Living with snow in Canada

At the start of winter,  an ever-changing mass of gulpable snow covers buildings, trees and streets with blobs of different sizes, colours, and cleanliness levels.

Everyone assumes that Canadians love snow just because we have it. I am Canadian. And a Romanian emigrant. I do like snow but not necessarily all aspects of it. Does that make me less Canadian?

I hope not!

Some snow days are tough. It’s not the snow. It’s the fact that it settles overnight. By the time you wake up in the morning, piles and piles of it await you. And then I have to get out and beat the snowplow. If the snowplow passes before me, mountains high as me could block the driveway. The snowplow snow is heavy with salt and mush and unmovable blocks of icy mass that cannot be pushed aside; you need to dig them out, lift, and take them away.

Snow shovelling needs a plan, especially if it snows at nighttime. Oh, the beautifully white early mornings when you get up ready to go to work, and you’re faced with an add-on of an hour of physical labour! In a way, it’s good: membership-free workout. What’s your strategy for it? I first make my way to the street and clean there. That way, if the snowplow comes, there will be no piled-up wall of ice to carve out later. I start by making a path as wide as I can on the side of the driveway all the way to the street. Then I shove the dense fluff as far out as possible; otherwise, the deeper we get into winter, the slower the neck of my driveway. Some years with lots of snow, the car slides out slightly, brushing against the icy sides.

Then I cut the driveway smack in the middle by pushing my shovel in flowery patterns left and right. I like not doing it too geometrically. It’s like licking your cake-dough-soaked fingers while cake-making: slightly chaotic, but still catching it all.

It’s pretty out after a snowfall. That’s how nature gets you. Yes, you have to work, she says, but look how nice of an ‘office’ I give you. Slowly the piles get higher, and the driveway gets cleaner. Kids in the neighbourhood rest, making chairs out of the white feather.

Sometimes when too much falls in one shot, I have to take a couple of breaks and go in and rest. Those are the days when I want a snowblower. But most of the rest, it’s a fun workout like no other in the sun.

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