Susan D in Ottawa, Canada: Winter sets in

1 February

January brought us the provincial lockdown as the pre-Christmas prediction of an increase in cases came to pass.  People, even some now former politicians, ignored the call to have Christmas with only immediate family and to avoid all non-essential travel and case numbers have indeed risen.   The Premier of Ontario warned on January 8th, “we’re in a desperate situation” and “the consequences will be more dire” if we do not respect the health measures currently in place.  He added that if cases rise further and hospitals are overwhelmed, the shutdown could continue beyond the end of January.  On January 12th he declared a state of emergency and stay at home order to last until February 19th.  The Premier was promptly savaged by a reporter in the Globe and Mail, “With clownish incompetence, Ontario enacts a new, incomprehensible ‘lockdown’.“ *  Once again the communication gets a failing grade.

We are to stay at home, but being forced inside is a winter state for most Canadians.  When I last wrote I attributed a benign character to Weather. Now it is once again its old self, and after holding back so long it had to let go and return to normal behaviour.  January first brought us periods of heavy snow, followed by a period of frigid days and nights.  Writing in early January, an Ottawa reporter reminded us of who we really are as Canadians.

We are a winter people, ice people, nice people.  There is only one dominant season for Canadians, the one that defines us (whether we like it or not). … The season that extinguishes all others. The season that enters Canadian conversations all year long (even in 40 C weather). … Winter is not simply a season, it’s a state of mind. **

We should really not mind this winter, cradled as we are in its gentle mittened hands – gentle, that is, if we obey the order to stay at home.

* Urbach, Robyn. “With clownish incompetence, Ontario enacts a new, incomprehensible ‘lockdown’ “. Globe and Mail, Jan. 11, 2021.

** Cornish, Douglas. “The Winter of Our Identity”. Globe and Mail, January 11, 2021.

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