The snow is falling as I write this on Sunday night. I don’t think it is going to stay on the ground this time, but I know it is only a matter of days and winter white will be here to stay; or at least stay until sometime in March.
Several times a year, usually as seasons change, someone asks me what my favourite season is. Each time I reply that I don’t have one. I live in a very distinct four-season area, and can cite pros and cons for each one. To me one season is pretty much like another.
Then again, I do notice when I miss a season. When we lived in Liberia we experienced something that was new for us, a two season climate. It was either wet or dry. Wet was very wet, up to six inches (15 cm) or rain daily. Dry was very dry. There didn’t seem to be much transition between the two seasons.
For a Canadian this was a difficult adjustment. Not so much the weather itself (hard to argue with temperate climate year-round, Canadians secretly like the idea of global warming), but when it is that predictable, what do you have to talk about?
I first noticed the difference when listening to the radio. For Canadians the weather report is pretty much the most important part of a broadcast, especially in the mornings as people are getting ready for work and school. In Liberia there were no weather forecasts. None. Ever.
That made sense when I thought about it, given that in Liberia you can tell what the weather is going to be by the date on your calendar. Who needs hourly updates?
With no winter in Liberia, I discovered that I was missing the cold and the snow. I had never thought that would happen, but then again, I had nothing to base that thought on. I’d never even taken a warm-weather winter vacation. While the weather never did get cool, I did manage to have at least one Canadian winter experience.
On a side trip to Abidjan, in Cote d’Ivoire I hunted out one of the only two ice skating rinks in Africa back then (the other was in Johannesburg). I am not a great skater. I can barely stand on the blades at the best of time, have difficulty stopping without falling and rented skates are not the best – but I spent a great hour on the ice. And compared to most of the Africans I was a great skater. Right then and there I would have said Winter was my favourite season and that I really missed it.
I wouldn’t say that now. The snow is still falling, melting as it hits the ground. Winter is not here yet, but it may be tomorrow. According to the radio we can expect ten centimetres of snow tomorrow. That will stay. I guess winter is here.