Commiserate: Winter in the North

I live in Canada, eh? (I feel the ‘eh’ is obligatory, but I must mention that this is not quite proper use.)

And while I absolutely love the great white north, there is a full quarter of the year, at least in my little corner of the country, where the miserable weather makes you feel like taking a permanent vacation in a padded room.

So this week, I thought I would paint you a vivid picture of what winter in Canada is really like, in the latest installment of my Commiserate series (read: Jenn complains about something she hates for two full pages).

You Live in the Dark

Summer days seem to go on forever, but by late fall, you start to wonder if the sun even exists anymore.

You wake up in the dark each day, making it almost impossible to pry yourself from your warm bed. And by mid morning, when the sun finally decides to rise, the sky is a horrifying deep grey with a weak light shining far behind the solid ceiling of clouds.

It’s worst in the city where the grey sidewalks blend into the grey buildings, which in turn, blend into the grey sky.

You start to live for those two days a month where the sky is actually blue. But at the same time, it’s a hollow reminder that soon you will be trapped back in your bland grey world.

It’s REALLY Effing Cold

From December to mid-March, Canada is a Frozen wasteland.

When the outside temperature makes it as high as 0℃, you feel thankful for the warmth. But most days you watch it plummet to -20℃ or even -30℃.

Just going outside becomes an event that requires multiple layers of clothing, warm boots, a puffy jacket, hat, mittens, scarf…suddenly everything takes three times longer than it did before.

When you have to venture outside, whether for 30 minutes or 30 seconds, any square inch of skin exposed to the elements feels like it’s burning. Sometimes it hurts so much, it feels like someone is ripping the flesh from your bones.

Each cold, dark morning when you take the dog to both of your doom, you have to devise a plan to get your glove off, pick up the unsettlingly pleasant, steaming pile of poop, and get it back on as quickly as possible.

But your precision doesn’t really matter. Once you take off a glove, your hand will not be warm again until you’ve been back inside for at least an hour.

It’s maddening.

Snow is Everywhere

Pictures of shining crystalline flakes covering the landscape are beautiful. And it can be even more majestic in person. But if the phrase “too much of a good thing” applies to anything, snow is that thing.

Multiple feet of snow means your boots filling with cold, wet liquid. It means struggling to move around outside. It means 15 minutes of scraping ice and snow off your windshield any time you want to drive.

It means more car accidents, slower public transit, and overall more delays getting anywhere or doing anything that doesn’t involve staying in your house.

Cabin Fever is Real

With all of the impediments to going outside, you get to a place where you feel like you might as well stay in. But seeing the same four walls day in and day out is just painful.

You stop socializing, you stop getting fresh air, you stop moving your body as much as you should.

Eventually, your house starts to take on a dark presence. It starts to feel less like a refuge and more like a prison.

You want to do something, but you can’t bring yourself to face the frozen wind blowing tiny ninja stars into your eyes. So you continue to sit there, guilted by thoughts of what you should do, unable to move.

You give into the desire to hibernate, but you hate every second of it. You don’t even really feel like a person anymore.

It’s so dark, why is it so dark?

You turn on every light in your house in an effort to feel better, but you don’t feel better. You just want to feel warm, or see a blue sky, or to walk outside without coating your body in 20 lbs of fluff.

Why does it have to be like this?

Do you ever start to lose your mind in the winter or do you live somewhere sunny and beautiful year-round?

If you’re looking out at beach weather, feel free to rub it in in the comments below.

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