In the Bleak Midwinter

If you are currently living in Toronto or the surrounding area (or, god forbid, you live in Northern Ontario or in Manitoba) you are probably aware that today was really, really, cold. We here in Toronto have been fairly lucky these past two winters or so. It’s never gotten extremely cold, or at least not for long, and we definitely haven’t had much snow.

This winter has proven to be a little fiercer, if confusing. A little over a week ago it was around 10 degrees celsius. It’s now -15. I have no doubt that CTV News’ top story for the 6 p.m. edition will no doubt be how ridiculously frigid it has been.

My topic of today’s writing is a bit of an offshoot of that. Yesterday was called “Blue Monday,” and it was apparently the most depressing day of the year. I’ve been aware of these days for a few years now, and I don’t remember exactly how the day was calculated to be the most depressing, but it makes sense to me. Christmas and New Years, two big holidays close to each other, have long since passed and there’s no real holiday in sight. It’s bitterly cold. You’ve probably already given up on some New Years resolutions.

Winter, in my opinion, is the worst time of the year for people. There’s probably a reason you’ve heard endless tales of summer romance (at the very least you’ll probably never forget Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta’s tale) but not any of winter romance. Or maybe you have—a pretentious piece of literary fiction probably has several winter romances going.

In the summer, the heat can make people do crazy things. The winter makes everyone want to go and shut themselves away from the world. If only humans could hibernate just as lots of mammals do. But alas, hibernation isn’t practical in the real world by any means.

Winter, then, is something that can really put people in a foul mood. No one likes to be bundled in twenty layers to keep warm, and fewer like to have to shovel driveways or walkways. Winter is nice to look at, no doubt, but it isn’t fun to deal with. That’s something I say a lot.

I’ve got my own personal annoyance to deal with in the winter. I live in an otherwise heated townhouse, but my room is perhaps the least-insulated room in the house. For years I’ve depended on a single blanket to keep me warm, and, thanks to a Christmas gift, I now also have a housecoat to keep me warm in the mornings and nights.

I always keep in mind the fact that winter won’t be around forever. I’ll count the small victories- it’ll probably be warmer for more days than it’ll be cold. Unless the cold and winter is your thing, in which case I respect your opinion, just keep in mind that the cold won’t be around forever. Don’t let the cold get you down.

If you want a sad soundtrack for the bleak midwinter, by the way, check out this playlist CBC Radio 3 threw together yesterday.


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