Don’t Fall for this Spring is Here Scam, Get Out While You Can!
It’s snowing outside. In fact, it’s been snowing for the past two days. All signs of spring are gone, wiped out by this white bullshit.
It’s Easter Weekend! And not an early, end of March Easter but a mid-April Easter and it’s fucking snowing! Big, white chunks of frozen hell are falling down, covering my driveway, my car, my trees, the sprouts of grass that were beginning to turn green.
What the hell am I doing here? Why do I torture myself by continuing to live in this never-ending winter?
This is what I ask myself every spring that isn’t really spring. Because this happens every year. The snow starts to melt, we think the hell of winter is over, even consider putting away the coats and the snowpants and the toques and the mitts, but we don’t, because we know it’s coming. This final slap in the face. This bully, shaking us, screaming, “What? You thought you could have spring like the rest of the world? Really? What the hell is wrong with you? There is no spring in northern BC. Sure, the rest of the world might have it, but not you. Oh no, you northerners must suffer!”
This is exactly why we are not suffering from over-population. This is why Dawson Creek will always be a small city and it will take hours to get to anywhere with a population over 100,000, because no one wants to suffer through this bullshit. Very few people have the mental fortitude to live in eternal winter (except maybe Jon Snow, because, well, he’s Jon fricken Snow and he can rock a fur cloak like no one else!).
People need spring! They need something to hope for! An end to the darkness (and I mean that literally; not only are our winters long and eternal but they’re dark too), a removal of the wool socks, a baring of the ankle (no, not leg. Don’t go crazy on me here. There is no way spring would ever be warm enough to bare an entire leg. Even capris are a little risky this time of year, as you can see…).
So why am I here?
I sure the fuck do not know. I swore I’d leave this place and never come back. And yet, not only did I come back, I’m still here.
I tell my husband on a regular basis, “There has to be somewhere better. There are places in the world with better seasons. There has to be somewhere that people don’t have to have a bath every single day because they’ve been cold all day and their layers are cutting it!”
Neither of us are big into winter sports. Sure, we snowboard a little because we needed to find something to maintain our sanity in this never-ending winter, but it’s not our passion. His passion is cars, dirt bikes, the kind of stuff you cannot do in winter. Mine is, well, warmth, the ocean, walks outside, just not being so god-damn cold all the time. There honestly is so very little about snow and winter we actually like, especially not enough to live through it for 6-8 months of the year. I basically hibernate the moment it starts until it ends, which means, I’m in my house from about September to, well, maybe I’ll get out there eventually. By May? Well, maybe, although it always snows on May long weekend so it’s highly unlikely.
So why am I here? Why are we here?
At first, it was because of family, because of work. But, we only see family on special occasions and that’s only with the few who remain here. Friends? Well, yes, that is important and that is the first thing my daughter mentions when I suggest getting the hell out of here, although, they haven’t exactly been all that nice to her this year so not sure why she’d want to stay for them, but there are other friends here, yes, and we have friends that I wouldn’t be in a rush to leave behind. Not to mention some amazing programs my kids are in that would never be the same in another town.
So it’s because of work then? Well, yes, that’s a hell of a big draw because my husband has spent the past twenty years building up his reputation and isn’t thrilled about starting at the bottom again (but see how I mentioned my husband and not me. There is no work for me here, has never been, which only makes the winter’s worse), and then I would most likely have to get a real job if we moved which would then make all the work I’ve been doing trying to build something of a writing career behind just as I was about to make something of myself in the next year or two (and by make something of myself I mean, not work for free. To be actually able to call it work rather than a hobby). Not to mention some of the really cool stuff I’ve started in the time that I haven’t had work – a musical theatre program, um….oh, a musical theatre program….okay, um….yep, that’s about it, that’s all I do. So…moving on…
None of these reasons are big enough to keep us here, to make this never-ending white-stuff worth it. So why do we?
Yes. I think that is a huge part of it. I/we are afraid to leave. This is what we know. This is what we’ve always known. We do have roots here, we have a beautiful home, friends, family, security. I can send my kids into a store and they know who they are. I can walk down the street and recognize those on the sidewalk, well, if they aren’t bundled up in their toques and scarves. But even bundled up against the elements, I can still recognize them, mostly. I know what cars people drive so I know if I should wave or not. I know it will take me exactly one and a half songs to get from my house to my kid’s gymnastics class. I know if I’m late to pick up my kids from school they can run down the street to their friend’s house where I’ll receive a picture from their mom saying, “Guess who just showed up at my door?”
There’s something to say about that. Because, I have to admit, the thought of going somewhere new, to walk amongst a sea of strangers, to spend an entire day, week, month passing face after face and not knowing a single one, is scary. I’ve done it, and it’s actually more lonely than scary. But the idea of doing that, of packing up and starting again, even if it’s somewhere that spring comes when it’s actually supposed to come, is terrifying.
I’ve been bitching about living here ever since I came back. Actually, I’ve been bitching about it ever since I was a kid forced to grow up here while knowing there’s other kids who grew up in places like France and Australia and California. And yet, I don’t leave.
Because there is a giant, heavy, iron anchor of inertia holding me here and it’s planted, right now, and doesn’t seem to want to go anywhere yet. I keep waiting for the ground to shift or the chain to break that will be my sign that it is time to move on, but I don’t really do anything to bring about those results myself.
So, I can sit here and bitch about the weather, stare out my window and be angry at the fact that there is what looks to be a foot of snow covering the ground as far as I can see. Actually, no, I can’t. Because, I make the choice to be here every single day. I know that if I hated it that much, I could pack up and leave, right now and start over. And one day I just might do that. One day I will have had enough of this. One day there will be one snowfall too many, too late in the year, and it will break me and I will snap and be in search of warmer waters. But in the meantime, I’m here. I’m not quite ready to cut ties with whatever it is that’s holding me here. Call it roots. Call it my kid’s coaches at their swim club who actually care that they grow to be conscious, contributing members of society. Call it their auntie who comes out of her office to say hello when we stop to see my husband at work because she works there too. Call it their grandparents who’ve dropped everything to come watch the kids at their musical performance. Call it the 30 nervous kids bouncing up and down backstage before the curtains open. Call it the many familiar faces I stop and talk to as I walk down the street because there are some amazing people living in this town, suffering through this snow along with me. Call it the woman who cuts my son’s hair who gets excited to see him and calls him bud and has my back when he wants some awful haircut that will only cause problems later, who knows what will look good because she’s been cutting it for the majority of his life. Call it the fact that my husband took one and a half hours to buy the eggs we need for breakfast because he stopped to talk to everyone he bumped into at the grocery store.
Yes, there is better weather out there, and one day, I may immerse myself in it. But in the meantime, I’m going to appreciate the anchor holding me here, because weather isn’t everything. It’s the people who make a place what it is.
Besides, I don’t really like gardening or yard work, so at least I’m not sitting here, staring out at the green grass that needs mowing and the weed-infested flower beds, feeling guilty for not being out there, digging in the dirt.