Monday, June 19, 2017

I Never Thought I would say this...but I kind of Miss Winter

As a contract worker, I usually work either through the winter or the summer.  Last year, I worked through the winter and had the summer off which made me quite happy.  I love the warm weather and the activities that come with it.  Swimming, camping, hiking, beachcombing.  Things you can't do much of during a typical East Coast winter.

This year, things were switched around and I ended up not being called back to work through the winter (which means I will most likely be working through the summer or fall) so I've had to suck it up and make the most of the cold weather.  Fortunately, it wasn't that bad of a winter.

My first reaction to finding out I had the winter off was one of disappointment combined with an initial thought of "what will I do with myself".  I had visions of snow-covered sidewalks and ice-covered hiking trails preventing me from going on my daily stroll, air so cold that I would only last a few minutes outdoors and much shorter days that see the sun setting at around 4:30 in the afternoon.  But after dwelling on those negative thoughts for a while, I snapped out of it and decided that I would have to make the most of it.  I'm  not one to sit at home in front of the TV so I had to get creative and think of new ways to enjoy the outdoors in a season that I am not really used to being outdoors in.  And guess what?  I learned to love winter and picked up on a few new skills while I was at it!

Remember back in the fall when Airmiles was reminding customers to use their miles because they would be expiring on December 31st?  I certainly do.  I saved for years to earn enough for a big trip and had over ten thousand miles until I had to use most of them before they went POOF into thin air.  I knew I didn't have the time before the date to go on a trip so I browsed the rewards for something useful I could get with my miles.  Nothing really jumped out at me except the tablet and the snowshoes.  I didn't need either of them and had never used either of these items before.  But since they were the only items that were vaguely appealing, that's what I ordered.  The tablet proved to be useful in ways I never imagined.  I didn't get to use the snowshoes until much later in the winter.  They proved to be quite useful too.

A few years ago, I received a pair of skates for Christmas after I put a hint out to the world that I would like to start again after a 25-year hiatus. A friend of mine skated at the rink in town twice a week so I started going with her.   I was on the ice about two seconds and fell flat on my bottom.  I got back up though and within a few weeks I was getting better.  The following winter, I got even better and this winter, I was at the rink every week improving those long lost skills I had as a child.  I even got the chance to enjoy a lovely evening of outdoor skating on the pond in my old neighborhood.  Yes, I said lovely.  That's because I learned to love winter again.  I love it now as much as I did when I was seven years old.

I tried snowshoeing for the first time a few years ago and didn't really take to it.  Last year, I liked it a little more.  This year, after using my expiring Airmiles points to get a pair that actually fit me properly, I discovered that I actually love snowshoeing.  It's like hiking but on top of snow which means I now get out during any kind of weather to do some hiking!  Unfortunately, although many people around me saw it as a good thing, we didn't really get a whole lot of snow this year in Cape Breton.  New Brunswick got tons and so did PEI.  Newfoundland disappeared somewhere in the middle of the North Atlantic under a blanket of white.  Even the other end of Nova Scotia got more snow than Cape Breton.  Usually I would say this is a good thing but not this winter.  I spent many days hoping each and every storm headed up the Atlantic seaboard would hit us full-force but many of them lost steam or skipped over us completely before hitting Newfoundland.  We got a few decent storms.  Those few outings were enough to get me hooked.  Here's hoping for a blizzard-filled winter 2018!

I got a few hikes in too.  This was the first winter in a long time that I have been able to walk the entire length of Dominion Beach almost every day.  I also went on quite a few trips to Framboise with dad where we combed Ferguson Beach and drove the backroads searching for wildlife.  The only activity I didn't do much of this winter was shoveling.  I can count on one hand how many times I had to dig my car out.

So what are my feelings towards winter, snow and cold now?  Certainly not what they were a year ago!  I haven't gotten the nerve to try winter camping as of yet but it could be in my future.  I can say that I spent enough time outside this winter and tried enough winter activities that I could learn to really enjoy having the winters off!

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