Monday, 20 May, 2024

By The Fibreside

Knitting and spinning on the Sunshine Coast of BC

single post



The thaw at night, out the front window.
The thaw at night, out the front window.

We’re having an unprecedented January thaw here in Edmonton, where even nighttime temperatures don’t seem to be inclined to go below freezing for several days, and the days are sunny, warm and spring-like. Knowing it’s January, of course, winter isn’t over by any stretch of the imagination, and sure enough, we’ll be going back down to -20 C by the weekend (and the daytime highs won’t be much better). And I couldn’t be happier about that, despite the ice I know it’ll bring.

Growing up in Calgary, thaws were a regular winter occurrence; those warm Pacific air masses would blow through and melt absolutely everything every few weeks. It’s not called Chinook Country for nothing. But we moved 2 degrees further north, which puts us out of the normal reach of a chinook. So far this winter, though, we’ve had one, and then this thaw, which stretches all the way to the Yukon. And while Edmontonians may not have as much experience with thaws as Calgarians, they aren’t ones to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Driving through the neighbourhood on the way home today, I caught a whiff of barbecued steak. The hats and gloves are off, and even if the jackets have stayed on, well, they’re not buttoned up as tightly. I’m going to take this opportunity to clear the rest of our driveway, since it’s now nicely softened for me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

But despite all that, and despite the fact that winter is by far not my favourite season, and despite the fact that thaws were a big part of my formative years, I just want a return to colder temperatures. I’m not talking the two-years-ago insanity of being the second coldest place on Earth, and having an 18-storey snow pile. I’ll take a nice -10 or -15 C, even -20. And not too much more snow (even though I know that will be too much to ask – the pile around the tree on the boulevard is already up to over five feet).

I come from good Scandinavian stock, and I was born in this province. When I was growing up, we would cross-country ski every Christmas Day, and lots of times in between. In university, a New Year’s Day tradition with my friends was to get up early and drive out to Banff to go tobogganing. If we went camping between the May and July Long Weekends, we packed winter clothes. I mean, really. If you live in Alberta, you just learn to do things around snow and cold, because otherwise you’re housebound for most of the year.

But I don’t love winter. I get cold too easily to love winter these days. But I do get used to winter. And I love the steadiness of winters in Edmonton. Once it’s cold, it stays there. Once it snows, it stays until spring. This? This isn’t usual. So come on January! I know you have it in you. Let’s get back to normal, shall we?

1 comment on Thaw

  • Karen

    I know how you feel! I may be a few more degrees south of you, but I have childhood memories of large snow piles, sledding all winter, and not seeing the ground from December to March. Last year we had 2 major snow storms, both before and after the official winter. This year we’re on track to not do much better! We didn’t completely lose our snow base on Monday when it hit 60F, but it’s a lot smaller now, and you can see ground under the trees.

    I love winter, but like you – I just want a consistent winter! I’ve got everything from snow jackets, to spring jackets, to rain jackets out as it can’t decide what it’s doing!

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