Archive for warm winters

Beyond the Blue Horizon

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 6, 2012 by davegerry

Winter sunset on Dupont

If you can fall in love with a city in the dead of a Canadian winter this might be the night. The city is Toronto and the evening sky is a peach. It looks like a sailor’s sky..a sky that promises fair wind under glorious sunshine the next morning. What the hell is this sailor’s sky doing here in January?

People are wandering about this evening arm in arm. They’ve got dogs on leashes. They’re pacing themselves with a minimum of jogging gear.

No one is quickening their stride tonight because there is no bite in the air. There’s no urgency on the surface of your skin.  It is the oddest of winters and we will take it.

Confessions here. For most of my life I have imagined that the best summers I enjoyed as a kid somehow still survive skyward beyond a cloud bank. If I were the Rocketeer I could launch myself into that most brilliant blue and find those days playing out in some kind of fracture of time. Makes no sense, but you’d be surprised how often I draw comfort from that little fantasy.

Those would be the summers of endless days at the beach. We were slathered in baby oil and  lay out like strips of bacon. Our parents were always there, stretched out on blankets, smoking and sipping something that wasn’t quite lemonade from the lemonade thermos. When they opened a picnic hamper no one had any issues with a peanut butter sandwich. We all waited an hour after eating to go back into the water lest we be seized by cramps. It was exactly an hour by the sweep second hand on your father’s watch. We used to count it down. It was one of the great parental myths of childhood.

There’d be Motown on the transistor radio booming up from Detroit across the lake. The Mamas and the Papas and the Beach Boys would harmonize in the shimmering heat. The Doors and Jefferson Airplane were there too, hinting at something a little strange..something that might go sideways at any moment. Kennedy was already gone but Manson…well, no one had ever heard of Manson in those days.

In the evening, the sand would feel wonderfully cool on the soles of your feet and you’d bolt down the path to find someone building a bonfire  by the water’s edge And that’s where you’d catch a glimpse of the new girl from a couple of cottages down and your heart would skip a little. That would happen every summer to girls and boys alike.

If you were lucky, you’d all pile into the family station wagon and hit the drive-in movie. Not a seat belt to be seen. Kids were invariably decked out in animal print pj’s in the back. If you were really fortunate there’d be a naughty moment in the movie that your parents didn’t know about and you’d catch a glimpse of something (not much) through the windshield that was clearly intended for adult eyes.I saw the side of one of Angie Dickinson’s breasts once  I got t a little thrill out of that too.

There’d be fireflies and fist-sized croaking toads and June bugs smashing into the screen door like big crunchy kamikazes. The nights were absolutely alive. And so were you.

You understand that I had to write this. I had to write about sunburns and Noxema, burnt marshmallows on a stick,  schools of minnows in the milky warm shallows and  the first fleeting traces of puppy love. I had to write this, decades gone by, on an unseasonably warm January night in the city of Toronto for no other reason than the sky is a peach….and the old times might still live beyond a distant cloud bank.


Is there room in your canoe?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 12, 2010 by davegerry

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Here I go writing about the weather again..something I have always regarded as a reporter’s last gasp.

But the Olympics are coming to town folks…not only that but it’s the Winter Olympics and Vancouver isn’t really a winter town. Yes, the ambient temperature has been above normal for a couple of weeks and yes, the snow is sluicing off the local mountains. They have enough to ski and such up at Whistler…Whistler was never in question (people can stem christi there six months from now in bikinis if they like)…but Vancouver’s local peaks are praying that the freezing level will plummet.

They might get their wish , but unfortunately,  it’s time for the warm Pacific currents to do their cyclical fandance..El Nino..and no amount of Olympic hype will put the brakes on that.

It’s soggy and grey and mild. It’s worm weather..the kind of weather when you can damn near smell the worms…and you have to wonder how they sold Vancouver as a Winter Olympic venue to the I.O.C. This is not Innsbruck. This is not Lillehammer. This is not the spot you seek if  you want to feel all Currier and Ives. When the big tv networks pan their cameras across the Vancouver tableau a month from now they may very well find a sea of humanity walking wet dogs under golf umbrellas.

This can be one of the most soul-gnawing, depressingly gloomy canvasses on planet earth during the month of February. People jump off bridges here to brighten their day. It’s very sad (like the weather)  but true.

I just finished interviewing passersby on how they cope with all this dreck. Some people eat chocolate and some people sing. Many of us exercise. Without getting all endocrinological, we all know that exercise releases something helpful within. As a bonus, if you do it right, something on the outside may start to look pretty good too. All of which means you might look respectable on a beach..and that’s another way Vancouverites cope with their winter. They travel. They get the hell out of Dodge. There are Olympic television commercials every five seconds now, all of them aimed at repeatedly preaching that The World is Coming. Good, I say. Good for The World. I hope The World realizes that many Vancouverites will be headed in the opposite direction.  They are the wet people you will pass in the airport. Some want to avoid the big Olympic crowd but many would be fleeing in any event..even if the event is something as potentially memorable as the Games.

They have to go, you see. They know deep within their rain-dampened marrow that Vancouver is often no place to hang your hat in February. If it doesn’t get much colder soon, The World will see it too.