Snowfall impacting our lives in strange way

Jane Reddington

Sounder Staff

Tuesday, February 14 2017

When the snow started last Friday, it was a novelty, again. I took the ferry over to town to drop the kids with my husband and walked up to the Old Quarter to look for some wool, checking out the streets and seeing if it was safe to come over with the car in the morning.

When I woke up with the power out, and more snow, I immediately bolted for the 8:50 a.m ferry. I was not going to spend the day without power, surrounded by snow, waiting for cabin fever to set in. I decided to stay in town for the entire day, fighting off bouts of anxiety as I decided I would take in not one but two movies playing in the theatre, because the last time I did that I lived in Calgary.

Coming home, I felt so proud of myself for doing what I wanted to do and not letting the snow get in the way of my plans. I fretted in the movie theatre, knowing it would be dark by the time I got out and feeling that the road might be icy and that I might get hit by another driver without snow tires.

But I had a few bunches of tulips, some boots that had been resoled and a few shopping items. Waiting for the 7:15 p.m. ferry, I couldn’t have felt better. I wondered what the roads would be like that night on Gabriola and coming off the ferry, all was well until I reached our house. It was dark and I could see there was no place to leave my car except in the middle of the road. Grateful for the snow plow, but frustrated by the amount of snow, I told myself to remember this was standard in other parts of Canada, even expected, but not welcome here, on this night.

I spent about an hour shovelling out a spot to back the car into. It was dark, and cold and my anxiety, which had been having a gentle snooze on the ferry home, jumped up inside me startled, telling me things like, “you’ll never get the car in there. You shouldn’t have stayed away all day. You’ll never be able to back the car up. You’ll get stuck.” 

With my family away for the weekend, I really had the sense of what others must feel every day, of living alone and being stranded. I know most of it was in my head but I had to work to overcome the feelings. After getting the car backed into place, off the road, there was getting everything into the house, shovelling the path outside the door and feeling drenched with sweat by the end of it.

But I did it and then when I woke the following morning, and saw the amount of snow on my deck, my anxiety returned and wouldn’t let me leave it alone. So I spent an hour and an half shovelling the deck. That afternoon, my family came home and I needed to tell them each how hard I’d worked. Their first thought was of the trampoline and getting the snow off it before the weight of the snow broke the frame. That had never occurred to me.

And in the days that have passed since then, my son has built an igloo with blocks of snow stacked one on top of each other. They ask to play in the snow before school and then at night. It feels like summer because they stay out so long. I’m finding my confidence on the roads, getting to the school and back and already looking forward to temperatures warming up next week. 

I do like the snow but only if it comes in amounts I don’t have to shovel. The kids are happy to help with that chore now, and tucked in on Gabriola, they are making memories with their crazy carpets and igloos they’ll have for years to come.