Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Weather or not..

No matter where Canadians go, and no matter how a conversation may start up, we invariably end up talking about the weather.  We Canadians are a polite bunch, so perhaps this is our way of making sure nobody is left out of the discussion.  Think about it.  It's a subject that everybody can speak about, it's a much safer topic than politics or religion, and most times someone will have a wild weather experience to relate which livens up the exchange. 

"So, how's the weather back home?", I ask you, with tongue in cheek, knowing full well that you guys are experiencing the worst blizzard since 1993.  I've been keeping an eye on and Gordon keeps reporting back to me what he's been reading about this massive storm in the online version of the Chicago Tribune

When I was younger, I used to love big blizzards.  They were an excuse to stay home, snug and warm in my PJ's, and the perfect opportunity to do nothing more than just listen to the wind howl.  I'd live content in the moment, safe in the knowledge that I had plenty of food, water and shelter to wait out the storm.  I'd peer out the window at the snow streamers that billowed and swirled and eventually piled themselves into huge sweeping drifts, and formed big white curls that hung off the rooftops like whipped cream.  

As a kid, I'd love to bundle up after the storm had passed, and stomp through thigh-high snow and make snowmen and forts and snow angels.  As the years passed, I would enjoy friendly chatter with neighbours as we all dug out our cars and heaped up gigantic white mounds on either side of our sidewalks.  Lately it seems the older I've gotten, more I dread snowstorms.  Don't get me wrong, I still love marvelling at the power of a storm, but I'd just rather not have to deal with the aftermath.  Shovelling has become more like a chore than fun, and driving on icy roads is a nightmare.  These past few years, I also seem to have lost my tolerance for cold.  The more the temperatures drop, the more my joints ache, and I lose that 'spring in my step'.  Impending bad weather sends loud & clear signals to 'slow down'.  At these times, the heart says 'go' but the body says 'no'.  Gordon, with his bad knees, suffers even more than I do.

Here in Cambodia, it's the 'cool, dry' season.  The current daytime highs are in the mid 30C range (that's mid 90's for you Farenheit people), and the lows at night in the mid to upper 20C's (mid 70's to 80F).  It hasn't rained a drop since we arrived, and most days there are few or no clouds.  It's rarely humid, so it doesn't feel that hot, unless you're working hard or sitting in the direct sunlight.  It can feel quite cool when we are travelling in an open tuk-tuk, so I often wear long sleeves in the early mornings, as well as on the occasional evening after the sun goes down.  My arthritis is much more 'tame' here, and my back has only acted up once or twice after a jarring ride on bumpy roads (in a vehicle with apparently no shock absorbers), but the jolts were well worth the adventure!

When we returned from Cambodia last March, everybody said it had been a really mild winter, with hardly any snow, and tried to tell us we wouldn't have been too bad off if we'd stayed home.  I don't think anybody will be singing the same song when we arrive this coming March. 

So please excuse me if I smile as I say 'I'm glad I'm not at home right now'.  Enjoy the storm!  I'll take 30C over 30F anyday.
Sunset from the balcony of MotherHome Guesthouse

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