What the heck is happening with our winter? For the past several years we have found ourselves scratching our heads in December, wondering if Santa would have any snow to land on.
But it never failed that by February the snow had more than made up for being missing in action, and by April we’re still looking at high piles of winter’s remnants, more than ready for the appearance of a crocus poking up out of the ground.
Well this year it seems that all bets are off. Winter is making up the rules as it goes along, and we’re forced to keep up. But there’s another mystery to contend with. Why are winters in the metro area and winters around the bay so very different?
Because the holidays were so busy, we didn’t get a chance to spend any of the Christmas break at our getaway in Green’s Harbour. It was a little sad really. I mean how could you top a Trinity Bay Christmas? However, because we had received six feet of snow in three weeks (OK, it just seemed that way!) we were a little concerned about the weight of the snow on our ignored patio around the bay.
So, one morning we snuck away to shovel the deck. Well, hubby shovelled, I drank tea and appreciated the brilliant sun from our toasty warm living room. There was so much snow, in fact, that to even get to our front door, I trudged down over the pathway sinking well past my knees. But it was worth it to be there and see the ice in the harbour, the caps of snow mounds frozen onto the big beach rocks that I sit on in the summer, and to inhale the comforting scent of wood stoves.
The week that followed delivered nearly 40 more centimetres of snow, and of course those infamous power outages. Was the food in our fridge out there spoiled and stinking up the joint? Was there yet another six feet of snow on the recently cleaned off deck? And would I even be able to navigate down the small meadow to our door? After that much snow, for sure I’d go over my head and be lost until the spring thaw!
With plans last weekend to finally spend a night overlooking Trinity Bay, I called our exceptional neighbours out there to see if they knew of someone who might snowblow a path to the door for me. After the blizzard, and flurries since, her response surprised me. It seems there was very little snow on the pathway to our house. The wind had cleared a natural trail, making the trek one that no longer required hiking gear or a flare in case I got lost.
How was that possible? Are winters around the bay that much different? Sure enough, we arrived there to see very low snow on people’s front lawns, and that trend held true for our place as well. In Mount Pearl we have at least 10 feet of piled up snow on our front yard, and the top of our five-foot fence is just peering out in the back, but that’s it. In Green’s Harbour? Maybe, if you exaggerate ever so slightly, there might have been at most 12 inches at the deepest part. And those 38 centimetres of snow? Well, not one flake of it was left on our deck!
Needless to say, there was much tea, a little painting and lots of music to keep me entertained for the night. Oh yes, there was also gale-force winds and enough rain falling to warrant a man walking up the road with animals trailing behind him, two by two.
The next morning I awoke to grass. Everywhere there was grass, and very little signs of snow anywhere. I was thrilled! That afternoon, however, back at home base in the city, reality struck like a snowball — back to many feet of the white stuff again. Fewer feet mind you, but enough to lose a yardstick in.
So, if this trend continues, you know where you can find me — in Trinity Bay with the kettle perpetually boiled, and the smell of burning birch to keep me happy until spring.
Email Paula Tessier at firstname.lastname@example.org.