They measure snow with a ruler, you know. Or a metre stick. Nothing fancy.
In December, in St. John’s, our first snowfall gave us thirty centimetres and I thought I’d never get through another winter. I stood still on a sidewalk, wondering how to navigate the ice, and said aloud “I can’t do this.”
My reflections on 2015 are just so. The year that was and will never be again. Shaky ankles on an icy sidewalk, a frightening promise of broken bones. During the slick St. John’s winters we all lose our cool, or at least cover it in thick layers of wool. Our typical downtown loping strides turn into tiny hops. Cautiously penguin-stepping down the middle of the road and into the new year.
I am afraid. What if I fall, and what if I fail.
But those first thirty centimetres are long gone and 2015 ended gently. What snow and ice has come since is still terrifying on these hills but somehow one grows accustomed. We do that every time. We say good riddance and tuck our chins into our chests and wait for the light to grow.
Somebody said it’s a minute a day. It’s probably not that precise, but still.
In the final minutes of 2015 I was riled into a spirited force, some delightful place between disorderly and hopeful. The old year is so tired and dull. The new year is full of promise and sunlight. I do that every time. Gather up a years worth of living and ball it up like painters tape. Measure it by it’s crumpled mass, it’s edges yellowed and dusty and softened. Try and throw it away, but it sticks.
Winter is a repetition. But it never promises to be anything different. Not like the voices of spring and summer that sing and beckon. Winter sits on us and refuses to change and we have to live around it. We listen to it intently while it whispers adoringly in lamplight and we hide away, small bundles, while it moans.
And we stick a ruler in it and measure the hell out of it. Five, ten, thirty centimetres. And one minute a day. One precious, sunny minute more, every day.
Stay safe and warm.
You can help homeless and at-risk youth in St. John’s stay safe and warm this winter by donating to Choices for Youth, here.