Sunday, 3 February 2019

Childhood in a Canadian Winter

Childhood in a Canadian winter is slumping on the school bus beside your best friend, sweating in your ski pants and jacket from the blast of the heater on high, backpack still behind you, digging in under one armpit, shoving you forward on the vinyl seat, your Sorel boots absently kicking the metal of the seat in front as you design patterns on the frosted window.

When you bounce off the bus, your breath catches in the crisp dry freeze that rushes to meet you. The snow is a muffled crunch under your feet dulled by your scarf and toque (both over your ears) and you flex your arms to feel the crackle in your outerwear as the humidity instantly transforms to ice.

The sun is already on its descent and apart from the noise as you scuffle up and down the banks of gravel and ice that line the roads, the cold and the last rays of sun instill a sense of complete calmness and stillness.

Your fingers and toes start to chill even under all the layers as you concentrate on kicking an ice block all the way along the sidewalk until it finally disintegrates into powder. 

You are home and you knock into the house to sudden noise and another rush of heat and the smell of supper cooking. The door slams shut on the frozen quiet and you struggle out of all the layers, backpack slamming to the floor, boots still captive in ski pants, with jacket in a pile, like a snow kid melted there and left a slumped heap, to dash in for some hot chocolate and maybe a cookie. 

You huddle over the floor register as your fingers and toes tingle with sensation and as you relax into the coziness, you yawn, wondering if it will be warm enough to play outside at recess tomorrow. 

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