Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: winter sports

We’re headed in the right direction

It is -30° this morning, the sun won’t rise until 9:15 and it will set again at 5:00 P.M. But the days are getting longer — I need to keep reminding myself of that.

Twenty-five years ago I took a statistics course taught by a man originally from India. He told us how he and his family had arrived in Toronto one frosty January day and the rest of the family had turned to him and asked: “What kind of a country have you brought us to?”

“Look,” he said, ” we talked this over and over when we were back in India and we all agreed there would be a better future for us in Canada. Now we are here and we need to learn to like everything about this country.” Then he went out and bought winter clothing, skates and skis for himself and all the family.

I wish I could be more like that. But I know the command start on my car won’t work this morning and the garage door opener will take about five tries to get the door open all the way. So I will need to walk out to the garage, push that button five times, and put the key in the ignition to start the car (It is plugged in and will start without a problem, it’s just that the electronic circuitry in the command start relay doesn’t handle this cold very well.) Oh, the hardships of winter!

Maybe I’m getting too old to get much pleasure out of winter. But I know that winter is only for a season and before many months we’ll be enjoying 16 hours of sunlight.

The benefits of winter

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We are having weather today — just what kind isn’t exactly clear yet. Yesterday was mild,  light rain began in the afternoon and froze after dark. Last night we drove home from our first Christmas gathering on roads that were just a little icy. This morning there was light snow falling, which turned to rain and later back to snow. Further south it is mostly rain that its falling; a little to the north it is mostly snow. I expect that when we go to church tomorrow we will drive on roads having a buildup of snow, with ice underneath. Soon we will only have to contend with snow.

And that isn’t all bad. Living in a cooler climate means that we don’t experience nearly as many severe weather related natural disasters, like tornadoes, hurricanes and floods. Flooding does occur some springs, there are tornadoes, but they are usually small, localized events. The worst tornado in Canadian history occurred a century ago in Regina, Saskatchewan. No tornado since has caused as much damage or loss of life.

This is dry country. Winter, with its snow cover, prevents moisture loss due to evaporation. When the snow melts in spring, it waters the soil more uniformly than would a heavy rainfall, as the rainwater would tend to flow to the low lying areas. Cold winters keep some pests from venturing this far north. So far, there have been no reports of fire ants, killer bees or Burmese pythons in Saskatchewan, or anywhere else in Canada.

A whole range of athletic activities have developed to take advantage of winter conditions: downhill and cross country skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, skating, hockey, ringette, broom ball, curling, snowmobiling and dog sled racing. Children make snowmen, snow forts and snow angels. There are ice sculpture competitions.

Above all this, winter is a tremendous economic stimulant. Snowstorms provide work for snow removal contractors, tow truck operators and taxi drivers. Ski resorts and ice rinks hire many seasonal workers. And think of all the jobs created by the manufacture and retail of snow tires, snow shovels, snow brooms, windshield scrapers, parkas, winter boots, winter gloves, mitts and scarves, skates, pucks, hockey sticks, curling rocks, curling brooms, broom ball brooms, ringette sticks and rings, skis, ski boots, ski poles, snowshoes, snowmobiles, Zambonis, snowplows, ski slope grooming equipment, insulation, weatherstripping, heating systems, construction site heaters, and so on. There are also the lamps made for therapeutic use, to prevent seasonal depression caused by reduced exposure to sunlight during the short days of winter.

Winter is the ideal time to stay indoors, play ping pong, crokinole or Scrabble, sip hot chocolate of hot apple cider, and swap stories about the blizzard of ’47 and other memorable winter events.

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