Friday, July 22, 2011

Nature Girl

Every time the seasons change, I always have the same thought:  "I wonder what people who have just arrived in Canada will think of the next season?".

We live in a pretty dynamic country and our seasonal changes are extreme.  Every twelve months, we go through a shocking cycle of change.

Right now, our runs look like this. 

In six months, they will look like this.

I was told once by our running coach: "if it's minus forty or plus forty, we don't run".  That leaves a pretty incredible range in which we do run.  And run we do.

But back to new Canadians for a moment.  When the leaves start to change colour and we pull out our sweaters, I always wonder what people who have never experienced fall will think about the process.  Will they find it beautiful...or sad?  Will they appreciate the sounds of Canada geese honking or be horrified by the shortening days?  Do they have any idea how delicious apple cider and pumpkin pie are?

What about people who arrive in the middle of our winter?  Do they think that it will never end?  Do they believe us when we tell them that the snow will stop falling, the winds will warm, the trees will leaf and the sun will set at 9pm instead of 4:30pm?    And wait until they discover fresh summer strawberries and tomatoes!

Anyone climbing off a plane this week will laugh at the idea of Canada being a land of ice and snow.  Yesterday, according to the Weather Network, we were hotter than Houston, Mumbai and Tel Aviv.

I have a completely different appreciation for our seasons than I did even a few years ago. I used to love winter for the pretty snow, spring for the warm winds and the smell of earth, summer for bbqs and fall for the colours.  Simple things that completely defined a season for me.

I've always been a nature girl - happiest when outside, in the woods chasing moose or on a boat chasing whales.  Nature for me was all about what I could see, hear and smell.

Running has changed all that.  Well, not so much changed as enhanced.  

Now, I notice and respond to every five degree change in temperature.  I notice the changing amount of sunlight in terms of minutes, not hours.  I feel subtle variations in the wind and in the angle of the sun.

Now, I'm in tune with the air, the temperature, the wind, the light.

I love that.  It sounds completely clich√© but I feel so much more alive and I feel like I am part of nature rather than an enthusiastic observer.  Winter is no longer cold and dark.  I've learned that there are all sorts of different kinds of cold. And dark. And different kinds of hot.  And windy.  And humid.

They're all wonderful in their own way.  Truly.  Even days like yesterday that cause me to wilt.  They are all part of the Canadian cycle of seasons.

Damn - we are so lucky aren't we?


  1. I am a "Season Girl". We love them all here in VT. Happy running Celine!

  2. Great post!

    I noticed that shortly after I start riding my bike a lot I was continually checking which direction the wind was blowing from.

    BTW, I hear that Inuit bicyclists have 23 different words for "wind." :^)

  3. We mostly have all the seasons in Portland, OR as well, though right now it doesn't feel like we've had much of a summer. Fall is my FAVORITE!