The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Monday, December 22, 2008

Getting equipped

by Tamara Lee

The recent snow here in Vancouver has put everyone in limbo: Are we going to risk travelling the Sea-to-Sky highway for the holidays? Will the plane be on time? Will the snow ever actually stop? Yes, it’s true, we still seem surprised by the snow. My friend said today, when I asked what kind of tires he has on his vehicle, “All-season… This is a season.”

Smug easterners go on and on about how much we’re griping about this latest snowfall, but the fact is, no one ever expects this sort of snow here. Not even the powers that be at eastern HQ for Canada Post, who decided not to equip Vancouver mail trucks with winter tires, claiming we don’t need them. And the little town of Bellingham, an hour south of Vancouver, sold all their snow clearing machinery a few years ago (much of it to us).

But when I was a kid, growing up in North Vancouver—a municipality sat on the side of a mountain—snow usually managed to find its way down to us. So my childhood memories are full of snow-filled Christmastimes, with making snow angels and chasing leaping dogs, before heading inside for hot chocolate with the little marshmallows. I always had a proper ski jacket and snow boots, with mittens (tied together with that string that always managed to leave a rub-burn on my back) and toques and scarves to choose from.

What happened? When did I stop having these essential winter items, I wonder. Sometime around my late teens, I think. But I’m not sure if the snow stopped coming, or I decided to defy weather first.

And yet, here we are. A few days before Christmas, I have bought a ski jacket and I’m now thinking about buying my first pair of real snow boots since I was 15. There’s a fresh blanket of snow on the ground. That feeling of diving into untouched snow still gives me a charge. If I'd grown up anywhere else in Canada, would I get that same charge by this novelty? Maybe so; but the surprise of snow still turns me into the little girl pulling the tiny red sled through a makeshift snow fort.

Another Christmastime tradition that thrills me: Dylan Thomas reading "A Child’s Christmas in Wales."

Season’s greetings to all!

(Image credit: Splityarn)


Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Oh boy, you're right, we're not equipped. It's not supposed to look like Toronto in Victoria. I feel as though I've been transported back. We saw scores of children sledding down the big hill at Beacon Hill Park today and I wondered how all those sleds materialized so quickly.

Tue Dec 23, 01:58:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Jacqueline said...

A beautiful post, Tamara.

You reminded me of my childhood in Toronto.

Tue Dec 23, 02:58:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

Merry Christmas, all you Crazy Canucks! I heart you all!

Wed Dec 24, 06:41:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger T. Lee said...

Thanks for popping by, ladies! Hope you had a nice holiday. I've just returned from my holiday up in Whistler where there appears to be less snow than in the city. Now we're waiting on floods and roof collapses...

Sun Dec 28, 10:53:00 pm GMT-5  

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