Winter is often harsh, bitter and cold in Canada. The cold and the wind snaps at our legs, scrapes our faces raw, and bites the tips of our fingers. Our eyes water, our noses run.
We celebrate our ability to tough it out. It makes us feel alive. And that experience of that special warm burn of our rosy skin as it begins to warm up. Only we who know the cold know that deliciousness. When we brave the elements, we say this is what being Canadian is about! We say it with a strange kind of almost manic exhilaration.
We have to tell ourselves that. Otherwise, how could we bear it, this unrelenting harshness? Day after day, week after week, month after month, when by March we are all snapping at one another.
But the truth is, when you’ve dressed properly, and you take the time to look, winter has a softness about it at times, maybe even a kind of sadness, as the day comes to a close, that it should be so reviled, so misunderstood. The dusting of snow caressing the curves of a field highlighting shapes we haven’t noticed before; the gentle but passionate colour of the sky embracing the earth: it’s not all icy blues and blinding whites. It never is.
Softness at times, like fighting lovers who pause, exhausted perhaps, to briefly remember the love they once shared, a small smile, a glimpse of softness, softness before it descends into darkness.