I know, I know . . .

It won’t be long ’til we’re all complaining about the cold, snow and ice that come with our long northern winters, I know, but just for today I want to celebrate the first snowfall, which arrived overnight where I live.

I’ve spent most of the past six weeks travelling around Ontario, from Windsor in the south to Thunder Bay in the north, with stops in many spots in between and more to come over the next two weeks, talking about the Renfrew County inquest. It’s been both exhilarating and exhausting: after almost three years of no work travel, I had forgotten how tiring it can be (and I have gotten three years older, too). It’s been hard work and, often, not especially cheery.

I’ve had an incredible run of good weather, which has made the travel easier. A bit of wind, some rain and a few grey days, but also lots of days of brilliant sunshine and warmth that made it difficult to stay inside and do the work I was there to do. I was starting to think that, perhaps, the onset of winter would wait until December 10, the day after my final work trip for this year.

Yesterday’s Environment Canada weather advisory dashed all those hopes, with ominous warnings about the first significant snowfall of the season.

Let it snow!

However, with a few days at home before my next road trip (Mattawa, North Bay, Port Carling), I didn’t feel deterred by the advisory. Instead, like a little kid, was peering out my office window before dawn this morning to see if the snow had started.

It had!

Downstairs I went, to haul out my winter boots, checking the toes to make sure they had not become a resting place for kitty toys or the like. As soon as it was light enough for me to see, I was out the front door for my first walk this season in the snow.

As I meandered through the neighbourhood, I pushed aside gloomy thoughts both large and small; from the climate crisis to the possibility (probability) that we will have to replace our mysteriously leaking dishwasher (how can water pour out of it when we haven’t even used it for more than a week?) and everything in between.

Instead, as I watched the snowflakes coating the bare tree branches and covering up (at least for the moment) all the mess left behind by the fall season, I felt a great sense of contentment.

Worry about the damage the dishwasher flooding has done to our kitchen’s wood plank floor, anxiety about my far-too-long to-do list, concerns about the state of the world — all would be waiting for me when I got home. For now, it was time to enjoy the tranquility brought by the snow and to appreciate that we are, for the most part, ready for the winter that is now upon us.

Thanks to the hard efforts of my partner, his son and a close friend, the garden has been put to bed for the season, the garlic has been planted, those plants that we keep alive through the winter have been brought inside and the lawn furniture has been put away.

The chimney has been swept, and the woodstove is fired up and keeping us toasty warm. The car has its snow tires on and has had its fall tune-up.

I revelled in the quiet that always comes with the snow and hummed the melody of the Over the Rhine song “First Snowfall:”

“But what is this music/That falls on my ear/It’s the very first snowfall/of a very long year.”

5 thoughts on “I know, I know . . .

    • It’s so easy to get stuck in the muck — literal and figurative — and yet it’s so important to notice the beauty, too. I hope you are finding some beauty in your life these days.

  1. Awwww Pam you are so inspiring!!
    I can only imagine the realities of living out of suitcases for that amount of time. Bet it feels good when you get home…..
    You have such powerful messages, undeniable knowledge and a incredible compassion for this topic so many shy away from, to spread and be heard. Your relentless efforts do not go unnoticed or unappreciated. So many of us working in the trenches with the women do not have the time to do the important work you are doing, so I personally appreciate every article you scribe, every event you attend, every political letter you write and every moment that you are talking about the Recommendations and pushing them forward. Thank you Pam for being you 🙂 Your an inspiration to so many and I personally appreciated sitting at the same table with you each day for a month during the Inquest – knowing you were there to offer your support, give expert testimony, and advocate for change gave me the strength to get through some tough days. Your the Best Pam !!

    • I could do none of the work I do without the work that you and other frontline workers do. It is your determination and the courage of women being subjected to gender-based violence that keep me packing my bags and hitting the road to do what I do.

  2. Many thanks for the uplifting post! It was especially needed today. Can’t wait to spend some time together once you have emptied your suitcase. Safe travels my dear friend❤️

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