Winter is a see-saw

I find winter to be all about ups and downs. Colds and illness. Good weather turning crummy and then good again. Snow conditions great for snowball fights or skiing, and then decidedly unbrilliant for those same activities. Endless grey skies followed by brilliant blue days full of sunshine and sparkling snow. My own desire and drive to be outside at this time of year waxes and wanes with those changes and are usually tied very closely to them (as I think must be true for most of us).

Every day is a new day in the winter in a way that I just can’t compare to summer. I know how I will feel most summer days in terms of greeting the day and my energy to get outside; in the winter, it’s a bit of a crapshoot, and I really just have to take it as it comes.

On Saturday it took a good long while to get everyone outside (we do love our books and curling up with them), but once we did, the tobagganing hill out our back door proved to be just the thing. But I had to draw a line when my older son kept insisting that it was time for a snowball fight. I was actually in the mood for one (and I can’t say that I always am), but repeated attempts to show him how futile it was to make snowballs with the sparkly powder all around us proved frustrating in the extreme.

“It’s great snowball snow!” he kept repeating with a somewhat manic expression. “Fine,” I said “if you make me an arsenal of snowballs, I’ll take you on later.”

And darn that kid, he did it. They weren’t brilliant, but snowballs they were, nicely lined up in rows behind two snow forts constructed at a decent distance from each other. The boys had built the first fort over a couple of days recently, so a hasty construction stood in for the second. Younger son and I scored the more fortified of the two structures and the fight began, after dark, when I finally felt like going outside again.

It was a great battle, and apart from one standoff at the midpoint when older son threatened to withdraw after the younger one trampled a little too carelessly on the fort itself, it went off without a hitch. Lots of great shouting, rolling and diving under a clear starry sky (and I didn’t injure myself in any way!), and happily exhausted children at bedtime. My seven-year old went from lights out to a deep snore in what seemed like seconds. I vowed to implement the end of the day snowball fight more often, but of course I have now finally come down with a cold and am happy to just look outside the window from the warmth of the house and the comfort of my chair…for now.

Edited to add: my other half and his adult daughter, who is here for a visit, were able to spend a good chunk of today clearing more trail on our land, so I should send some kudos their way. It was close to -20 when they headed out, undeterred. This makes up for their wimpy turn on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa where we took the boys for a skate on Sunday…but that’s another story.

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