• "Oh, if I could only put things into words as I see them! Mr. Carpenter says, 'Strive, strive -- keep on. Words are your medium -- make them your slaves -- until they will say for you what you want them to say.' That is true, and I do try, but it seems to me there is something beyond words -- any words -- all words -- something that always escapes you when you try to grasp it -- yet leaves something in your hand which you wouldn't have had if you hadn't reached for it. ... I have written myself out for tonight, and am going to bed."
    - Lucy Maud Montgomery, Emily Climbs

    This is my place to "write myself out" -- sharing both my day-by-day thoughts and my artistic output. Thank you for visiting! - Carmen Pauls Orthner
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The weather outside…

Filed under Christmas,Ramblings • Written by Carmen @ December 2, 2010

In all my years of conscious recollection (ie. school age onwards), I have never lived without snow. Oh, yes, of course Saskatchewan has its hot summer days, and crisp autumn days, and even the occasional day of buds on the trees that could be called “spring”, but winter is the most repeated and most dominant note in the symphony of our year.

We moved to Regina from British Columbia (where, as my mom so often longingly recalls, they have “daffodils in February”) in 1978, when I was nearly five, and then I attended university in Winnipeg, Manitoba (also known as “Winterpeg”) from 1991 to 1995, and did spent 9 months studying and doing volunteer work in Lithuania before returning to my home province. And now my husband and I live in La Ronge, which is northern (aka cold) by any definition, unless you happen to live in the Arctic. I have lived through through days of -50 Celsius here, so don’t go questioning my understanding of cold!

The romance of snowy days fades quite quickly after a few weeks of trudging through jagged-edged drifts hard-packed by passing snowmobiles – on what were once (in sunnier days) known as “sidewalks”. But I do still experience a sense of joy in tasting the first few flakes of icy wetness, or noting, as I glance down on a cold, sunny day, all the tiny sparks of light glinting on the ground ahead of me. And today, I saw a grin on my 9-month-old daughter’s face, even though she was sitting in her car seat on the snowy driveway, on a -11 day. She was born on a late February day, in this chill-swept province, and she has come through a winter, through summer and autumn, a bit of winter and then a brief, glorious period of Indian summer. And now here she is on the other side of that, with a smile on her sweet little face, just below her red-tipped button nose. I can wish to be lying on the white sands of a Caribbean beach, or taking a siesta in Mexico, but for Sara, this is life as she knows it – and it’s my life too, right now.

So I’m going to try, this year, to pay more attention to what’s around me – to the evergreens and snow-covered bedrock in an uncleared stretch of forest across the street from my house, to how adorable my daughter looks bundled up in her purple jacket and her Saskatchewan Roughriders blanket, to the vast, gorgeous frozen lake I see every day (if I look!) when driving through downtown, and to the gloves I tend to forget at home and the cupboard full of tea and coffee and hot chocolate that I can brew when needed. But I’d still take a plane ticket to Cancun, if anyone’s offering!


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