Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wednesday's Words for February 4, 2009

I’ve been patient, and I’ve been understanding. But I’ve come to the point where I’ve decided enough is enough.

Someone ought to shoot that groundhog.

Which groundhog, you may ask? In the United States, the most celebrated weather-prognosticating rodent is Punxsutawney Phil. In my area it’s Wiarton Willie. And the answer to the question would be: either, or both.

Six more weeks of winter? Give me a break. The purists amongst you are sure to say, “Morgan, be reasonable. Winter is the same time every year, just three months commencing on December 21st and ending on March 21st”.

If that is your belief, then I must say to you: pshaw!

Winter, my friends, at least here in southern Ontario, begins October 1 and ends March 30th. If we are lucky.

Yes, six long months. I don’t care what the calendar says. In October I’m reaching for my sweater and by March I am reaching the end of my rope.

I hate the cold, I always have. And as I get older, I only hate it more. The cold restricts my mobility, for with cold weather comes snow and ice. Under the best of circumstances, getting around is a challenge when you use a cane. Winter can be downright dangerous. Although, on my last visit to the blood-sucking clinic (thus called because every time I go they want my blood) I saw a man who had a metal device attached to his cane, what he called a “sticker”. When he flipped it down, it provided what I can only characterize as an ice-pick on the bottom of his cane. That might help a little, if I could be certain I wouldn’t forget to push it back up when I hit the indoors.

I hear commercials on the radio urging us to be “winter active”. “Go outside!” they proclaim in an unearthly cheery voice. “Skate, ski, toboggan…have fun! Winter is an amazing time for activities!” I suppose if I was a few decades younger, I would. Actually, if I could move well on my own, I probably would at least go for walks.

No, at this time of year my only solace is the pool, and a dream of springtime.

I was wondering why sane, intelligent human beings ever began counting on rodents to tell us what the weather was going to be. Now, I understand that a couple hundred years back, you could maybe tell the severity of the coming winter by looking at the degree to which the animals developed their winter coats; perhaps you could look skyward on a September day, see a whole lot of geese flying south and think, “oh, hell”.

But we are human beings in the twenty-first century. We are supposed to be the top of the food chain, and here we are placing our hopes, faint though they may be, on a couple of groundhogs, praying they do not see their shadows, so that we can count the days to an early spring.

Yes, I know. Phil/Willie saw their shadows so now six more weeks of winter – which takes us to March 16th. And if spring did begin on March 16th, why we would declare it an early spring. Yes, yes.

Friends, this is no time for logic!

It is, I think, a measure of our desperation to be done with this frozen state that we grasp at any hope, however furry, to see an end in sight.

A friend in Miami tried to offer me the comfort and solace that the weather isn’t perfect there, either. In fact, on a recent journey from that coastal city to a small town southward, he assured me the sun was in his eyes the entire way!

Who says you can’t convey sarcasm in an instant message?

“Morgan,” at least one of you is thinking, “if you hate winter that much, why do you live there?”

Like I said—this is no time for logic.


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