It almost happened.
That one sickening moment when we Yukoners look out the window and say, “That’s it … no more.”
It was the morning of Saturday, Feb. 7, when our drapes opened to reveal a wall of snow descending upon our homes, our vehicles and our driveways (our driveways!!). It started the day before and, there you go, it was still snowing.
Now, you have to understand that it is the very spirit of each Yukoner to force nature to bend at our will.
We build our homes on clay, yet we truck in topsoil for our lawns.
This is a semi-arid region, yet we grow those lawns lush.
And, six months of the year, if we walk outside without being properly attired, we die.
The only difference between living on Mars and living in the Yukon is that we have TWO Starbucks.
So, it should not have been with profound disappointment that we watched the snow fall because, c’mon, we live in the Yukon.
“But we have shovelled so much snow already,” we whine … on the inside.
Surely all injustices have one thing in common: they end at some time.
Even boring meetings end at some time … torture victims grow numb to their pain … not every person in the lineup at the Tim Hortons drive-thru will order a sandwich … kids graduate from high school.
We Yukoners love the end of winter for the same reason we love it when we stop banging our heads against a wall. It just feels so darned good when it stops.
At this moment, seemingly, snow will not hold up its end of the deal.
So, we open our lips just enough to begin uttering those words of surrender, “That’s it … no more,” then we stop, for we are Yukoners.
We flail our arms behind us to find some surface for us to collapse onto and we ponder our Yukonishness once again.
It is ingrained in us, after all, that if nature divines upon us some unwanted force, we beat it back into our will.
We don’t want snow on our driveways; we want the snow piled nicely along the driveway. General Maintenance Bylaw #92-60 doesn’t want snow on the sidewalks in front of our properties, so we scrape it down to the cement (well, I do).
Let’s face it, the snow and cold are what keeps Outsiders Outside while we hunker down and start drinking our share of the 4.9 million litres of beer, wine and spirits.
So, yeah, we will once again go out and shovel the snow … as soon as it stops. Yet it doesn’t stop until the next day. Meanwhile, we are driving over it and compressing the snow into strips of ice with the consistency of titanium.
So we line these strips with snow and remind ourselves to drive along this fresh snow to beat it down to the same level. Then, a week or so later, our tires won’t slip off these narrow berms.
And, because we are Yukoners, we will shovel off the back deck, too. You can’t stop the world from tilting toward the sun, so we will be ready to fire up the barbecue in mid-March when the lawn is still full of snow but our decks are clear and dry.
And because we know that all of this snow will make a huge mess of things in March, we lift our shovels high over our heads to reach the back of the pile that we really should have pushed back farther when we had the chance in December.
It is important that the meltwater run toward our moist garden areas where we plant our irises, chives and ferns.
So, even though we are bundled up against the cold and robbed of the cheerful nurturing of the sun, we know our efforts will one day contribute to a beautiful garden. And that act, alone, acknowledges that we really do believe that winter will end one day.
And that, my fellow Yukoners, is called hope.