Any port in a snowstorm

Photo credit; Lorne Dmitruk
St. Lucia blues (the good kind)
Photo credit: Lorne Dmitruk

From time to time, I’ve slipped the surly bonds¹ of prairie winter and booked a tropical  vacation. In 2010, my husband and I celebrated my newly-awarded doctoral degree, dipping our toes into St. Lucia’s white sands and turqoise surf. Last year, our Save-on-More grocery points bought us two  tickets to Mazatlan, where we ambled along Mexico’s longest seawall and explored the cobbled streets of the city’s quaint old town.

Mazatlan sea wall
View from the Mazatlan sea wall

More often, though, if you knock on my door during January and February, you’ll  find me at home – and most of the time,  I’m OK with that.  Maybe I don’t miss what I’ve rarely had.  When you’re a teacher, as I’ve been for much of my career,  administration takes a dim view of abandoning your students right after the Christmas break for less sullen climes and faces.  Not only that, being a child of the prairies, I actually like cozying up in the evenings with Christmas gift books, or turning out the kitchen light to watch snow drift down from the night sky.

Villefranche-sur-mer ramblings
Villefranche-sur-mer ramblings

And on winter Sunday evenings, my husband makes soul-warming dinners of chili and garlic bread, steak and mashed potatoes. This year, he’s been pouring us a pre-meal aperitif of pastis over ice. Its licorice briskness returns me to our sun-splashed  wanderings around Provence last fall. So I’m fairly content right now not to be packing my bags for another major getaway.

But.

This morning, the mercury is quivering at minus 22C.  When we shop for groceries this afternoon,  we’ll be smacked around by winds that will  make the temperature feel more like minus 32.²  My eyes are getting weary  of the black and white still life that is Alberta winter in the city.  I crave any color or sound or smell that tells me nature hasn’t totally abandoned us.  And as winter trudges along, the day-to-dayness of my duties and routines is wearing as thin as a thread-bare quilt.

So, how to have a winterruption ³ without resorting to equatorial relief?  I’ve got some ideas, and I’m  inviting you along to try them out. You won’t need to pack your suitcase, or even leave your house. But I do have one request.  After you read the posts, if you feel inspired to share your own methods for staring down February, do tell. What local harbours do you sail into  when you need a respite from winter?  I’d be especially interested in hearing from those of you who don’t live in frigidly cold climates but still experience the February fidgets. Or maybe, if you live in the southern hemisphere, your fidgets come at a different time of year. That would be fascinating to know about too.

Let’s help each other put a little  spring in our steps, long before we can chuck off our  boots for good.

Summer under wraps for another three months
Summer under wraps for another three months

¹This phrase is from the poem High Flight, by John Magee.

²For those of you on the Fahrenheit scale, when we hit minus 40 C, it will feel the same as your minus 40 F.

³Thanks, Travelocity.ca, for this clever word.

6 comments

  1. Pam…even for those of us in relatively balmy Victoria, this February has been funk worthy, even some of that white stuff drifting down on occasion. So today a friend and I went to an orchid seminar. I’m still a beginner, but how lovely to spend 90 minutes in the company of these amazing plants, learning about their quirky needs and taking me out of myself for a while. Thank you for your reminder of the importance of winterruptions!
    YBS Deb

    • So, being involved with the needs of living things other than ourselves can lift us out of the funk of February. I hear you on that. I am making a second terrarium for my office counter, because constructing the first one during a directed course got my hands in the dirt, something I won’t be able to do here for another 3 months!

  2. While most of my family and friends have their bags tagged “south to any destination that is sunny and hot” for the winter months in an attempt to escape the snow and cold, I have to admit that I still enjoy the “Great White North” and all the wondrous activities it has to offer, not to mention the toasty offerings immediately following. There’s nothing better than snowshoeing with friends all the while being observed by curious, wide-eyed, white tailed deer. Or perhaps it’s a day of carving down the knee-deep, powder slopes of Fernie, followed by Blueberry Tea and nibblies around a fireplace re-living, through vivid descriptions and re-enactments, our harrowing and tremendously comical experiences. If you live where there’s winter, you need to find enjoyment and fulfillment in the season in order to survive. Besides………isn’t that what the Winter Olympics are all about!!

    • Love your winter embrace, Debbie. If you can’t beat it, join it – and enjoy it, right? I get less good at this as the winter wears on. That’s one of the reasons I decided on this theme for the remainder of February.

  3. When I get really desparate for a break from Edmonton winters I sometimes go to the Muttart. It feels wamr and beachy there, and if it is a sunny day I can almost forget how cold it is outside!

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