It has been a very strange winter so far on the Canadian Prairies. Usually, by January 9th we can expect to have at least 30 centimetres of snow on the ground (quite often more). Plus we should be embroiled (pun intended) in an arctic air mass that dips the mercury well below freezing for days on end. A couple of years ago, one night it went down to -46 degrees Celsius, which was ridiculous. I remember the night well, because I had to borrow a hair dryer from my buddy at 2 am so that I could get the latch on my car door to close properly. Driving home 30 km at highway speeds with a door that flies open at each right turn seemed like a terrible idea. The hair dryer did the trick, but the tires were still square for the first few minutes of my drive.
This year, not so much.
It was a brown Christmas, which is a rare occurrence in these parts. I was in Winnipeg for Christmas, and it was brown there too (even odder there than here). In a way it was nice to have temperatures above freezing, but it just seemed so… wrong.
A few days before Christmas, I went for a 5.9 km walk around the neighbourhood to check out how people had decorated their homes. On Christmas Day I went for a 10.8 km jaunt along the Assiniboine River, in a pair of jeans, a three-season jacket, and my new Jets toque. On January 2nd, back home in the ‘burbs, I clicked off another 14.3 km walk. And yesterday, while it was +8 degrees C, I got on a roll and walked for 16.9 km in a little over three hours. My quads and right knee were not thrilled with me today, and they let me know about it every time I stood up, but it felt great to enjoy the outdoors. Surely we’ll get back into ‘regular’ weather patterns soon.
Pathways are not supposed to look like this in early January:
Note the water pooling on the pavement. In the shadows, this switched over to glare ice with a film of water on top. Like Rhymin’ Simon once said – slip slidin’ away.
The lake at the wetlands was likewise starting to melt. Instead of being one vast sheet of ice, powder-coated with snow, it looked more like a giant popsicle that was left out in the sun:
More worrisome were these buds on the willows – they shouldn’t be popping out until March or April:
These kids have a nice rink on the neighbourhood lake. I’ll bet they had a great time out there a couple of weeks ago, but it looks decidedly unsafe today. Plus the ice was way too soft to skate on, and a hockey puck would just drag in the water anyway:
This sign seemed a little redundant, given the conditions:
The weather will probably revert to the mean soon, but I’m glad I was able to get outside for a few nice strolls. I’m actually looking forward to having some nice fresh snow, instead of this slag-ice mess in the shadows.
Had the Nike + iPod app fired up again for musical inspiration; here’s a few memorable songs from yesterday’s shuffle-all-songs playlist:
- “Keep Your Heart” – TV on the Radio
- “Come To The City” – The War on Drugs
- “We Used to Wait” – Arcade Fire
- “The Ascent of Stan” – Ben Folds
- “That Golden Rule” – Biffy Clyro
- “Lady on the Water” – Blitzen Trapper
- “Out There on the Ice” – Cut Copy
- “Home is a Fire” – Death Cab for Cutie
- “A Daisy Through Concrete” – Eels
- “Brilliant Mistake” – Elvis Costello
- “Walking Far From Home” – Iron & Wine
- “Waiting For The Sun” – the Jayhawks
- “Nobody” – Johnny Cash
- “Fake Empire” – the National
- “Daysleeper” – R.E.M.
- “Run” – Snow Patrol
- “Hearts of Oak” – Ted Leo + The Pharmacists
- “Angel Dream (No.4)” – Tom Petty
- “Splendid Isolation” – Warren Zevon
- “Hopeless” – the Wrens
All food for thought, in their own ways. Lots on my mind lately; nice to have a record collection that reads my mind. Kind of spooky, actually.