Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m a summer person through and through. I love long days that don’t seem to end, I love seeking shade from the hot sun in the sky, I love how easy it is to get dressed in the mornings what with the not looking for stray mittens, hats, scarves and debating whether a face mask is going too far or not. I love slipping into sandals and not worrying about socks, boots, and cracking your head open on residential roads that never see a plow. I love summer food – the bounty, the abundance, the freshness, the perfect ripeness of a sun warmed strawberry or a tomato.
But I live in a northern land, three thousand feet above sea level, at the foothills of majestic mountains and surrounded by wide prairies. Winter is a fact of life here, and it’s often harsh. Temperatures plunge deeply and without warning, snowfalls bury the city making roads impassable, and winter often lasts beyond all rhyme and reason. This is not a winter from an LL Bean catalogue where families frolic in the sunny meadow building a snowman and sipping hot chocolate. You just know the weather in those photos is hovering just below zero, while you contemplate the arctic parka from Canada Goose while there’s a blizzard outside. And while always welcome in the winter, Chinooks unleash their own mayhem raising temperatures by thirty degrees in hours turning roads into deep slush piles and melting everything in sight. In fact, I’ve recently cultivated an appreciation for skiing, to my own surprise, just so that there’s something else to do besides hibernate by the fireplace.
So around here we need the fall, bittersweet that it is, to ease the transition between the summer fun and the bitter short days of winter. We need to feel the shock of that first night below zero and to begin acclimatizing so that in January we can wear a t-shirt on a sunny + 10 day with impunity. We need to watch the leaves change colors, and bunnies replace their brown summer coats with snow white down. We need to start making stews, chilies and roasts because the oven is just another convenient way to warm the house. It’s like a fireplace only tastier.
Because all too soon we’ll be surprised to see this on our doorstep (only twenty days after our summer high of 32 C), which is nature’s way to dispense with slow acclimatization and just employ some shock therapy on our hides. Just to keep us from getting complacent and all.
Photos by my talented friend Warren Sable who actually knows how to use his camera.