Hailing from the Lower Mainland, I’ve never really associated November with snow. Frost? Yes. Cold mornings? Of course. But snow?
I don’t remember the last time it actually snowed in November. However, when I look out the window of my residence at the University of New Brunswick, lo and behold there is – snow.
I don’t mean a little dusting of snow. I mean there is over a foot of snow that is just sitting on the ground. When it first started to snow last week, I thought I knew what I saw in for. I thought, “Sure it’s snowing, but it can’t last long. It’ll all be melted by tomorrow morning.”
I was very wrong. There was an actual blizzard Friday night. I’d never experienced an actual blizzard before. It was interesting. There was snow and wind and ice. I went outside and nearly froze. Going out without a coat is no longer an option.
Last Friday’s snow is still here this Friday. It has not melted. Sometimes the wind picks it up and the snow is blown all over campus. With snow all over campus, and me stuck in my room (because it’s too cold to go outside – minus-20 with wind-chill – I got to thinking about winter in Maple Ridge.
I mean, technically, winter doesn’t start until Dec. 21, but late fall and winter are fairly similar. I’m starting to feel it in my bones: winter is coming, and soon. I checked the weather for Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows – frost is on the way. It seems to come earlier and earlier every year.
What makes winter in Maple Ridge special? For me, it was sliding down the hill at the golf course, building a snowman in my yard (and then my neighbour’s yard, because no neighbourhood can have too many snowmen), and, most of all, driving down Lougheed Highway and watching the trees rush past, all covered in frost. I’m so glad that winter is coming.
Sometimes winter is characterized as the ‘sad’ season. Even though it’s the time of year we associate with Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanza, the cold and darkness of winter often make it seem like it drags on after the holidays are over.
In Greek mythology, winter was cold, dark, and barren because the goddess of nature who controlled the seasons, Demeter, grieved for her daughter Persephone, who spent the winter months in the underworld.
However, winter is a beautiful time of year. I love being able to look up at Golden Ears Mountains, standing watch over the town, all silver-white with snow. I like getting up in the morning and seeing the frost gather where dew used to be; I like watching my breath turn into fog and crystallize on the air.
Roger Ebert said, “The very fact of snow is such an amazement.” That’s so very true. The same can be said of winter itself – winter is an amazement. It’s beautiful and wild and so, so windy.
I’ll be back in Maple Ridge in time for real winter to begin. I’m wildly excited to see the mountains and to feel the real winter. Winter in New Brunswick is very wintery, and cold, but it’s not what I’m used to – it’s not the mountains and the fog on the Fraser River and the ice on the road at the end of my street that makes my tires lose their grip (I love rear-wheel drive in the winter).
I don’t think of winter as a sad season. I see it as a season of coming home – bears going home to hibernate, birds flying home to warmer airs, and New Brunswick frost-bitten university students coming home for the holiday break.
Marlowe Evans is a student at the University of New Brunswick from Maple Ridge who writes about youth issues.