Monday, January 15, 2007

On a Dreary Ontario Day

It's cold and wet in my part of Ontario, Canada. This morning, my car was covered with ice from the freezing rain that had fallen during the night. My garage at home is filled with unpacked junk from our move in September, so I still park my car outside. I got an email from a friend in British Columbia earlier today, and he informed me that there are "5-25 inches of snow on the ground depending upon where in Vancouver you are." Sure, we're warm in our homes and cars, but the older I get the more I hate the dreary grey of winter.

I didn't mind the winter when I was a kid. I remember playing outside, building snowmen, snow forts and making snow angels. I remember snowball fights. Now, I hate going outside in the winter. Give me sunshine and warmth, any day.

When I was a kid we had a neighbour who always, even in the heat of summer, complained it was too cold. We all laughed at him. Now, I'm probably considerably older than this guy was at the time, but I can understand how he felt, if only during our bone-chillingly wet winters. Ontario summers get pretty warm and humid, and aren't all that different, or haven't been recently anyway, from Panamanian coastal weather. That's warm enough, thank you very much.

We all change as we get older. Our preferences change. Our tolerances change. Our focus changes. But we are still the same person, really. Unless I try to run a four minute mile (or from the couch to the fridge,) I still feel eighteen years old. Unless I try to lift more than my own weight (or a full beer stein,) I still feel like a kid. Unless I look in the mirror and wonder who is the grizzled geezer looking back at me, I still feel like a handsome young stud, virile, appealing, tireless.

Reality mocks us though, doesn't it. We are the same, yes, but we look different. We can do the same things, mostly, but we have to do them slower. We still turn heads as we walk down the street, but the heads are mounted on furry, four-legged creatures trying to decide whether we are deserving of only a cursory sniffing, or the full treatment of a bite on the ankle, performed as a public service.

I look at my son sometimes, and wonder what it would be like to be fourteen again. I was fourteen years old in 1959. Scary, isn't it? He has the world at his feet, is young, handsome, and has his whole life ahead of him. When I was his age, I had a long, hard struggle ahead of me. He will have a much easier life.

But . . . is easier really better? I wonder. I see so many young sluggards these days, seemingly many more than when I was younger. Maybe it's my imagination, but I have always felt that there has to be some struggle in life in order to get the gears and cogs in us to work optimally. I don't mean illness or infirmity or anything like that, I simply mean that it is better to work for what you have because you then enjoy it more. And if you know how to work and how to think, you are more likely to always have control of your life and to be able to make life serve you, instead of the other way around.

I don't know. See what grey skies have done to me? I sure hope the sun comes out tomorrow. In the meantime, I think I'll reach over and switch on the 'Sunlight Lamp' that my staff practically forced me to buy. They seem to think that I need sunlight, real or simulated, to keep my sunny disposition from disappearing behind a cloudy mien.

Maybe they're right.


  1. We lucked out and didn't get any ice with our recent storm. 4-5" of fresh snow is on the ground, but thankfully no ice. However, it's very cold! Negative 12 (F) when I drove to work today. At least the wind is down. I hate being cold and stay indoors as much as possible with weather like this.

  2. The long-prophesied ice and snow missed us. Today was deceptively sunny, windy and cold. The furnace hasn't shut off since shortly after I got home from work, and I can't wait for spring.

    Winter is definatly a young man's season!

  3. Freezing temperatures in California? It's a good thing oranges here in Ontario come from Florida, mostly.

    What next? The whole world is topsy turvey, but I'm not yet ready to climb on the global warming bandwagon. Temperatures have fluctuated rather dramatically over the millennia and I'm not sure that we simply aren't in a warming phase which will be followed by a cooling phase sometime later.

    In the meantime, brrrrr, it's still too darn cold here!