Posts Tagged ‘winter’

By Matthew Casey

Fall is full of wonderful and vibrant colours.

The days are getting shorter and the air is becoming a little cooler and crisper. What could be coming our way? Fall.  Out of all four seasons autumn is my absolute favourite and I just love the transition of summer into this glorious and often dreaded season.

It may be a difficult concept to grasp that fall is my favourite season, but I think that it if you look at some of the great attributes of this time of year and don’t just focus on the fact that it is the end of summer, then fall really is a likeable season. The official start to the season isn’t until September 23, but here is why I love fall.

First of all, summer is so hot! I love mild temperatures but those days where the mercury can climb to well into the 30s with a humidex factor of 40 are just too much for me.  Some people love the heat, but I am not one of them.  I prefer temperatures that range in the high teens to low twenties—without ANY humidity.  The last couple of weeks as the air masses in the eastern half of Canada seem to be transitioning from those hot summer conditions to a more seasonable cooler air mass typical of fall have been great for me.  The cooler temperatures are also great if you love to exercise outdoors, it just makes jogging or going for a walk a little more comfortable when the breeze has a slight chill to it.

Secondly I love fall because it is the most colourful season we experience.  Sure the summer is great where everything is green and growing, but I am talking about rich colours like reds, yellows, and oranges.  When I lived in New Brunswick I loved to take a leisurely drive through the countryside of the province right when the fall foliage was becoming saturated with vibrant and rich hues of colour.  All of those maple trees off in the distance looked like an oil painting brushed by the hand of Mother Nature herself. It just gives me an immense appreciation for the wonder of nature’s beauty and makes me realize how often I can be oblivious to it when I am caught up in the rush of everyday life.  Just taking in the wonders of all the colours takes my mind off of the worries of the day for a moment.  It’s almost like the proverbial “stopping to smell the roses” saying.

There is also something about the air and the way it smells and feels in the fall.  The air, no matter if you live in a big city or a rural part of town, just seems to have such a freshness to it that just isn’t there in those hot summer months.   I know when I step outside my door on a cool fall morning the air just smells so great and it is invigorating and it livens my senses.  If I was able to take a bite out of the air in the fall I absolutely would!  The cooler and fresher air of the season also makes sleeping much more comfortable than in summer.  For once I can actually sleep without the hum of an air conditioner or a fan in the background.

Canada Geese are majestic birds that migrate in large flocks every fall.

Another sign that summer is drawing to a close is when the flocks of birds begin gathering on the power lines and in the trees.  They are getting ready to fly away and migrate to their winter home.   I find that it is amazing to watch a flock of birds flying through the sky, all off to one place together.  In particular, I love Canada geese and watching a large flock of them fly over head is very majestic and also gives me a sense of the wonder of nature.

So all in all maybe fall doesn’t look to be as bad as it seems on the surface. If you delve deeper into it, it really is one of the most amazing seasons that I am glad we get to experience year after year here in Canada.  If you haven’t taken the time to admire the beauty of fall then maybe this will inspire you to get out there and do so this year.  Now if I were to talk about winter on the other hand…well don’t get me started on what I think of that “wonderful” season!

What is your favourite season?

Tomorrow is February 2, maybe better known as Groundhog Day.  It’s the day in the middle of the dead of Winter that sees the celebration of  a tradition that dates back to 1841.   Everyone looks to a furry little animal in some hope that he won’t see his shadow and everyone will be blessed with an early Spring.  It might be false hope but at least it gives people something to cling to during the cold hard Winter!

Even with all of today’s weather forecasting technology this tradition still stands and many people believe it to be more accurate than the local TV weatherman.  Now whether or not a furry little creature can predict the weather remains to be seen.  Although, one thing for sure about the tradition is it’s a day that there are usually no protesters against it.  That is until now.

A group that people may well be aware of is PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.  PETA protests against Canada’s annual seal hunt, and they like to make bold demonstrations by throwing pies at political figure’s faces–cue Gail Shea.  Well now this group is frowning upon another tradition, Groundhog Day.   They want the town of Wiarton, Ontario to invest in a robotic version of Willie, the local groundhog, and for Wiarton to stop keeping a real groundhog in captivity.

Now, I’m an animal lover myself and I don’t have anything against this organization but isn’t this going a little too far? According to Wiarton’s mayor Gwen Gilbert, Wiarton Willie has it “made in the shade” by groundhog standards.  Firstly, he’s kept in a climate controlled house that is also kept very clean, he gets fresh vegetables and greens every morning delivered to him, he gets a bi-annual check up from his own personal veterinarian, and he is safe from all predators.  Now if this is unethical treatment of an animal then I think he could live with this!  He has it a lot better than most of his groundhog friends who face diseases and being eaten by a coyote on a daily basis in the wild.

All I have to say is, PETA  leave this alone!  This animal is treated better than some children in parts of the world and is exposed to a crowd all but once a year. I think given the facts of his life he probably lives better than any other groundhog in the wild.  Groundhog Day is a fun tradition that brings some joy to people in the midst of the depressing winter, so let’s not try and ruin it!  A robotic version of Wiarton Willie simply won’t do.  Sorry PETA, I’m not with you on this one.

—Matthew Casey

Signs of Winter All Around…

Posted: November 30, 2009 by Matthew Casey in Commentaries
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What a mild fall this has been! Not really any snow in Toronto as of yet, and temperatures have been climbing to the mid single digits most days.  But even despite this gentle start to fall signs that old man winter is about to show his dreary face are everywhere.

In most parking lots snow clearing equipment sits at the far ends of the lots.  They wait patiently like starving vultures to get their first taste of snow. Another sign is the wind.  It’s getting a chill to it that hits you like a mean step mother’s breath.

So all in all we can’t forget that winter is on its way.  The signs are there and they’re becoming more obvious each passing day.  All I can say is I wish the weather would stay as mild as it has been for the whole winter.  In my humble opinion if global warming could give us milder winters, then it wouldn’t be such a bad thing—I think.

—Matthew Casey