COMMENT: The waiting game

Arlen MacLaine
By Arlen MacLaine
October 11th, 2013

The leaves, they are a changin.  The changing of the leaves has always signified a transition period. It is the end of the warm summer days, where Rosslanders can be found immersed in the plethora of outdoor activities available to us.  It is the end of days spent swimming and swinging off the rope swing at Nancy Greene Lake.  It is the end of complaining about the heat down the hill in Trail.  However, inextricably tied to the idea of an ‘end’ is also the idea of a ‘beginning’.

I believe there is a song that states, ‘Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end,’ and this example is no different.  It is the beginning of shorter, colder days with more inclement weather.  It is the beginning of going on firewood runs and worrying about how well your house is insulated.  It is the beginning of sharing our town with the bears, and dealing with all those pesky leaves in our yards.  Most importantly though, it is the beginning of ‘the wait’.

The dreaded shoulder season. The leaves tell us that winter is coming…but not for a few agonizing months.  Months where we don’t have the many summer activities to keep our minds and bodies preoccupied.  Months where the days are short, cold, and wet.  Months where we’ll spend hours drinking coffee in the cafes because we haven’t been out of the house in a few days.

Some people work during these months: they are the lucky ones.  Other poor souls are in between jobs, working seasonally during the winter and summer, and are stuck in a kind of limbo or purgatory.  If you live here, and live here for the winters, autumn is an obstacle to be overcome.  Keeping your sanity, while spending more time indoors with less to do is the game, and everyone has a different way of playing.

There is beer to be brewed, preserves to be preserved, and baking to be baked.  The house could use some winter-proofing, the car needs winter tires, and that woodshed needs to be filled. There are also your favourite ski and board flicks that could use a viewing.  Though, if used incorrectly, they may produce the opposite of the desired effect. I usually make and eat a lot of soup, and drink a lot of coffee too.

There are community events, such as the film festival, ski swaps, and gear sales, that are strategically planned to help us get through this difficult time.  This point is important, as it showcases the fact that we are all dealing with the same struggles, and can help each other.  Host a beer or wine tasting, sushi, potluck, or fondue night.  Don’t stay home and shoulder this burden on your own.  Go out, see your friends, and be social.  Everything is better shared.

For, you see, there is a happy ending to this tale.  The night is darkest just before dawn, and before too long, that dawn will come.  Ullr will blanket us in a sea worth more than gold, and we shall have new life again.  The message here is to not lose hope along the way.  Reach out, for there are many an elder in these parts who have lived through countless shoulder seasons, and they can help guide you.  Do not fret, for soon winter will be within our grasp, and whatever came before will be forgotten.

Arlen Maclaine is lead reporter for the Rossland Telegraph.

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