After nearly 2 years of living in the most northerly city in North America, I’ve come to the conclusion that the year can be packaged into different windows of opportunity – some of which are longer than others, but all of which command a completely different outlook on life and the activities available. You’ve almost got to prepare yourself for each phase as they’re so totally distinct.
We have had a great summer – at least 3 good months of generally temperatures in the high 20’s, with blue skies and sunshine. I’m even sporting the best suntan I can ever remember – more of a peachy hue rather than the usual cauliflower white …. All manner of events have taken place – I’ve lost count how many different sporting ‘world championships’ have been held here over the last few weeks alone, plus festivals each and every weekend in a variety of parks and locations around the City. For kids, there are City-run play centres in some of the parks where you can just turn up, and an adult play-leader is on hand to offer different games and activities for the kids to occupy themselves with, whilst parents can bask in the sun. There are loads of outdoor pools plus spray parks dotted across the City which are perfect for those regularly hot days.
We went to watch the ‘Tour of Alberta’ coming through Edmonton and finishing here last week, and the kids loved it. There’s a great vibe and enthusiasm in everyone that is infectious. We also went to watch a movie in the park – just grab your blanket and a chair, pitch up in the park, and wait for the sun to go down. Organised by some of the local residents, they were just keen to encourage community activities in the local park and get people together – no charge for turning up and watching the latest Jungle Book movie either. We had a great evening – full of the ‘bare necessities’ and the kids thought it absolutely brilliant (Baloo was definitely a favourite ….).
There’s a change in the air though – and rather like the first glimmers of Spring when the Canadian geese start arriving in droves, the geese currently look as though they’re packing their suitcases and stocking up on provisions ready for their departure. Some have already left and it’s quite a sight seeing so many ‘skeins’ or ‘wedges’ of geese flying high above, along with the loud, encouraging ‘honking’ you can hear ….
Whilst it’s been great having the kids at home during the summer, September sees them return to school and normality can now resume. I’ve been able to get back to my daily exercise routine and am regularly walking somewhere in the region of 5 – 6 miles , 4 or 5 times a week. But it won’t last. I’m conscious that even at best, I’ll only have 6 – 8 weeks left of being able to walk to that extent. Temperatures are starting to cool down during the nights as we move into Autumn. I love Autumn. Autumn over here is exceptionally vibrant with the changing colours on the trees. For those lucky enough to have visited New England in the Fall, then this is equally as impressive but make the most of it, as the window of opportunity doesn’t last long …. which brings me to the inevitable …
Winter. Or more to the point – snow. And sub-zero temperatures. The snow will arrive in November and will stop till at least April, if not early May. When you have snow to this extent, it’s not a case of deciding whether and if you’re going to participate in a whole plethora of winter snow sports – other than locking the door and hibernating for 4 months, you’ve got to embrace the inevitable. Get the season passes sorted, limbs limbered up and you’re ready to go. Our favoured winter sports are turning into cross-country skiing and downhill skiing. After ‘that’ episode on the ice skates (better click here to find out what happened for newer readers to my blog), I’ve tended to veer towards the skiing … Walking is difficult unless you’re going to do ‘snow shoeing’ or using spikes which you can attach to the bottom of your boots to give you traction on the ice and snow.
But I’m not ready for that just yet – it’s too soon. I’ll look forward to it when it’s time, but for now, I want to enjoy the last vestiges of summer, and certainly see all the various colours of Autumn before the great whiteness lands. Even the construction activities are getting more frantic on the roads and buildings as people sense the window of opportunity is getting shorter to complete the final remnants before the snow arrives.
It’s fun though. I love the massive change from one season to another. I was just getting used to the warmth, that’s all ….. 🙂