The allure of even a well-crafted, lightweight shovel begins to pale after days upon numberless days of snow upon snow upon snow.
There is wisdom in the old saw that everybody likes to complain about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. I have no quarrel with that assertion, and harbour no ill will toward those who make it. Complaining about the weather is an essential element of Canadian life. It binds us together from coast to coast to you-know-where.
Doing nothing about it is also a time-honoured Canadian tradition, as is berating the hapless slugs in the weather prediction business whenever they get something even mildly wrong.
In normal years, under normal circumstances, none of the above applies to British Columbia’s southwestern precincts, whose denizens never complain about the weather. Why would they? If anything unites Canadians more than a dislike of Toronto (or the Habs, or Justin Bieber, or whatever party is currently in office), it is resentment of smug left-coasters who boast about daffodils in February, or vines laden with sun-ripened fruit weeks before any other part of the dominion.
Yes, Virginia, our home and native land is still officially called the Dominion of Canada, although the ranks of those who use that arcane title are becoming increasingly thin. It is often possible to recognize members of this species by their habit of referring to the late Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David Windsor as Edward VIII, King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, et cetera, rather than the more modest title of Duke of Windsor. Not all of them are paid-up subscribers of the Monarchist League of Canada, nor do they all share the deflationary dogma of the Flat Earth Society.
Nevertheless, many of these noble souls clearly hanker for days of yore, when the Cadbury map of the world in every elementary school classroom was awash in pink to reflect the scope and might of the British Empire, upon which the sun would surely never set.
And where else might one find the most concentrated mass of such souls than right there in the bottom-left corner of Canada’s map, in the tea-sipping nooks of the lovely Empress Hotel in Victoria, which predates even the aforementioned King/Duke?
But I digress. My thesis (if I actually have one) is that these are not normal times.
Suddenly, the rest of Canada is choosing to embrace Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the Lower Mainland as bona fide parts of the Dominion of Snow and Ice.
Welcome aboard. We promise not to mock the clumsy way you wield your first snow shovel, recently purchased from your neighbourhood tire centre. But woe betide you the next time you dare brag about those February daffodils.