Snow in Winnipeg is nothing unusual. We generally have the white stuff here on the ground from November until May. But I think most people would agree that this year the snow has been more of a presence in our lives than it usually is.
There’s no question that we’ve had more snow than usual, although apparently the quantities are nowhere near record-breaking. Maybe it’s giant piles at every intersection or the unrelenting cold that have made it harder to get out there and shovel.
Maybe it was the graders everywhere, giant machines that dominate the streetscape this time of year. The operators of those monsters are pulling some impressive shifts While we are all grateful for passable roads, the windrows that imprison us in our own driveways are another peculiarity of winter in Winnipeg.
People are getting tired of it. Tired of the shovelling, the cold, the slow traffic, the icy sidewalks. There are hints of spring to be seen — a few buds, a chirping bird. The days are longer, the sun seems a little stronger.
At the same time, this is when we celebrate winter at Festival du Voyageur. Snow sculptures, maple taffy made in the snow, tobogganing, sleigh rides and ice bars. People are out in their parkas and tuques, playing in the white stuff as though it were their best friend.
Some years it is freezing cold during Festival, other times the sculptures melt before our eyes. Yet attendance is always good. We love Festival, and we can’t imagine it without snow.
I have been in Winnipeg for nearly 20 years, and I still marvel every year at the complicated relationship we have with our harsh, beautiful climate. We complain bitterly as we shovel yet we never miss a beat or close anything down in conditions that would paralyse a lesser city.
Sometimes, however, it is worth pausing to contemplate that beauty.
What do you think?
Hadass Eviatar is a community correspondent for West Kildonan. Check out her blog at: http://hadasseviatar.com/blog/