Nova Scotian winters have a notoriety for being unpredictable, messy, and invoking the good humour of its residents. As someone from a rural area, my experience with snowstorms entails school cancellations, Dad plowing the driveway and section of the dirt road with his little Kabota tractor, and sitting clandestinely around the warm glow of the wood stove, waiting for the snow to melt off the internet antenna so we can check Facebook to hear the news from neighbours throughout the community.
This is the first urban snowstorm I’ve had to endure (the last snowstorm class was happily cancelled and I stayed curled up in my little apartment all day). No, today was my first venture out into the
Living five kilometres off campus, I foolishly thought I could hop on my regular bus and make it home before dark.
I’m not going to continue whining about the weather because we all know exactly what it’s like if you live in a place where it snows in excess.
I am, however, going to marvel about the wonderful things that happen when you walk through Halifax during a snow storm.
The two buses I attempted to travel on were stuffed full of people who had shared weather and bus-related jokes with me at the bus stop. The bus drivers were so cheerful I wanted to hug them, and thoughtful enough to let people off in the middle of traffic with the promise that if they saw them later, they would pick the enduring traveler back up.
After making the executive decision to get off the bus following twenty minutes and twenty metres of distance achieved, I headed out into the final frontier.
[I would like to take this moment to apologize to my boots for calling them bulky and ugly.
You are perfect, Boots, don’t you ever change. Your steadfast tread protected me from the snow-covered sidewalks that had deceptively hid their icy intentions underneath. Your thickness prevented the mutiny of my toes from my feet. You keep doing you, Boots.]
Chances are, if you’re walking because the buses are stuck in traffic two kilometres deep, other people have also abandoned
ship bus. These people become your allies, your companions, your Fellowship of the Ring. They become Viggo Mortesen, Orlando Bloom, Sean Bean, John Rhys-Davies, and Elijah Wood.
Because guys with beards get even better looking when tromping through the snow like a wild ranger, amirite?
These companions are the only living things you can see within visible distance (which, to be honest, isn’t very far).
By the time you leave backed-up traffic behind, there are no cars heading into the city, and the roads are empty and the sidewalks are ankle-deep in snow. I opted to walk on the road, something that is the only option in rural areas anyway, but occurred to me might not even be legal in the city. (Can someone please tell me if I committed a crime or not?).
Viggo Mortesen and Orlando Bloom stirred up a conversation a few metres in front of me. “When did you start?” “Around five.” “Oh, same.” “Do you want some water?”
At this point it’s dark and everyone I encounter is red-cheeked, sweaty, and panting because let’s face it, Halifax is literally just one giant hill and snow is damn hard to walk in if you’re not an athlete or in possession of snow shoes.
On a flat stretch I caught up with Sean Bean, who had passed me on a particularly steep hill due to my lack of physical strength and fullness of bladder. (Sidenote: use the bathroom before heading out into a snowstorm). He asked me how long I’ve been walking (an hour and half since my departure from campus) and I asked him where he started from. We both chuckled tiredly at his remark about it being good exercise, wished each other luck, and went separate ways where the road split.
Elijah Wood was carrying two bags and lugging a suitcase on wheels up a hill as I was going down. He joked about his travels as we passed. I hope he got to where he was going to, and that it’s less blizzardy there.
There is a moment, when your companions are gone and you pause to take a breather, that you realize how quiet it is when there’s no cars. You can actually hear the snow falling. You can hear silence, something that in the city you feared was lost and only available in weekend visits to the country.
So thank you, Halifax. Thank you for making a massive mess of the roads and turning the most good-natured people out of the buses and to the snowy trails to each individual’s Shire, each person’s home. Thank you for providing a little bit of companionship during my ninety-minute trek, and for the moment of peaceful silence in between the snowflakes.
Thank you for #stormchips.
And I will thank you even more if you cancel classes tomorrow. 🙂
Safe travels everyone!