been trying to bundle up and go out in it more. We even went for walks on a Thanksgiving Utah vacation when the morning temps were in the 20's and 30's. I was quite proud of myself. I bet that gives you a chuckle though. lol Enjoy your walk with Hudson today. I bet it's beautiful. :-)

Nancy said...

Loved your post, Marie! It reminds me of walking to Jackson in running shoes, no hat and short ski jacket. And all spare time was spent outside playing hockey in winter and baseball in the summer. Loved those days and sad that many of the kids today will not have those types of memories.

juicyknits said...

Oh what a great post. I also love the cold. Thank you for such a wonderful read.