Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Living in the Land of Winter

When I was young I lived in Northern Ontario in a place called Sudbury. They mined nickel there, and the city became famous for the gigantic replica nickel they built from the sweat of the men who lived in the shadow of the stacks.

The winters were long and bleak, and when it snowed it covered the cars and the snowplows left unknown lumps on the side of the streets. If you were lucky you spent an hour uncovering a vehicle and found it was really yours.

In that land of snow and ice I was an ice princess. Back then our front lawn ended in a ditch of flowing water that swelled incredibly in the spring and froze solidly during the winter. This was my own private skating rink and I was an ice princess as I skated back and forth between our driveway and the next.

The city workers would have to come around on a regular basis and shoot steam through the culverts that ran underneath each driveway to keep the water running. From there they followed the ditch which turned into a small stream as it wound around behind the houses 2 doors up. They battled that thing with everything they had, turning a smooth skating rink into huge blocks of ice which they piled haphazardly and with contempt on the side of the stream. The heat from the steam made the bottoms of the chunks slippery and they constantly slid down the banks and piled one atop the other or spread apart as if they were curling rocks.

It was here that I really became the Ice Princess. The blocks of ice were my castle and I moved among them, pretending I was climbing the grand staircase or giving orders to the maids. It kept me busy. Sometimes I was so busy dreaming of my gowns and a knight in a shining ice cape, that I didn't notice the passing of the time until I heard my mother call from far away. I could always hear the hint of fear in her voice as she called, but back then it was a safer world to play in unattended and in the dark.


After weeks of a dry but desperately cold winter, we finally received some warmer temperatures, and of course with that comes snow. And did it snow! I pretended I wasn't worried about The Man driving 40 minutes through the whiteouts and over roads the police had already closed a couple of times as they cleaned up car parts and people. I pretended I wasn't worried at all as I watched the snow mount up on the deck railings and plastered itself against the windows like it was supposed to live there.

When our housemate Sam came in - his trusty four by four steed bringing him home safe and sound, I pretended that the snow that was halfway up his boots was just a skiff! And when The Man finally came through the door and brushed himself off with the broom I sent up a small but very grateful 'Thank You' prayer.

Only then did I venture out myself to take the following pics -

When morning came, all you could see of the sidewalk lights were the very top squares. I wish I had taken a picture of it to complete this set. Not to worry. There is still plenty of time for us to enjoy another couple of snowstorms before our winter is done.

Of course Alberta has had one of its famous chinooks and there are big patches of brown grass showing through the snow now. It is NOT a pretty sight. Everything is dirty looking once more and I didn't think there was any way I could make that look pretty enough to photograph.


Leatherdykeuk said...

What fabulous pictures and I love the tale of the Ice Princess :)

Breezy said...

hi thanks for the visit.

I know the snow is no fun but I am a wee bit jealous

softinthehead said...

Loved your little tale of the Ice Princess Aims. But I am not envious of your snow, here in Quebec we are experiencing a period of warm weather +11 - I won't tempt fate by saying "early spring". But it is great not to have to put my boots on when I go outside :)

Daryl Edelstein said...

So good to 'see' you .. and I love that winter wonderland .. we had no snow this winter and today was 60 degrees at 7 a.m.

Akelamalu said...

That really is a winter wonderland!

annbumbly said...

Last year at this time we had 3 - 4 feet of snow on the ground. This year? One big and hugely damaging snow storm last Oct. 30 (Halloween was actually cancelled and moved to November!), and two more piddlin' ones. And that's it!
Such weird weather!
Love your night photos - my camera isn't good enough for that.

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Maggie May said...

I like the lights along the walkway but you can keep the snow!
Spring has sprung in my neck of the woods but it has been a hat, scarf & gloves kind of day today ...... but the sun is shining, weakly, but shining.
Maggie X

Nuts in May