Saturday, February 9, 2013

Walking: The Sounds of a Snow Day

Jack Frost was too busy to tap at my window the other night. I dare say the poor chap was probably hidden in an alcove somewhere clinging for his life as the winds were uproariously vicious; merciless. And it wasn't just the wind; it was the snow that flew with it. On average twenty to forty centimetres of snow landed in Southern Ontario. The storm left a swath of snowbanks dotting the landscape with little mountains.

My kids scaling the mountain of snow removed from the train station parking lot.
 Snow storms of such magnitude rarely occur here so what to do when the opportunity presents itself? Why, walk of course!
Now, I am not a fan of the cold. In fact I despise it. I like the humid tropical heat found in the south and the muggy evenings by the lake in the Canadian summer. Snow however, I like. Blizzards I like even more. So I grabbed my friend, who grabbed her camera, and we set out to explore the very heights of the city encased in this extraordinary natural event. The roads were slippery and thick with rutted snow. My wipers froze up requiring that I jump out and clear them every ten minutes. Trucks were trapped trying to turn corners and everywhere the sound of wheels turning and engines revving could be heard. Everywhere people were out helping their neighbours shovel and push cars out of deep snow. My friend noted the beauty in these situations that bring communities together.My wipers danced in tune to the music in the car. We made it though. We arrived to a barren landscape that was the parking lot at Fort Henry Hill.

If you look closely you can make out kite boarders in the distance.
Photo Credit: Cheryl Robinson

The wind screamed at us and in the distance was the audible swoosh-swoosh of a kite as it swooped and sashayed in the sky, pulling snowboarders up and down the hill. I was determined to capture the essence of the day so my friend and I ploughed on around the fort to where we could see the city. Of course, the city was hiding under the cloud of snow. What should have been the cityscape and lake before me was only a swarm of snowflakes buzzing en mass like a giant white hive of albino bees.
There is no walking in the snow, only ploughing through.
Photo Credit: Cheryl Robinson
Returning to the car we had to face the wind. We wrapped our scarves around our heads but the wind found its way in to snap at earlobes and to bite at our eyes. The only sound was the insular rhythm of our breathing and the flapping of our hoods.
Our second stop was closer to the lake. We walked around the dry docks where the summer cruise boats rest. They sat, sleeping, hibernating, huddled together with eyes closed daydreaming about the sunny days and warm blue-green waters.

What sounds does mother nature bring to you today?

Walking at the dry docks.
Photo Credit: Cheryl Robinson

They sang themselves to sleep, surrounded by the lullaby of water trickling,bells and the sting of the mast lines as they slapped against steel. I was enthralled by the harmonic steel band songs coming from the seeming graveyard of boats.
Of course there are the inevitable sounds that come with a snow storm. The buzzing of snow throwers and snow blowers. The rumble and scraping of the snowplows and the stumbling crunch of sidewalk plows that bumble precariously down the streets. The whoops and hollers of the kids who are granted a snow day and of course, the hiss and screams of the kettles that keep us in supply of our tea and hot chocolate.

Me on the left walking, sidewalk plow on the left.
Photo Credit: Cheryl Robinson

Pictures speak a thousand words so I leave you to contemplate the sounds of the snow and with a couple of pictures that my friend so graciously captured for me during our adventures. They scream 'winter'; a picture of me bracing against the blizzard and a picture of my companion backpack Buddha who has started to walk with me.

The snow stung my face while the wind stole my breath.
Photo Credit: Cheryl Robinson
Buddha on a bench in a blizzard.
Photo Credit: Cheryl Robinson

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