Here I sit with a nice cup of mint hot chocolate. This part of the world awoke to a blanket of snow – you hear the ooohs and aaahhhs as it is very pretty and picturesque. And once all the ooohs and aaahhhs are done – you start to hear complaining about the snow. I find this rather amusing.
First you get the “weather warning” that snow is in the forecast – people panic, rush to the store for essentials, hurry to get snow tires put on their car (not that they would DRIVE in the snow) and other assorted frenzied behaviors.
Often people are excited that Victoria is getting snow. In actuality, Victoria gets snow every year – averages 26 cm/year or 10 inches. Now these snow falls may come as a skiff or in more measurable amounts but all in all, snow comes every year. We are in North America after all and live in the North. Although we are on the Left Coast, which is naturally the Right Coast – snow comes as a surprise to many who have immigrated to the West to get away from the Eastern winters.
Then people wait and wait until the first flakes start to fall – checking out the window of their home, apartment or place of work. “OMG it’s snowing” is often heard. This is shocking and totally unexpected even though they prepared. And then “It’s still snowing” is repeated over and over. Which changes to “When will it stop? Is it ever going to stop?”
I grew up here and lived the first 20 yrs of my life here and yes, I remember snow in the winter. As a kid, we lived on a cul de sac that had a big hill leading down to the main road. The neighborhood kids would get together along with some of the parents, and we would slide down the hill on toboggans or garbage can lids or saucers. Don’t worry, we had a look out at the bottom of the hill. Often the main road was closed anyway, due to the snow. We would be outside for hours enjoying this winter wonderland that would be short lived because everyone knows, Victoria snow does not last very long.
Then once I was married in, I was transported to a world where the snow would arrive in October and might not be gone till May. PEI was an eye opener for me. I moved there in ’86. Winter & snow where you were literally snowed in. The base would announce on the local radio a “Code Charlie” which meant there was a nasty Nor’Easter coming up from Cape Hatteras (east coast). You had time to get to the Canex (base grocery store), grab essentials and get home. Once the storm started you were held hostage. The back door had a screen door and I was shocked my first storm when I went to let the puppy out and the door was frozen closed. Not just that, the snow had drifted against the house and there was NO WAY that door was going to open. I learned how to unfreeze a screen door with a hair blow dryer. Climbing out the 2nd floor window was actually done not just a tall tale! Also, if after 2 days, the MP’s (base police) didn’t see a trail out one of your doors, they could come to make sure you were OK. The snow would drift so high that there were warnings for the kids to stay away from the power lines when walking to school. Fortunately we had a propane stove and hot water so even when the power went down, we could still cook and shower. There would be times that the power was off and we would turn the oven on to heat the kitchen area. Our bedrooms where upstairs with a sloped ceiling. Imagine this kids shock when it snowed & stormed and I could scrape into the ceiling as the frost came right though the roof into the bedroom ceiling? It was certainly an experience for this west coaster. Now THAT was snow & winter.
Then there was driving. We had a full size Blazer, 3 in the tree, and hubby took me out the first snow to a large parking lot and started doing donuts, swerves and a variety of other maneuvers. Then he said “Your turn”. I learned how to deal with snow and what to expect in snow. It taught me what I can do to avoid the other guy and what I can trust my vehicle to do. A very valuable lesson. To this day, the first snow of the season, I go to a near by parking lot to remind myself what I can do and expect from my vehicle in the snow. Unless people are “from away” and experienced with 1) snow 2)Victoria snow & driving, just stay off the roads. There is nothing that can’t wait a day or two until the roads are clear of snow.
I find it amusing when snow arrives here in Victoria. Having lived on the East Coast – PEI & the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, that’s winter and snow. The snow that squeaks when you walk, the cold that freezes around your nostrils when you inhale, wind chills of -40’c so cold that it literally snatches your breath away. That’s winter and that’s snow. Victoria – relax – it will all melt and be gone in a day or two (unless you refer to 1996 which was extraordinary for Victoria).
I will continue to chuckle at how people react to the snow and remind myself that I have been blessed & fortunate enough to be a part of real winter.
Peace & blessings