January 17th, 2010:
A little cooler today, after the above-freezing temperatures of the past few days, but still only about -11°C this morning. The moderate temperatures are forecast to continue past the end of the month. Will this be one of those record warm Januaries?
We haven’t had any new snow for a long time, and much of the little we had has melted. Cars are a mess.
People say, “Just wait – we’ll pay for this later!” but I don’t believe them. Just because we have some unseasonably nice weather doesn’t mean it will be followed by a raging blizzard, though it’s certainly possible.
I remember back in 1961 I spent two months in winter taking a course at Banff. It wasn’t cold there, but there was an awful lot of snow. Yet back home in Wynyard they had a very warm February, so warm that they lost most of their snow. The big news from home was that Doctor Polec actually went out and played a round of golf.
I guess we could be considered to live in a harsh climate, where the temperature can range from +40°C in the summer to -45°C in the winter, and can change 40° or more overnight; where winter storms can block main highways sometimes for days at a time, and snow-clearing budgets can raise our taxes considerably; where summer droughts can make our prairies look like a desert.
But I can’t remember the last time we feared for our lives because of an earthquake, or lost our roof to a tornado, or had to be rescued from our roof during a flood. Possibly because of our sparse population, those types of disasters rarely affect humans. The last time we had anything resembling an insurrection was when Louis Riel and his band of Metis settlers tried to make a statement in 1885.
Thanks to world-wide media coverage we can see first hand what goes on in the rest of the world, most recently in Haiti, where the death toll could reach a quarter of a million souls. Images of the most desperate cases of hopeless human suffering imaginable fill the screen. Every year there seems to be a natural disaster of epic proportions somewhere in the world, usually in the warmer climes.
And here we sit, snug and cozy in our centrally-heated homes, with a never-ending supply of good, potable water on tap, and a supply of far more food than we could ever eat just a couple of blocks away at the supermarket, and complain about our harsh climate, our high taxes, and our governments. Kinda makes you think, doesn’t it?