Winter: Snow Bunny vs Sunny Bunny

By Capitola

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“Grandma, you are a sunny bunny: Papa and I are snow bunnies” It is with honour that I accepted this title from my grandson. I am indeed a sunny bunny. Born in tropics where the weather is mostly sunshine and rain which does not last.  They were showers, some heavy downpours but then it was back to the sunshine.  You could count on it.

Moving to a temperate climate as an adult in my thirties was not the ideal time to become a snow bunny. I honestly believe that to become one you have to experience the snow as a small child...very small, perhaps as soon as you can stand.

It was from my English husband that I learned to appreciate and enjoy the changing seasons.  My favourites are spring and fall.  I just deal with the rest, winter being the most challenging.

In my mind if people from the tropics say they love winter, I suspect that they are a trifle delusional. No offence meant to other sunny bunnies who have become snow bunnies.  My husband, ex British army, extolled his views on the virtues of the changing seasons.  His experience of sunshine being his army posting in the desert!  My sunshine is tropical with beautiful beaches and friendly people. Wearing only cotton clothes – no need for heavy coats, boots, gloves and all the bulky clothing needed in the winter for warmth. Gardening possible at any time – no need to wait for spring or put a garden to bed for winter.

Real Canadians can deal with the cold and enjoy many winter sports and I have only great respect and admiration for their skills and endurance.  I do have some senior friends who now declare themselves snow birds who head south for the winter and return in spring.  How is that for honesty? Many of them from the prairie provinces, having endured years of hard winters, have decided – enough is enough. I applaud them and look forward to their return in the spring.

My first experience of snow was while on holiday in Switzerland.  We arrived to

104 degrees in Zurich (hotter than I had ever experienced). We took the cable car to the top of the Klewenalp from the town of Beckenreid along south bank of the lake Lucerne.  There was still some snow on the mountain.  I was fascinated.  Picking up the white stuff, holding it, letting it slip through my fingers.  So this was snow.  I was intrigued that it could be so hot in Zurich and have snow on the mountain.  It was quite something for my tropical mind to absorb.

I think of it as the “winter of my discontent”.  As a new immigrant and having to take 3 buses to get to and from work....that winter brought at least 2 feet of snow. Taking the first bus was not a problem, waiting for the second bus nearly finished me.  The bus schedule was off because of the weather and road conditions. I stood waiting for my bus...rubbing my gloved hands together, moving from one foot to the other, walking forwards and backwards, just moving to keep warm.

The tears poured down my face and I wondered just what was I doing here!  I had visions of my grave suitably engraved:  “She died from the cold.”  I left work at 5 pm and got home after 9 pm - cold, frozen and feeling very sorry for myself. I was an immigrant and survival the only option.

Winter sports...I did try skiing – cross country with some kind friends and found that I could stand and move forward a very short distance.  I went with a group in the advertised beginners course to Merritt.  Before I could get my skis on, the others were ready to take off.  Not wanting to hold them up I told them to go ahead I would follow at my own pace.  I did not get very far – I took off my skis and sat under a tree drinking coffee.  They were surely not beginners and had probably been skating and skiing for many years.  I knew my limitations – that of a sunny bunny.

On their return, my husband, who enjoyed the cross country run, took my picture and declared he had never seen me look so miserable!  Was I miserable – you bet! I felt that way and it showed.

I did enjoy spring and summer outdoor activities – hiking, kayaking, canoeing and all other activities that did not involve the white stuff.

I love Canada and am glad to call Vancouver home.  I comfort myself with the thought that I live in the west and winter will soon be over.  I just have to dress properly and enjoy the season.

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