You know, there's still a small part of me that fondly remembers getting up at the crack of dawn to go outside and play road hockey, or go snowshoeing, toss some snowballs around, build snow forts and so on, making it home just in time for supper and the delicious pain of thawing my feet by the gas stove that heated our tiny, uninsulated company house in a company town in Northern Ontario. I like to think of that small part of me as my "inner idiot". Back in those days, the only thing that bothered me about winter was that horrible condition where freezing rain would put a shin-slicing crust of ice on the deep snow, then a light dusting of powder would hide the deadly trap from view.
Sometimes I think that all of that optimism came from the progress of the Space Age (it was the Gemini and Apollo era) and the sure promise that soon -- very soon -- we would all be living safely and comfortably at a year-round room temperature under the giant Plexiglass domes they were going to build any day now. I'm still waiting.
I'll grant that there probably ought to be one of those big-flake snow globe scenes happening on Christmas Eve, and it wouldn't be fair to the kids if there weren't enough snow on the ground to play with the new sleds/toboggans/skis on Christmas Day (and Boxing Day for those who observe it). But it would have to be the kind of snow that is happy to hang around at a more accommodating temperature (10°C/50°F), cannot by any means be made into that perpetual brown salty slush that destroys clothing, footwear and bridges, and has a two-day time limit before evaporating cleanly into thin air.
There is nothing about winter that I like at all anymore. My eyes water, my nose runs, I lose all sensation in my hands and feet. My ears, having been mildly frostbitten at least a half-dozen times a year for nearly fifty years, scream in agony when somebody sets the thermostat two degrees too cold in the house. Drivers seem to delight in aiming for the deepest slush puddles whenever I dare step foot on the sidewalk. People, at least here in Toronto, seem to have forgotten that shoveling, rather than salting, is the best way to clear a foot and a half of snow from their sidewalks and driveways, so there's no way to walk without getting soaked from the knees down (and getting those wonderful tide lines on trousers and long coats). And is it just me, or has it been a heck of a lot windier in the past couple of decades than it was before?
I want winter gone. Not gone for this year -- I mean gone. Altogether abolished. I'm talking about some sort of UN resolution, but one with some teeth behind it. I want it relocated -- permanently -- to those areas where it's supposed to be more-or-less permanent. You know, the places where we want to keep the permafrost permanently frosty. Make the polar bears happy once again; give the penguins something to shout about. Let glaciers glaciate with joy and abundance and the Eskimo, Aleut and Inuit maintain their traditions through countless generations. Just keep it all far, far away from me.
Sorry if I seem a little lukewarm on the issue -- I really haven't given it much thought.