Winter, I Love You

By Sam

Each and every year I look forward to winter. I long for the holiday traditions, the return of winter sports, and the comfort of the season (coffee just tastes better in winter, doesn’t it?). Yet, objectively speaking, winter should be the worst season of the year. Leaving home is a frequent battle against the bitter cold and the idea that sunlight even exists, feels like it must be a rumour. There is nothing inherent in winter that makes it great—winter is a wonderful season because of what we imbue it with.

As a good ‘ol Canadian, I love hockey, sledding, and snowball fights as much as the next person. Through the right eyes, snow is not an obstacle but an opportunity. It transforms from merely something that needs clearing from the sidewalk to the material for building forts and snow people. It becomes a racetrack on which to challenge friends. Aside from play, snow is simply gorgeous. As lovely as campus is throughout the year,walking across campus in winter is to revel in beauty. While the end of autumn can seem bleak with the dull ground and barren trees, winter brings a picturesque blanket of snow to cover the earth until the cycle of nature is ready to begin again.

Winter’s cold, however unpleasant, creates a coziness unlike any other season. I’ve always held tight to the notion that it’s easier to get warm than to get cold — solace perhaps to all my fellow citizens of cold cities. In Edmonton where almost no one has air conditioning (if you do please invite me over), summer’s heat can be unbearable. But in the winter the ways to warm up are many, whether it’s sitting by a fire, drinking hot cocoa, or draping yourself in a blanket (why not all three?). What’s more, for those brave enough to embrace the cold, winter activities are aplenty — from the Ice Sculptures off Whyte Ave, to the Ice Castle at Hawrelak Park, to the skating oval at Victoria Park, to playing (free!) pick up hockey at Clare Drake Arena. In Edmonton, winter is not just a barrier but a crucial ingredient for some of our most beloved activities.

Winter’s cold, however unpleasant, creates a coziness unlike any other season.

We have filled winter with so many rich traditions and holidays that it becomes charged with opportunity and hope. As the great philosopher Annie Edison from Community put it, “It’s the crazy notion that the longest, coldest, darkest nights can be the warmest and brightest” (she was talking about Christmas, but the idea holds for winter). That, above all else, is why I love winter.

The cold season can be hard on us of course, the arctic temperatures can feel incessant and the dark can trigger feelings of hopelessness (or S.A.D.). As students, the problems of winter can be exacerbated by the demands of our coursework. It’s natural to feel dejected when you hustle through your work only to leave school in darkness and cold. The issues that arise during the winter season are very real and should be treated as such. There is, however, so much to love and look forward to about winter, and if you’re looking you will readily find the joys of the season all around you.

The very fact that winter can be a season to look forward to is a beautiful symbol of how we as people adapt to almost anything and flourish in that adaptation. Now that sounds a touch over-romantic perhaps, but the truth is that we have conquered the worst of winter, as Edmontonians old and new, we have the unique honour of being residents of our continent’s northernmost big city. Our city and our University thrive not just in spite of the challenges that winter throws at us but because of them too. This season can be tough, but there is also so much good to be found in it.

Winter, I love you.