I live in Winnipeg. Lots of people call it Winterpeg because it’s accurate. And in the winter, there’s a lot of bitching and whining about the weather – too cold, too windy, too much snow, not enough snow, too sunny, too grey, too icy – no matter what the weather is, somebody hates it. That’s fine; people are different and a lot of people live in a climate they don’t love. And it’s easy to complain about the weather, because it doesn’t hurt anyone and it isn’t going to change because a group of people huddle together like penguins and moan.
In Winnipeg, the cold days (like what we have right now) are around -20°C, which is pretty cold. There’s often a wind, and the wind is terrible and makes it feel much colder. Sometimes it gets below -30°C, but not for long. It’s definitely cold, and the days in December and January are definitely short.
In the town where I grew up, in northern BC, the temperature would often drop to -40°C, which is a lot colder. We didn’t get wind when it was that cold; winds would blow warm air down from the mountains and bring chinooks with them, the unseasonable melts that happen a few times in a winter. When the deep freeze happened, everything would become still. The snow had a different sound; a squeak instead of a crunch. The shadows changed colour and became purple; the sky would often be pink. Up north, our daylight around the winter solstice was only 5-6 hours, and I’d go to school before the sun rose and come home as it slipped below the horizon. So I saw a lot of pink, purple, and blue skies. I lived on the hill overlooking the town, and all the moisture in the air would freeze into a fog and settle onto the town like a blanket, with the ski hill lights across the valley twinkling along with the stars. I used to get a chill sitting by the freezing cold window to watch the sky deepen and the stars come out.
I complain about the cold and the winter along with everybody else, but I don’t actually hate it. It’s not pleasant and it’s downright dangerous, but winter has a special kind of magic that I have always loved. The book I’ve just finished writing is a bit of a love letter to winter, and in spite of spending two years working on it, I don’t think I’ve finished writing about the cold, the snow, and the ways humans interact with it.
The winter is magical, and I love it.