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Our Great Canadian Country Winters

A foggy night had spread lacy hoarfrost on every bush and tree and made the whole countryside look like a Christmas postcard.

Many of us would not count winter as our favourite season – the cold weather, the piles of snow, the shovelling, the ice.

Some avoid all this by moving to warmer climates for the winter. Florida, Arizona and California are popular destinations but unfortunately not everyone is in a position to do that. The ones who can’t travel pull out the warm parkas and the clunky boots and pretend to “enjoy the turn of the seasons.”

A recent experience caused me to remember a time when I truly did enjoy the winter season. I visited friends in a country town, where I once lived years ago. The days I spent there reminded me how beautiful a cold winter day can be.

Yes, there are the usual hardships with snow and ice, but that all pales in comparison when you look out the window and see that expanse of clean, snowy white. A foggy night had spread lacy hoarfrost on every bush and tree and made the whole countryside look like a Christmas postcard. Myriads of birds congregate on bird feeders. At my place in the city I only get sparrows and chickadees. They come around in the countryside too, but there are also many others such as blue jays and grosbeaks and warblers.

One morning I stepped out of the house and saw about a dozen prairie chickens by the side of the barn. When I mentioned this to my friend, she explained that the men load the hay bales to feed the cattle at that place. In the process, many seeds are scattered and the prairie chickens come around every morning to pick up the bounty.

The air is clear and crisp out there and the peaceful silence at night ensures a deep sleep, unbroken by traffic noises.

The visit with my friends reminded me again that no sunny southern shores are equal to the beauty of a Canadian country winter.

– Joyce Slobogian writes from Brandon, Manitoba and is the author of To Die For,

available at Pennywise Books in Brandon, and online at Amazon.com.

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