Today, it is cold. But I gained a true understanding of what it means to be born, raised, and making your life in Nearly-Northern Saskatchewan, Canada, when I stepped outside this morning.
I had read the temperature from my phone. My roomie had mentioned that he sincerely hoped it was wrong. This knowledge prompted me to don my faux-down-filled, knee-length coat, hood up, my toque, my scarf and my relatively warm winter boots. I also had leggings underneath my pants. If it was going to be -35 degrees Celsius (-45 with the windchill), I was sure as stupid going to dress for it!
However, the first thing on my mind as I crossed the quiet, still partly dark street on my way to work was “well, this doesn’t actually feel too bad at all.”
What kind of strange, mutant breed are we, the Northern Prairie Canadian, that we run outside in a tank top to start the car, and wear spring jackets until the temperature drops below -30?
I don’t own a bella clava, or a muff, or wear three sweaters under my coat, no matter what the weather might be. I don’t make a specific effort to spend time outside in the cold, but I’m a “wuss” for it, not a normal, sane human being.
Just to punish myself, I loaded the weather reports for Calgary, Alberta; Halifax, Nova Scotia and Ottawa, Ontario onto my phone, along with my local forecast. Right now, it is +11 in Halifax, 0 in Calgary, and -5 in Ottawa, while we hold fast at -26 (-35 with the windchill).
See, it did warm up! And literally, we use the phrase “warm up” for such a shift from “Holy-Bloody-Hell-It’s-Like-Antarctica-Here” to “Good-Grief-It’s Fricking-Freezing”!
How did we get to be so tough? It probably has something to do with our parents bundling us up and booting us out the door to walk to school since we were six, signing us up for skating and skiing by age four, and forcing outdoor playtime ever since Zellers made snowsuits small enough for us.
In the end, grateful as I am for my bag lunch and the fact that the temperature has risen a little teeny bit throughout the day (assuming it won’t already be dropping again by 5 o’clock), I am nonetheless amazed at how resilient the Saskatchewan people are. -45 with the windchill? Pfft. When I was a kid, we had to walk ten miles to school through the blinding snow and freezing wind, wearing nothing but a bunny hug!