Enjoying life, off the hamster wheel
Winter in Vancouver
A furious flurry of snowflakes fell on the Lower Mainland over the last couple of days. It’s really pretty! Here’s a picture of the back lane from our balcony after the first night’s snowfall:
Vancouver is adrift in a sea of the white fluffy stuff, and it’s wreaked havoc on commuters and communities. Bus routes have been shut down, and some residents have lost power. The snow started falling on Monday, today is Thursday, and the forecast calls for a warming trend that includes occasional dips into the below 0°C digits, but then in a few days it will warm up and we’ll probably get lots of rain, and everything will return to normal.
Most of us love the snow, but it can be treacherous in the Lower Mainland for a number of reasons. First, we live in a temperate climate, therefore when it snows, it’s pretty wet and heavy. Consequently when you’re driving, it’s almost like perpetually hydroplaning – you’re driving on compact slush. It’s like spring conditions to the rest Canada. The cold snap usually doesn’t last more than a week, so it warms up, cools down, ices over, then becomes slush. It makes driving rather difficult. As for walking on unshoveled sidewalks, there should be a new reality TV show about that, called “Extreme Pedestrian”.
Second, most of us are used to rain and sun, and lots of rain at that, so we don’t buy snow tires and can be content with knowing that all-season radials will take care of most of our driving needs. When the snow actually hits, our tires aren’t sufficient enough to give us the traction we need, and because we know it won’t last long, we don’t buy snow tires. I thought of buying snow tires once, but then again, if I’m really only going to need them for maybe 2 weeks out of the entire year, why bother?
Third, many drivers in Vancouver don’t know how to drive in the snow. A lot of people think their normal driving habits will work in the snow, and are usually pretty surprised and shaken when they find themselves intimate with a telephone pole, as was the case last night when a poor, unfortunate fellow skidded out of control and crashed into a light standard. I was driving with my friend at the time, and we stopped to check out if he was okay. He was shaken, but okay, and was waiting for a tow truck. My guess is he was going a little fast, and rather than gearing down, he applied the brakes, resulting in an unfortunate turn of events. So, for all you Vancouverites, remember to use a lower gear, check your tires, and if you’re nervous about driving, take the bus, even if you have to wait a little longer at the bus stop. And if you’re cold because it’s a damp cold here, put on a pair of long johns and wear a pair of gloves and a hat. You’ll be happier for it.
With all that said, here are some pictures of the pretty snow taken from our balcony over the past couple of days:
First day of snowfall, Nov. 26
Nov. 27, dramatic sky
Nov. 27, evening sun on trees
On the 28th, I experimented with another lens, trying to capture the stratification of the snow precariously balanced on a branch, and the holes in the snow left over from from melting
There’s a house across the street that Neil and I love. It’s a house that needs a lot of work to restore, but if we could, we’d buy it and invest the effort to restore it. It’s really pretty. So we dream of owning a house like that, and take pictures of it instead, with its long icicles hanging from the eaves
Finally, yesterday a fat red breasted robin perched on a branch in front of our balcony. It seemed as interested in me taking its picture, as I was in it sitting on the branch.
As for our furry four-legged friend Freds, I snuck the illegal alien out onto our balcony so he could see first hand what snow is all about. Prince Charming would have none of it, put one precious paw in the snow and bolted for the comforts of “his” chair, but not before declaring his ownership over his scratching post by giving it a good clawing.
It’s warming slowly, the snow is melting and in a few days there will be little patches left over here and there, reminders of a beautiful snowfall in our wonderful city. Of course, there are always the snowy mountains to play on!