WEATHER BEATEN By John Lang (Article)


 John Lang

To endure living in Ottawa during the first days of spring it helps to be possessed of considerable inner reserves. The weather is wearisome. At worst, it is an extension of the previous three or four grim months; at best, the city is redolent of thawing doggy doo and March winds whirl unswept grit into your footwear.

Of course the teasingly slow arrival of better weather is nothing to an Ottawan born and bred. He is buoyed by the prospect of an extended skiing season, of additional care-free weeks before preparation of garden and cottage demand his attention. But I freely confess that despite years of residence in the Nation’s Capitol I do not like March. I do not ski. On the first day of spring I expect and demand warmer weather. This feeling is reinforced by gloating phone calls received from family and friends on the West Coast, who take perverse pleasure in chatting about the weather at this time of year. Herewith some recent conversations.

Sister on Bowen Island: “Hi! How is everyone? Nice weather isn’t it? At least I sure hope yours is the same as ours here. Oh wait a moment, that damn deer is back and he loves my hydrangeas. There, I threw the leftover Coolaid at him. Where were we? This damn hot wind descending from Squamish makes me forgetful – oh yes, you wanted to know how long the cherry blossoms lasted this year. Well, it was a while ago but…”

Daughter in Victoria: “Hi Dad. Guess what? We won the February flower contest for our block. The judges counted 6.3 million azalea blooms in our front yard. We weren’t allowed to count the ones in the back yard, but…”

Corporate friend speaking from his office overlooking Vancouver Harbour: “Hello Lang. I just wanted to report that business is fine despite the government here and that we are all well. Mind you, judging from the number of sailboats visible from where I sit, the economy can’t be that bad. Wow, I never knew there were that many so early in the season. They’re getting in the way of the cruise ships. Oh damn, I should have shut the French doors opening onto my balcony. I get hay fever as you know…”

You get the idea. Left-coast spring weather chauvinism. The only defence is to assert that they should go play outside while it is still not raining and enjoy their little window of advantage while they can. Soon I will be calling them to ask their advice about air-conditioner maintenance.

John Lang

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