According to the calendar, it’ll be Spring Thursday, but it was sixteen below when we got up. And we’ve had a foot of new snow accumulation in the past two or three days.
In other words — it looks nothing like Spring here in Alberta. And we are sick of winter. Really not getting along with her anymore and trying to find a way to break it off permanently without hurting her feelings.
But we’re Canadians! We’re polite. We can’t say mean things like, “Get the heck out of my life already!” Not even to winter.
Instead, we stoically gird our loins (whatever that means), and just slog on, meticulously putting one foot after another in the exact spot in the snow where the person before us broke trail.
And we keep up the faith by looking for signs that winter will end. Eventually. Hopefully this year.
Here’s my Top Five Signs that Spring WILL Return.
I blogged last year about being surprised by snow mold. Apparently mold that grows under the snow releases spores when the snow melts, and can trigger pollen-type allergies. And before our latest snow, it was definitely melting.
So when I find myself constantly clearing my throat, coughing and sneezing even though I’m not sick, I know the back of winter has been broken.
Even if she is throwing a hissy fit about it.
With the melting snow and ice, huge holes in the pavement appear. I’m not sure if there are more potholes around here (due either to dramatic temperature changes or inadequeate road maintanence) or if it just seems like there are more.
But I know that as the snow melts, huge holes appear in the road. Maybe they were already there, and I’ve just forgotten, but that is one thing about snow and ice: it does tend to fill the potholes.
So when the roads turn from slippery to bone-jarring? I know Spring is actually coming. Eventually.
Birds & Bees
When you visit the zoo, the normally sleepy animals are … ahem … rather busy. Even the cougars.
No. I am not kidding.
My kids and I had the supreme good fortune (yes, I’m being sarcastic) of walking up to the cougar cage at Calgary Zoo just as the male cougar was … hmm, how shall I say this?
scratching an itch having his way getting his jollies doing the dirty bumping uglies boffing dipping his wick giving her the bone humping making whoopee hiding the salami storming the cotton gin … mounting the female.
She did not sound happy about it. If you want more details, watch this National Geographic video, but at your own risk. It’s nightmare stuff, girls!
Her yowl raised my most primal hackles. Every cell in my body screamed “MORTAL DANGER! RUN!!!” A little kid next to us whimpered, “I’m scared, Daddy.”
Yes, we are lucky that way. On the same visit, I had the privilege of viewing a spider monkey’s wedding tackle (link is NWS). It looked like he sat on a carrot. A long skinny one. You’re welcome.
I’ve also seen a shark’s giant redwood, and it was both.
And “crazy otter sex” was an inside joke in our household before this month.
Crazy otter sex, however, had nothing on crazy cougar sex.
Crows and Canada Geese
Yep, our big birds are snowbirds. Darn them. And when you see your first crow or Canada Goose, there’s hope for the future even if it doesn’t feel any different than January.
I saw my first crow this week. He was eating a decaying coyote carcass on the side of the road. Somehow, I wasn’t that thrilled to see him.
I haven’t seen my first Canada goose here yet, but there were lots of them on the Bow River in Calgary two weeks ago, so I know they’re on their way. Just taking the scenic route.
Yes, robins also leave and eventually come back, but by the time we see them, we don’t need faith that Spring will return — it’s already happening.
Roll Up the Rim
The surest sign — the single thing that most brings the joy and hope of Spring to the heart of an Albertan — is the return of Tim Hortons’ Roll Up the Rim campaign.
Albertans take Roll Up the Rim very seriously. Seriously, they do. Last year, I was observed throwing away a Tim Hortons cup unrolled, and everyone gasped. It was like I’d stripped and sung the Diarrhea song from Parenthood at the top of my lungs in front of the queen (they take her very seriously also).
There are all sorts of urban legends involving the Rim. Supposedly somebody threw away a cup that was a big winner — the car, or maybe a bunch of money. Some kids dug it out of the trash and won, but the jerk who threw it away sued them for some of the money. Supposedly.
You can even buy a cool, key ring gadget called the Rimroller that is designed specifically for making it possible to unroll the rim in one smooth, suave gesture. You can even get your company logo embossed on the Rimrollers. Available only at Princess Auto or Lee Valley Tools though, not at Tim Hortons.
There’s even an urban legend about that. Supposedly the inventor offered the patent to Tim Hortons, but they were too cheap or too stupid to buy it.
Roll up the Rim is kind of like McDonald’s Monopoly campaign except everybody is sorta nutty about it. Everybody.
Even me. I made a special trip to Princess Auto just for a Rimroller. And now I’m obsessed by the thought that I threw away my new car last year before I knew better.