Eva Blaskovic does not like the cold but has a strange fascination with it. Most Canadian children are warned not to touch metal playground structures in the winter with their tongues, but in Alberta, one cannot touch metal with bare hands at extremely cold temperatures. The gas station scene in chapter 23 is real.
Eva likes to test herself with physical feats during weather extremes to acquire “experience” to help her write. She reads books about adventures in Canada’s North, from the historical quest for the Northwest Passage to realistic fiction about survival in the cold. A favourite book is With Scott to the Pole (retold by Howard Marshall), Captain Scott’s trek across Antarctica in the race for the South Pole.
The above is taken from the new “About the Author” section in my novel, Beyond the Precipice. In the story, after a beautiful fall, winter descends. By December, the exotic and brutal conditions of this part of the world prevail.
Beyond the Precipice is not about weather, of course, but I incorporated central Alberta climate because such conditions (and beauty) are atypical elsewhere in the world where large cities exist.
“Today … orange clouds, rainbow sun dogs, blue-white snow.”
For those of you who live–well, anywhere except here–what is extreme cold really like? First of all, it’s fondly referred to as “square tire weather.”
Below is tonight’s entry on my cell phone’s notepad:
“Currently, I’m passing the time freezing in the car while the windshield warms up and de-ices. I’ve been cursing the constant snowfall, but tonight it’s crystal clear–thus, more crisp–with frost covering all of the windows. Snow can be swept off, but ice adheres. I refuse to use the scraper because I’m too cold to move, and there’s a wind chill out there with teeth that attack fingers.
“Tonight’s low is -31°C, with a wind chill of who-knows-what. We actually have an Extreme Cold Warning in effect.” — Dec. 9
“Black ice, brutal temperature, blowing snow.
That is all.” 😛
But it could be worse.
I think fondly of Captain Scott and his men on the trek to the South Pole, and I’m grateful I’m not them as I warm up at home with central heating instead of spending the night in a tent.
So … that is why I write about cold. I have to make the best of it.
Many Albertans and other Prairie dwellers–even my own kids (gasp!)–aren’t like me. Men, especially, don’t seem to flinch. But I’ve always been one to prefer the heat.
Brr, I shiver as I write this. Outside, there is not an animal in sight nor bird to be heard. (Because they’re not like us–they’re smart.) Our squirrel is surely pleased with its hoard of pine cones, stashed into various crotches of branches and dug under the roots of trees.
“-99°C: Albertans be like, ‘You’re still coming to school/work/exams/Christmas concert, right?'”
And through the night, the constant scraping, scraping, scraping of snow removal bladers clearing the roads …