Monday, January 24, 2011

Cold Days

Today was the coldest January 23rd in Ontario history. The weather channel ominously recommended that all stay in, avoid the cold, and - as is the way with 24 hour stations - intoned deadly facts about frostbite along with admonitions to wear hats and scarves. We watched the station for a few minutes until it seemed to both of us that they were simply broadcasting what sensible mothers say to errant children. And us? We went out.

A previous appointment to meet friends for tea was high on the agenda. We left the apartment building and I faced a flooded driveway ramp that looked solidly frozen. As one who is always astonished that men drive snowmobiles through ice and into lake water, I scouted out a safer exit to the road. It took some doing but I did finally find a curb that was dry.

Heading north up the street I stayed on the road, not the sidewalk, as the road was cleared of snow and most sidewalks still snow covered and most curbs unshoveled. Several times I felt my power chair fishtail on ice, there's a thrill that's indescribable. Pulling into the mall and feeling the warm air on my skin I kind of felt victorious. My deep down Canadian roots were showing, cold air is simply 'brisk'.

After tea we went to do a bit of grocery shopping and I noticed that there were a lot of us using mobility devises in the store. All wrapped up in tuques and scarves, all ruddy cheeked and healthy looking.

We are a new breed of disabled Canadians, no longer shut in and shut out, no longer living with fear of cold weather and cold shoulders, out braving the elements. I heard one old gal telling the fellow at the deli counter that she's considering getting snow tires 'on this puppy'. She laughed and he said, 'If I didn't have to go out, I'd have stayed home.' There was a bit of sternness in his tone as if he were trying to instruct her subtly.

She said, 'At my age, I have decided to fight every battle I can win. I've got a parka, a hat, and a sturdy steed.'

We got home and checked. No toes frozen solid. No windburn on our cheeks. Life can be lived too carefully. Battles that can be won need to be fought.


Liz Miller said...

I want to be that lady when I grow up.

Belinda said...

Ha ha! I am married to someone who does have windburn on his cheeks. Canadians do not give in! :) Except for me--I stayed in. :)

I admire the fortitude of all who go out in the cold.

Rachel said...

I'm not in Canada but am really not that far away from it. And I like cold -- within reason. Living and working in a ski town, cold and/or snow are no excuse for not going out. Nothing like heading out for work when it's -10F (-23C) during a cold snap. Brrrrrrr.

I know they make studded bike tires, so why not wheelchair tires?