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Voices ᐋ ᐄᔮᔨᐧᒫᓂᐧᐃᒡ

Wintry thoughts

BY Sonny Orr Jan 15, 2022

I’ve lost a few shovels since last winter. Having to buy new ones for this winter is a hassle, but it’s worse when you have none and wait for days to be rescued by the heavy equipment operators, who seem to be working day and night lately. 

However, I have a new toy, something I got late last winter – a small hand-held electric snow blower. It’s effective at clearing the deep stuff and seems to perform as advertised. Also, I have a huge ice chisel for those stubborn icy patches that grow into an impenetrable mound, hard enough to give an impressive rebound from the steel shovel when jabbed with force. But this year I’m prepared, the only thing missing is the traditional gas snowblower, but sometimes it’s a hassle to get gas in the middle of a blizzard.

Yes, winter has hit us hard this year, with trees slowly enveloped in the picture-perfect snow on the branches, only to be violently whipped off by a freezing hurricane the following day. The cycle repeats itself, a day of snow and blizzards, then winds, then snow again. 

Ahhh, the joy of frozen body parts has only just begun. I wonder if the stories we heard that the cold preserves living tissue just as well as that prime rib steak in the freezer, which is probably why I’m relatively wrinkle free at my prime age.

The other great pleasure is how simple it was to install the latest in space technology on my roof. Yes, the fabled Starlink arrived and is now located above my head as I write this column. I’m impressed at how it handled 100-kilometre winds and being ravaged by snow and rain, that more smiley wrinkles were produced on my face. Happiness can be achieved.

I still have to finish the installation, as I and my hard-working construction elf were afraid of turning into Mary Poppins and flying off the roof with the dish in hand. After a lot of shouting and swearing at the elements, I finally plugged in the system and it worked flawlessly. I was tainted by reading so many negative posts about the system that I thought something was wrong with it. But so far, no problems. Nuff said.

Now we are trying to outrun the ominous Omicron variant, which has hit the country with rapid fury, and left us to worry about getting another virus-fighting jab. All I know is that it’s safer outdoors than staying cooped up inside, so you still have to succumb to either fear, claustrophobia or again, the safe cold of the great outdoors. There is no safe place to hang out this winter so look forward to a lot more sledding and skiing.

I’ll stick to shoveling and sweating a bit, rather than venturing out too far into a blizzard or subzero weather, or getting hopelessly stuck in a truck, or having to wait outdoors again for the next wave of outdoor lineups coming to a mall or grocery store near you. Other than that, I wish everyone Happy Holidays and stay safe, stay healthy, keep up with the routine we’ve learned over the last 21 months.

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Sonny Orr is Cree from Chisasibi, and has been a columnist for the Nation for over 20 years. He regularly pens Rez Notes from the cozy social club in Whapmagoostui where he resides.