Reflections on a snowy walk

Photo by Kelly Sikkema

I went for a long walk in Edworthy Park and enjoyed one of the last days of fall. As I walked a gentle breeze hurried a perfectly shaped golden leaf past me. That one was followed by another one, then one more, making me think that I was somehow in a mini-race with the leaves. I wondered what lay ahead; what will the next season bring? Would we have a mild winter, or will it be one filled with icy cold winds and lots of snow?

During the many years I have lived in Calgary, I have seen both. On those especially cold winters, I remember shivering as I waited for the bus. There was no bus shelter at my stop, so I would stand with my back against the wind hoping the bus would not be late. It did not matter how many layers I would have on, that wind penetrated my clothing and brought a chill to my bones.

One May it was not the icy cold but the wet heavy snow that became my problem. I swept most of the snow off my steps and shoveled a narrow path to the sidewalk before walking to my bus stop. Even this was a challenge as the snow was already a foot deep and wading through it was hard work. I stopped partway to look around me.

It was a perfect winter scene. The snow was still falling and the huge flakes floated unhurriedly to the ground and at times, reversed their course as if they did not want their journey to end. Behind me, my footsteps faded into the dark and it reminded me that I had a bus to catch.

After ten minutes or so, I was joined by a fellow passenger who told me that the buses were delayed, if they were coming at all. She said the roads were almost impassable as very few of them had been cleared. We decided to walk down to the closest intersection where three bus routes were interconnected and get on whichever bus came first. We had a long wait but eventually one did come and this one transported us to Chinook Station. This was the best alternative because we could now catch a train downtown.

Well, I need not have worried about being late because as it turned out, I was the first one in the office. Over the next couple of hours, I was joined by a few other enterprising employees and we began to compare stories about how we managed to get to work. My boss never did make it in. He called around noon and told us that the roads where he lived, in the northwest part of the city, were covered in sheets of ice and even walking was dangerous.

The news that night was full of broken trees and smashed-up cars, pedestrians slipping and sliding and sometimes falling down. Outside of Calgary, the surrounding towns didn’t fare any better as they too were blanketed by the heavy snow. In one area, some of the power poles had fallen down. The heavy snow pulled one down which then pulled down the next, then the next, etc. until they all fell like a stack of dominos.

By the time I left the office, most of the roads had been cleared and the buses were more or less on schedule, at least in my part of the city. The sun was shining, the temperature was a pleasant 20-plus and the melt had already begun.

I was surprised when I arrived home to find that the sidewalks around my house were clear of snow and already dried by the sun. My neighbor had been watching for me and came out to greet me. She was all smiles and told me that she and several of our neighbors had a snow removal party. Once the snow stopped falling, they all came out and helped shovel the snow from the sidewalks and while they were at it, they also had a big snowball fight.

The merriment ended with hot chocolates and cookies and the building of a big snowman on her front lawn. I stood there frowning and wished I had not made the effort to go to work, staying home would have been much more fun.

I walked into my house and then to my back door to let my cat out. Needless to say, once she saw and felt the snow, she immediately changed her mind. I, on the other hand, stood there in disbelief. My fence had fallen down in two places.

Yes, it was old, but I had hoped for a few more years of service before having to replace it. That snowfall ended up being an expensive one for me as I now had to have a new fence built. Because I am retired, I no longer worry about the weather. If it gets bad, I will just stay home.