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Our Family Doesn’t Mind Having Adventures In All Of Canada’s Weather

Sep 15, 2022

I love the park.

My daughter and I spend as much time as we can at our local parks. We like geocaching, splash pads and even just a day on the swings.

It's always such a boost for us when the splash pads turn on. And then a huge letdown when they’re turned off on those squelching days of late summer.

Then the leaves turn brown and fall to the ground.


From the Archive: How one mother helped her child through their fear of weather.


Just Keep Swinging

We keep going to the park, but her friends aren’t there anymore. Landscaping crews and maintenance staff take their place.

But my daughter doesn’t mind too much, because it means that she has more free time on the swings.

Even in the early days when my daughter was barely out of her stroller, I would lug her over to the park. Even if it was to just play in the snow. 

In the winter months there was only ever one other parent there. She was a nice Russian lady whose name I have since forgotten. But both our daughters shared the same age and name.

"I feel sorry for people who think that when the snow comes, that the fun stops."

We would talk and laugh about how everyone else is afraid of the cold. Our daughters would swing in the snow, nearly oblivious to the fact that we were pretty much outliers at that time. Getting up to slide was a little tricky, but I tell you, nothing greases up a slide like a thin layer of fresh powder. They had a great time.

That nice lady would say to me: “I feel sorry for people who think that when the snow comes, that the fun stops.”

I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I would even add: I can’t even count the number of times I have ignored the weather report and enjoyed a beautiful day. On the golf course, the baseball diamond and music festivals to name a few.

In the same vein, even when our family has been forced to endure the elements, in the end I believe we were rewarded. 

A Surprise Weather Situation

Last year my family went to Algonquin provincial park to do some canoeing and camping. On the second day of our journey the sky opened up on us.

I don’t know how many Canadians have found themselves in the middle of a lake in a canoe during a torrential downpour, but let's just say it can get a little tense.

It's a funny thing to have no choice but to go on. But that's the situation we found ourselves in. Our choices were go on or risk dying on the lake — so we chose to go on.

We unloaded the canoe, filled with water, and lugged our soaked bags over the grueling portage. Finally we made camp, each one of us soaked and miserable.

But something amazing happened that night: The sky cleared up, we got a fire going and cooked some hot dogs.

"I am convinced that being able to endure the cold and the rain and the heat are measures of physical health."

The reason for our journey had long been forgotten by that point but it was all of a sudden clear: The Perseid meteor shower.

We watched the stars pop out one by one in nervous excitement, and we were not disappointed.

At one point a meteorite so bright shot across the sky and lit up the camp. It was so bright that as it went towards the horizon, I half-expected to hear an explosion at impact. When our awe subsided, we all cheered as if Kawhi Leonard just hit a four bouncer to win a seven-game series.

It's for moments like these that I am glad that I drag my daughter on these journeys. It fills my heart with happiness to know that she shares my love of extreme weather.

I am convinced that being able to endure the cold and the rain and the heat are measures of physical health.


5 ways to help your kid build resilience in an anxious world.


Canadians Know

We live in Canada, and it will come as no suprise to anyone that this is a land of extremes.

If you are going to be touchy about the weather in say, Winnipeg in the winter, then you are in for a bad time. 

In Canada, with weather, there are absolutes. Expected outcomes. 

My old neighbour has a daughter the same age as mine. They used to have so much fun together. But my goodness! By October it was too cold to come out and play, and in April it was already too hot? That's one thing I have no patience for: People who complain about the heat in the summer and then complain that it's cold in the winter. I can’t help but think at that point you are just in it for the complaining.

My daughter and I have always enjoyed the challenge of treading through knee-deep snow on the way to school, despite the fact we could have driven if we wanted to. The school is only 1.5 kilometres away, and we have yet to meet weather patterns extreme enough in Toronto that could keep us from making the journey on foot.

"We do these things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard."

One day we even had the honour of strapping on our cross-country skis to get to school! (We were the fastest things moving in the neighbourhood!)

I think this perspective is important because it is pretty clear that extremes of weather are not going away any time soon. Some scientists are predicting the relocation of the jetstream, others the melting of the Greenland ice sheet into the ocean. China is working with “cloud seeding” of all things.

With that in mind, I can’t help but think that people who complain it's too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter are going to have trouble finding a comfortable place to sleep in the future.

We do these things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. For the vast majority of humankind’s existence we have endured the elements with nothing more than the clothes on our back. Humankind made it over the Bering Sea during an ice age, without so much as a GPS device nor a Subaru.

Not to mention, there is just something beautiful and carnal about taking a shower in a thunderstorm.

Article Author Quentin Janes
Quentin Janes

Quentin Janes is a writer whose influences include Raymond Kurtzweil, Steven Pinker, Noam Chomsky, Niall Ferguson, Jeremy Rifkin and Martin Luther King Jr — among countless others. He is a putterer, a tinkerer and a fixer of broken things. From bad grades to bad dogs to toilets, kids or drywall, he says he can fix it all.

 

 

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