For me, visions of hell have never included a flame-filled pit of despair.
Instead, hell is crowded blankets of white. Crusted snow drifts that block doors and roads, stopping hopeful travelers in their path. It’s perpetually dripping noses, skin frozen after mere minutes of exposure.
And most of all, it is the chill wind. That which cuts through layers of clothing like a hot knife through butter, that which viciously whips the snow and destroys all hope of visibility.
That’s what I grew up with. For at least half of every year, snow and arctic temperatures had me constantly dreaming of palm trees. When I was old enough to move on, every step I took away from home was directed south. There may be a lot of great things about living in northern Alberta, but for me, winter is not one of them. It’s brutal. It’s depressing. It’s seemingly unrelenting.
I never imagined that winter could actually be enjoyable. That if the cruel wind (characteristic of the Alberta prairie landscape) was taken away, the season takes on a whole new look of voluptuous snow flakes falling gently, where only slight breezes cause nothing more than a shimmer of crystals in the bright sun…
Ever spent a winter in Winter? Now we can say we have.
See? No unsightly drifts, just a perfect blanket of white on our frozen lake, the only blemish being a set of deer tracks.
I still may not be the first person to run out and make snow angels or build forts, but I am grateful for these few months that are showing me that winter can actually be pleasant.