As Manitoba winters go, this one has been a contender. Certainly compared to last March, when temperatures soared into the 20s across the province and golf courses were open by mid-month, we have reason to be weary about now. And it isn't over yet, at least if we are lucky.
Flood forecasters tell us that if Mother Nature wants to smile on us, she will keep the weather on the cool side for the next several weeks, and thus the links inconveniently shuttered. The last thing we need is a spell of above-normal temperatures to increase the melt speed of the winter's heavy snowpack, which could result in flood levels equal to 2011 or, worse, 2009.
Yes, in Manitoba it never seems to end. Yet on this long weekend that ushers in April, as many people mark Easter or Passover, we pause to count our blessings. We have the good fortune to live in one of safest and most prosperous countries on the planet. Here on the empty Prairies we take for granted what billions of people in crowded corners of the globe would kill for and, increasingly, alas, will kill for -- an abundance of food, clean air, clean water and open space. We go to bed at night without fear of a knock on the door from someone bent on silencing our opinion of the regime in power. These attributes, of course, are well appreciated by most us, when we stop to think about them, and especially by political refugees and economic immigrants who have flocked to Manitoba by the tens of thousands in recent years.
Which isn't to say Manitoba does not have its challenges. We strain to keep up with the wealthier and more populous parts of the country and we deal with a political climate that seems, at times, both smug and stultifying. Most seriously, we struggle with our persistent inability to relieve the poverty of our First Nations citizens and the terrible social ills that result, not to mention the general drag on our economy.
Yet even here, perhaps, perspective can help. Recently a gentleman from small-town Louisiana, in Winnipeg for a week for some NHL games, wrote a letter to the Free Press to say we are our own worst enemies because of our persistent negativity.
So let's look on the bright side, especially on a weekend of fellowship when we sit down with family and friends, who are the most important reasons we call this place home. In exchange for all the good things, we put up with a few months of winter. It's a small price to pay.