It happened again - much of Saskatchewan has been sucked into the depths of a frigid hell, with temperatures crashing like the 2014 price of oil to -40C. Everyone is battening down the hatches to get through another week of frozen eyelids, snotty noses and burning red cheeks.
When the weather dips like this, everyone, including myself, grumble and complain. And if you are like my girlfriend and I, you seriously contemplate the logistics of faking your own death and moving to Costa Rica to open a Tiki Bar.
It is times like these that I have horrible flashbacks to working in the service industry, where I was forced to live my own version of Groundhog Day with every customer that frantically came out of the cold into the store.
"Staying warm?" every customer would ask with a half-cocked smile framed by tomato cheeks.
"Trying to!" I would reply, with the same half-cocked, albeit warm-cheeked smile, even though I was now being held hostage in a conversation I didn't want to have for the 100th time that day.
Please god, don't make me do it again!
We all yearn for summer. Life is simpler when it's warm; less layers, less frozen fingers fumbling for keys, less aches and pains from our joints literally freezing up. But, this is the world we live in, (unless you live in Maple Creek) and like it or not - we need to find ways to enjoy every aspect of this beautiful place - even in "it's so cold it hurts" weather.
Life on easy mode.
I know winter can be tough. But you are tougher. You aren't some Texan who shuts down your schools and roads when a little bit of snow falls. You are a Saskatchewanian - whose wrinkled and worn skin is a written record of the winters you've endured. You know what it is like to drive down a highway during a whiteout where the only way to stay on the road is to open your car door and look for the lines (that might just be me) and you sure as hell aren't going to let living somewhere that is colder than Mars keep you down!
Pictured Above: A 14 Year Old Saskatchewan girl after winter.
No, you are going to go outside and you are going to say to Old Man Winter, "You can take away the feeling in my face but you'll never take my bunnyhug!"
Don't retreat and hang the white flag. Instead, attack winter. Load up the layers until you feel like an overstuffed burrito, jam on a toque, hang yourself with a scarf, ball up some tissues in your pocket like your Grandma, step out your front door and proudly shout, "I am a Saskatchewan Winter Warrior!"
Don't use the cold as an excuse, use it as a challenge. Don't come to work on Monday with the story that you "Netflixed and chilled" over the weekend (yes, I know what it means), instead come to work on Monday with a story like you "cross country skied and chilled" or "snowshoed and chilled" or "tobogganed and chilled." Be the weekend hero that your coworkers admire.
The next time you catch yourself thinking that the best solution to get through a Saskatchewan winter is to roll yourself into your blankets to create a duvet-cocoon that you will awaken from in spring as a beautiful butterfly, you should be reminded winter fat is the same as summer fat, just a bit more pasty white.
This winter, I challenge you to step outside, take a sharp, deep breath of that frosty air and be the Saskatchewan Winter Warrior you were destined to be! You will not be defeated.
Life only found on cold days
On a more serious note, the frigid temperatures can be extremely difficult for those in our community facing challenges. Please consider donating your time or funds to the many shelters throughout the province who provide services for those less fortunate. Stay warm out there and be safe!