Man Versus Winter

It’s been a wild few weeks in winter-land. Storms on a twice/week basis, snow drifts up to the chin, and temperatures often plummeting down below -30°.

As someone who enjoys winter endurance sports, I’ve had a few weeks of self-reflection. Last week I read iRunFar’s article “When is it too cold to run?” which got me thinking about why I persist with my morning runs at all when the wind is howling on dark winter mornings. While most sane people might answer the article’s question with, “the day after I have to pull long sleeves on,” I’ve always prided myself in not letting any weather stand between me and my daily run or walking commute.

This weekend I realized, as we watched a storm nearly drown our Nordic ski clinic under the snow, winter weather stirs me up in a way little else does. I feel this adrenaline rush when I see the wind picking up. And when the snow begins to fall, I get a crazy urge to head out when most are staying in.

This all might have started when I was young, reading winter adventures stories from the likes of Jack London, watching Iron Will (remember Iron Will?). But maybe this love for winter seeped in from an unexpected place: Calvin & Hobbes.

As I braved the cold this weekend, I realized I had arrived. I have become Calvin’s dad, the very character-building-loving father who was the brunt of many of the yellow-haired six-year-old’s joke year after year.

Not only that, but my family fully fits the bill as well.

I knew Bill Watterson was clever, but this seems a devious kind of prank.

If the sparsely traveled drift-covered walkways are any indication, there aren’t many like me. But maybe it’s better this way. I’ve taken encouragement from the few other frosty-faced out there: my neighbour who greeted me with a twinkle in his eye while he cleaned up the snow from his driveway after the plow had swept through. The snow-carvers on Main Street carving a lion out of a snow block for an upcoming reggae festival. And on the socials, folks like @frostyfacemb, who remind us of the joys of Manitoba winters all season long.

Long live winter, and us in it.