It’s gotten colder here now that November has come. Mostly in the wake of last week’s megastorm blowing through, all the warmth has gone and now we are left with cold. And lots of damp. But mostly cold.
And this means that, looking at the weekly weather forecast, conversation will be peppered with a whole bunch of dirty words. Some of the foulest, rudest, most disgusting words known to man.
I’m talking about the big ones, here. Snow. Wind chill. Ice pellets. Freezing rain.
I hate winter, and no mistake. One of the reasons my parents settled here in Southern Ontario way back when was because they came from areas with some pretty inhospitable winter weather — my father from Newfoundland via Northern Ontario, and my mother from Winnipeg. They were desperate to go someplace warmer, and, not feeling the endless rain of the left coast was that much better a bargain, they headed to where winter would almost be passable.
I come by my hatred of winter honestly.
It’s funny, because my daughter and I are like two souls born into the wrong climates. She who absolutely adores the snow was born on a relatively temperate mountain in Africa, whereas I who would be happy with endless spring weather was unceremoniously dumped in the often-frozen Great White North (specifically where, of course, winter is coupled with ridiculously hot, humid, oppressive summers.)
And so now, another Winter of My Discontent is about to begin, and I check my weather forecast with dread. Any day now, there will be something horrible. Tonight was the first forecast where I noticed a wind chill. I am sure we will soon see the inevitable snow. Ice pellets usually show up around New Years. And around the start of February (if we are very lucky, and not before) we’ll get the dreaded freezing rain.
Snow is one of those dirty words in the forecast which, when viewed by yours truly, will also call forth a torrent of my own, slightly more colourful, dirty words. If you were around here in 2006, you may recall my own personal take on the weather report. I DO tend to take it a little personally, almost as though I am shocked and not just a wee bit pissed off that Nature is bringing ME winter weather. AGAIN.
But that can all change, depending upon what number-of-snowflakes day it’s going to be.
Around here, we base our feelings about winter weather by the number of snowflakes displayed in the day’s weather forecast icon. (I think I may have posted about this before. But.) On a day calling for snow, we look at the little icon on the Environment Canada forecast. If it’s a cloud with three snowflakes? There won’t be too much snow, and it likely won’t accumulate. Four snowflakes, and we’ll see some flurries, and what we do get will probably stay on the ground. Six snowflakes, and we start talking in centimetres.
The only snowflake icon greeted with any joy around here, with any anticipation, is the beloved EIGHT SNOWFLAKES. If we have eight snowflakes, you can almost hear the choir of heavenly hosannas accompanying the weather forecast. Eight snowflakes means it’ll be a bastard of a good snow. Eight means maybe there will be a snow day. Eight means staying indoors and warm. Eight means it might be fun.
We look forward to eight snowflake days. Accompanied by giant red weather warnings. Those are good days. And fairly rare, which is why they are fun. No swearing on THOSE days, oh no.
So as we make our way through the endless damp of November, I start to brace myself for the foul words that mean foul weather is on its way. And start tuning up my own foul language to express my joy that once again, winter is coming to Canada.