In an absolute triumph of Canadian weather doing what you want it to when you want it to, Crazy D and I managed to go snowshoeing this year. Whenever I come home now I have the strongest compulsion to be Maximum Canadian. I must reprogram myself to be a good and proper Canadian, and over the winter holidays this means going out into winter and Doing Something Canadian with it.
Usually I tell Crazy D that I want to go cross-country skiing. And usually he tells me we’ll go snowshoeing if the weather cooperates. There’s never any discussion about why we can’t go skiing, just about how the snow looks good for some snowshoeing.
Sometimes I think about getting my nose out of joint and asserting the fact that I’d prefer to go skiing, but I know it’s pointless. If Crazy D says we’re going snowshoeing then that’s what’s on offer. Nothing more, nothing less.
Last year though, there was no snow. And I had a terrible cold (you get one complimentary with all Christmas flights I believe). But this year, we got a great big wallop of snow and it coincided with Crazy D not working and me being less unwell than usual. All in all, we were ready to go.
And then I mentioned that I didn’t have any proper winter boots and that if this was necessary we would have to figure out something in a solution, otherwise I was going to wear my Converse sneakers or L’il Sis’s old broken rain boots.
Crazy D made such a face of disappointment at this news it’s hard to imagine.
“Can’t you just borrow some of The Mom’s boots?” He suggested.
“Not really,” I replied. “She is tiny and her feet are even tinier. I may be smaller than you but I am bigger than her.”
“I suppose I could but as she’s not going to be coming out here before we go that seems unlikely. What about your g/f? I could maybe borrow some of her boots?”
“No, she is bigger than you. Much bigger. Her boots won’t fit you.”
“Size 8, maybe 8.5”
“S’fine. That’ll work. No problem.”
“No it won’t!”
“Yes! It will!” I cried. “My feet are big, and plus I prefer shoes that are a bit too big. More room to move. Anyhow, I can always just put more socks on.”
Crazy D looked dubious but went with it, and so when he arrived to take us out on our adventure, he produced a pair of smart looking, very sensible winter boots. I immediately took a dislike to them. Too sturdy. Too stiff. But it was wear them or not go, so I put them on.
Then Crazy D took the measure of the rest of my costume: my favourite green pants that I wear only when home so as to make sure they continue to last (they’re already over ten years old but I love them and you can’t get them anymore so…).
He took one look at my pants and said, “Tell me you have tights or something on under those?”
I lifted my trouser leg to show off a rather jauntily coloured pair of thick tights. He wasn’t completely convinced but moved on.
“Don’t you have a wool sweater you could wear?” He asked, pointing to my three layers of cotton. “It’s warmer.”
“No, I had the wool one on earlier when I was shovelling the driveway. Got sweaty. Not good.”
Crazy D didn’t look convinced but saw little in the way of room to manoeuvre. So, after putting on my wool overcoat, hot pink scarf, and pink and orange toque, I was all set. We cut a hilarious pair: he in his sensible, technical, professional looking outdoors winter Canadian wear, and me looking like I’d got lost on my way to a business meeting and them mugged by clowns.
In the event, we had a glorious time. The wind was hideous, but once we were in the woods in was lovely and calm and bright. We snowshoed around for a few hours, had a break with hot chocolate that he thought to bring, ate some of the biscuits I’d stuffed in my pockets, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
I think it always surprises my family when I do things like this. I am thought of here as tiny, frail, and generally unfit. Even though I swim 3-4 times a week, and do between 2 to 3km each swim. And that I now go on long weekend hikes with a friend in the UK where we walk about 10 – 12 miles each day. Or that I walk literally everywhere. To my family, since they only ever see me now when I come home for a much needed rest , I am a giant couch potato.
But like all Canadians I suppose I have secret reserves. That and sometimes, once a year, you really do need to get out and play in the snow.