At Least We’re Not in Edmonton

Canmore-Banff

 

Before I moved to Alberta 3 months ago, I thought the bottom part of a thermometer was just for show. The sub-zero scale, I reckoned, was like the speedometer on my Hyundai: measuring, at the uppermost reach, mere hypotheticals. The thing couldn’t actually go 220 km/hour – that’s just there for aesthetic purposes, to fill in the rest of dial. Plus, it looks impressive.

Now I find out, too late to turn back, that Albertans actually use the bottom end of the stick. Minus 5. Minus 10. Minus 17. Minus 28. Apparently, there’s limit to how far down the mercury will go.

And it’s only November.

When I complain loudly to the locals about this, they smile a thin smile. “Wait,” they say, “until winter hits.”

Winter? This isn’t that?

I came from Vancouver Island, where a cold day meant you put on a sweater under your wind breaker, and maybe postponed your golf game. Block heaters? Ice scrapers? Snow tires? Parkas? We’d heard of such things, but few of us had any first-hand experience with them.

November’s been my crash course. The other day I almost died walking to my car. The coldness skewered me. My toes and fingers turned numb. I pictured someone finding me hours later, my tipped-over body frozen in mid-stride, a thickening lacework of frost gathering on the blueing marble of my skin, my eyes wide with terror.

I made it, in case you were wondering.

So it’s been an education, if that’s the right word. This morning, I wrote some of these thoughts to a friend, a native Albertan. “At least,” he wrote back, “we’re not in Edmonton. It’s brutal there.”

Ah, right.

The funny thing is, he’s the third person in 2 days to say this very same thing to me. At least we’re not in Edmonton. Such, I’m learning, are the consolations of the half-frozen.

But still, it’s cold here. To be fair, I’d been warned. But – like with most things – reality has a distinct force to it that theory can never quite capture. Minus 28 in real-time is much more, shall we say, impressive than minus 28 as a mere idea.

But at least we’re not in Edmonton.

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  • Robin Padanyi

    As recent imports to Edmonton and my wife and I often say to one another “Could be worse. Could be Winnipeg.”

  • Bill Luscombe

    “But – like with most things – reality has a distinct force to it that theory can never quite capture.” Boy I can sure relate to that profound statement. Every day of trying to walk with Christ is far more intentional than simply reading His word. Thanks for this.

    Blessings in the chilliness of old man winter. :-)

  • Jonathan Taylor

    Can’t help but think of your writings on Winter in Spiritual Rhythm. God brought that book to me & my family at just the right time. We’re just now seeing signs of spring in our lives, & I haven’t even browsed the chapters on summer & autumn – taking it at the pace of life, as you instructed at the start of the book. Glad to hear God is giving you advanced studies in this important season.

  • Heather Hayashi

    Hey Mark, welcome to Alberta! I live in that place that people are warning you about . . . Edmonton. It’s not that bad. :) Or maybe that’s because my husband is outside shovelling while I sip my coffee in here. I wrote about winter in my blog yesterday and quoted you. So, in a way, I’ve connected you with my great city on the same topic of winter! Here’s the link in case you want to read what I quoted from your book. I’m a big fan of your writing and while I’m here…THANK YOU for how God has used your words in my life for many years now! http://rhythmsofgrace.ca/heather-hayashi/

  • JimLyster

    I well remember arriving in Northern Saskatchewan (well, Prince Albert) on Nov 1, 1996 from Vancouver, just ahead of an extended very cold winter. Very glad God called us to Vancouver Island 8 years later.

  • Joy Kirkwood

    Having lived in Calgary for 29 years (NS before that and now Vancouver) I can fully appreciate what you are going through… and when winter does arrive here on the west-coast the drama over -3 never ceases to amuse me. Lots of things I miss about Calgary (my 3 sons still live there) but the winter weather is not one of them.

  • Simon

    Could be worst: God could call you to Fridgina or Winterpeg!

  • Don Or Janet Cook

    But it’s a “dry cold” in Edmonton so it doesn’t feel as bad as a rainy west coast winter day. :)

  • Lorraine McWilliam

    Glad it’s you freezing and not me…well we are actually cold here too but I know it’s a totally different cold. Your right…I wore a light sweater over a light pull over…and I was warm enough! Our Nathan is in Edmonton freezing.

  • A. Reintjes

    “I almost died walking to my car”….I almost died laughing at that part of your blog. Have you shelled out the cash for command start yet?? We tried to tell you Van. Island was only pseudo-Canadian…When my hysterics die down, we will pray for you! A, K and the crew

  • hehjude53

    TeeHee, Welcome to the North! A person really appreciates the 4 seasons when you live here… The cold winter is forgotten about when spring comes and everything comes back to life. The bright greens are well worth waiting for. Even the ice flowing down the river has its’ own majestic snap, crackle and pop! Oh wait, maybe that’s my body in my old age…