Wednesday, February 04, 2009
On Monday the snow came and as this picture, from my window, shows the conditions for running were not good. However there were plenty of opportunities for fun. I could for example watch cars trying to struggle up the hill but there was not a lot of that as most people realised it was a waste of time and did not go anywhere. In some way it was as if people had been given a licence to relax and go-out and enjoy the conditions. The atmosphere was different from a normal weekend day, there was a greater feeling of camaraderie.
A very small example: I was walking down to town and clumping up the hill was a boy of about twelve, we were the only people on the street, and when we passed he looked up and said "wonderful weather isn't it". There was such enjoyment in his voice it made me feel good for the rest of the day.
Coming back I passed a gang of youths on a corner, hoods up, occupying space in a way that can look threatening. Except that when I passed they had sledges and plastic snow shovels and were reliving their tobogganing exploits. Again there was enjoyment in their voices. Again the world felt good.
Inside I listened to the news and everybody was talking about the weather. There were, of course, any number of miserable voices lamenting the lost hours of work. The most predictable, and depressing, comments were along the lines of: ' We are no better than a third world country', 'this is pathetic, a little bit of snow and the whole country seizes up', 'I travelled from Stockholm to the Artic and that train was five minutes early', 'it's the same every time why can't we cope?', 'when I was young we didn't close schools I can remember trudging across the fields', etc, etc, etc.
If something only happens once every 18 years (and with global warming, probably, less frequently than that, in future) it is not worth building the infrastructure to cope with it. Canada is a good example. Most of the country knows it will get snow, prepares for it, and can cope. Vancouver though has a climate like ours and this winter they also had heavy snow and just like us things got gummed up.
But it is no use arguing. If people want to be miserable, they will be miserable. Me I prefer to think of that twelve year old boy and how his eyes sparkled.
Next time I am out running I want to remember that joy , as a reminder of the excitement that comes from being outside and being active.