There’s a phenomena in Canada, and probably any other cold place but the experiential science that informs the following only relate to Canada, in which the outside tries to kill you. Often this intent is obvious, windows scab over with a crystalline pattern that represents the end of entropy in death, doors refuse to open, and there’s a either a density to the air that encourages hibernation, or a crisp sharpness to it that alerts your skin to the predators that await it.
But the Great Canadian Outdoors has a trick to lure its prey and satiate its hunger for flesh – a beautiful sunny day! You awaken in the midst of winter. It’s been days since everything hasn’t been colour corrected with a shade of grey, but out through the window shines a light and it calls you! Part of your brain sees the snow and knows better, but then a stronger, dumber part of your brain sees just how white the snow is. It appears so charming, fluffy, and welcoming like a magicians rabbit, especially in contrast with the upper jaw of Canada’s venus fly trap = your summertime pal who just came out of nowhere, Blue Sky! Sure the trees are bare, and there’s not a drop of water to be seen, but they’re just slower than you as proven by your “sleeping in a comfy bed” superiority.
The first instinct is to run out and embrace the re-emergence of life and hope and escape from our cubic prisons. If you’re lucky your DNA contains enough ancient wisdom to only tentatively cast aside the +2 fortitude items of the toque, mitten, and boot family. This will enable you to immediately regret your decision, but even if uncorrected, with short enough exposure you should survive. For some though, memory is unacknowledged. T-shirted and free they rush out to embrace the day. It would be less cruel if Canada’s bites drew blood, then each red mark upon the snow would serve as a warning for the rest of us. Instead, flesh is frozen, the heart retracts limbs to the body in an effort cannibalize its own life force, and the hopeful shrivel up into the base of the nearest snowbank.
Most survive, cheeks made rosey by the inner spanking the brain lashes out on the foolish flesh which almost drove them into the Great White’s maw. Some will come down with a sickness, as the langolierian particles of order pass into the bloodstream from the ice’s bite.
There are some who crave the battle. In the hides of the great Gortex and the fleece spun of Coca-Cola threads they venture for to discover the things natural life leave behind when it flees. I don’t understand them enough to understand or comment extensively, but I fear they may be made the madness that pushes away utopia so that they may stand as the strong.
Eventually, Canada has its fill of souls, and a day of sun and warmth arrives. You can immediately tell the difference as it comes with the full spectrum yellow hue we imperfectly capture with grade school crayon yellow. Icicles retreat, the snow first cracks, and then softens to a sock soaking mush, but it’s ok, the fear is already fading and freedom permeates the lungs. There’ll be a brief transition through the manure-ish oders as Spring’s cocoon decays, but then it’s time to live again.