Outside Joy22 January 2011
I left my office yesterday and was really quite happy to be walking outside. It was a clear afternoon and still a bit of sun lingering from behind the buildings. Being winter, it was cold, but I know when I go out to walk home, to the store or anywhere else that I chose to live here with whatever weather is to be expected.
I have spent many days out in much colder weather than we ever see in Toronto, and was frequently doing work that not many people appreciated. I thought it was wonderful being outside and let's say encouraging people to follow the rules.
However, it seems to me that this is not how many, if not most, people feel about winter in Canada or even the milder variety we encounter in Toronto. I have yet to figure out what people's real complaint is, because "it is cold" doesn't resonate with me and makes me think they should dress appropriately and wouldn't notice the cold. I'm not talking about people in unfortunate circumstances who by little or no choice of their own are forced out into the cold, I understand a complaint from them. I'm thinking more of people who by their own choice work in well paying jobs or are studying at the university.
It seems to me that a winter spent indoors "safe from the cold" is just as much a waste as a summer spent indoors to avoid the heat and humidity, which are infrequently avoided indoors anyway. Winter gives an opportunity to explore the outdoors from another perspective. A hot summer forces you to slather on sunscreen and wear almost nothing, and still you may be uncomfortable. Winter allows you to layer up to just the right level to keep you warm while pursuing your activity whether it be walking, running, skiing or whatever else.
So don't stay inside all winter fretting about the awful cold the radio announcer keeps mentioning, snowsuit up and enjoy what your city has to offer you. The waterfront is beautiful in the winter, but remember to cover your face as the wind is strong. If you want a calmer, less windy adventure, consider your local ravine or a trip to the Don Valley paths. Work up to a longer period outside by taking a walk around your block, you might even meet a neighbour along the way. Finally, you might go skating on your local rink. The ice is more enjoyable when it isn't melting and the crowds are smaller.
Let's wish for some clear sunny days, even if the temperature dips because there's nothing better in the winter than a sunny day when your boots aren't being soaked by salty water.