For the record, I love winter. I love snow. I love the cold. I love being outside in the snow and the cold.
Given a choice between a trip to some southern destination to sweat on a hot beach versus a trip to the west coast skiing or a trip to the Northern Peninsula snowmobiling, the choice is easy: you can have the sun tan; I will take the snow tan. Give me the smell of cold, crisp, fresh air.
Granted, I grew up on the Northern Peninsula, where snowstorms meant you couldn’t see the house across the road when it was good and “dirty.” And we lost the power, often.
And since we relied on our own pump for water, it meant that in advance of the storm, the bathtub and some buckets were filled with water to keep us going until the power was restored.
With a woodstove to supplement the oil furnace or replace it when the power went, along with lanterns, candles, lots of food and ample gas, we were always prepared for extended trouble.
So, needless to say, I don’t understand all of the complaining around what by most measures has been an inconvenience over the past few days. Granted, there are some who can’t be adequately prepared for winter weather and power outages. But those people are in the minority and if the rest of us were prepared and did what we could, it would make it a lot easier for public service providers to deal with those who, for a variety of reasons, can’t.
And was it a surprise to anyone that we had what passes for a storm in St. John’s?
Aside from the fact that it is early January in the windiest, snowiest capital city in the country, I, for one, was sick and tired of the constant warnings on all public airwaves for at least three days before the storm hit. Yes, we definitely knew it was coming.
Well, you might say, the power outage was a surprise. Really? The reasons behind the rotating power outages and the subsequent failure at Sunnyside aside — and while the causes vary — power loss in winter is a common occurrence everywhere there is winter and an electrical grid. Toronto comes to mind, even.
While the reliability of Holyrood and other power generating stations can be debated, for 24 hours before the rolling blackouts started, we were warned of their imminent arrival. We were asked to reduce consumption in order to minimize the impact. Yet, you could drive around town and with little trouble find many kilowatts of wasted consumption by those who refused to heed the advisory.
As Fred Penney, an old fisherman I fished with for years used to say, “Carelessness is not worth much unless it is well kept up.” I sympathize with those who, because of personal circumstance, have difficulty dealing with winter and the challenges that comes with it. That doesn’t extend to those able-bodied, financially capable among us who, through their own actions, find themselves in a pickle when completely predictable winter weather and entirely anticipated power supply problems come along.
Hats off to the frontline workers who, through all this, have climbed poles, waded through snow banks, plowed snow, responded to medical emergencies and in many cases did so at their own personal risk.
As has been pointed out by many, this is early winter; there will in all probability be more to come. Stick on a pair of snowshoes, grab cross-country skis, go to the Bannerman Loop for a skate, slide at Pippy or Bowering Park, get out and embrace winter, you might lose some of those pounds you put on over Christmas.
One thing is certain; complaining isn’t going to make it any shorter. At least I hope it doesn’t.