Warm weather melts outdoor activity

WENDY ELLIOTT welliott@bellaliant.net @saltwirenetwork



SaltWire Network



It has not been an auspicious beginning to 2022. With cases of COVID-19 via the Omicron variant surging throughout Atlantic Canada, it is difficult some days to view the year ahead with optimism and hope. Positivity can seem to be in short supply. But then you hear stories of human kindness and community spirit that are unfolding around us and you realize that acts of generosity often arise out of the ashes of misfortune. Those are the kind of stories that can keep us going and help us tap into our reserves of resilience and goodwill. In Glace Bay, N.S. on Christmas Eve, a two-storey home was significantly damaged by a fire and all the family’s Christmas presents were destroyed. It was a nerve-wracking scene on a bitterly cold night, with volunteer firefighters having to contend with extreme heat inside the house, as well as icy conditions outside, as the water being used to fight the fire quickly froze on the ground as it fell. Thankfully no one was hurt, and once the blaze was under control, the firefighters’ thoughts turned to helping the family get some semblance of Christmas back. They offered to donate gifts they had bought for their own loved ones to the family now displaced. While their kind offer was politely declined, the family was no doubt moved by the heartfelt gesture. In Victoria, N.L., a Christmas Day fire razed the Sommers’ family home, destroying everything Winnie and Lloyd Sommers owned, as well as the two family cats. “You can’t put a value on what was lost,” said 63-year-old Winnie. The house was where her husband had spent his entire life. They plan to rebuild on the same site, and meanwhile, their community has rallied to help them move forward, holding fundraisers and dropping off donations of clothing to the couple. “You can’t believe how good people are,” Winnie told SaltWire Network. Some senior citizens in Charlottetown can relate. On Dec. 19, two families took it upon themselves to distribute gifts to the residents of the 96 apartments in the building at 501 Queen St., giving away bags of vegetables in time for holiday meals. “It was one of the most thoughtful things I have seen done in the building,” said Flora Thompson, who wrote about the act of kindness in a letter to the editor. These are worrying and uncertain days during a pandemic that seems to be without end. And sometimes, the milk of human kindness seems downright curdled. So it’s nice to see that even at the worst of times, people can bring out the best in each other, and find ways to care for their neighbours, and even strangers. Community spirit seems to be a wellspring that keeps replenishing itself, just when we need to draw from it the most. There’s a great ‘Hockey Dad’ who lives and skates on a little side yard rink in our neighbourhood. I love watching him nurture a love of the sport in his two small boys. We were chatting the other week, as I walked the dogs, about ice conditions being two weeks earlier than last year. They were certainly great that day. All kinds of outdoor skating on ponds was happening. Nobody had to shovel snow. The very next day, the temperature spiked up and all skating ceased. It was the same situation back in 1993 when flooded to make a Willow Park was rink during Wolfville’s Centennial. That didn’t last long. That weather switch made me think of the old saying: if you don’t like the weather, wait a few minutes. Mark Twain is credited with putting that phrase to paper, but it certainly fits the Maritimes. Quick shifts from cold to warm, some call them weather whiplash, are pretty typical here and I’m thinking not related to climate change. I made that conclusion after picking up the latest copy of the Gaspereau Valley Gazette and reading a regular feature entitled Aunt May’s Diary. In it, Zelda Weatherbee details a month in her hardworking Aunt May’s life. On Jan. 7, 1932, she described the weather as very warm and rainy. Three days later, there was a heavy