Edmonton, Hope & Springtime.

It was a dark and stormy night.

I say this, and you know it’s a) a really bad typewriter-penned story written by Snoopy, and/or b) that something bad is about to happen. And in literature, film, and perhaps even in real life at times — at least — in the INTERNAL portion of your real life – in the centres which control tone and mood and can subconsciously read signifiers and signifiads. You see gloom outside your window and it dictates the portion of your life that is affected by its surroundings. It’s in that place that weather in film and books emerges from in the first place.

Today I read that since February 4, Edmonton has not seen a day where both the high and low temperatures were above 0 degrees. Be mindful – that is almost two months of sub-zero temperatures. And I can tell you also from experience that in that time, there were very few days of sunshine even, let alone warmth; the bleak cold was continous and ravenous and swallowed whole, everything that is lovely and good about this city (and trust me, there are LOTS of things lovely and good about this city). Yesterday I saw sunbeams – REAL sunbeams – they cascaded through the clouds like long-reaching, warm comforting tendrils and I could feel them on my face and in my coat and the chill was alleviated from my face and fingers and cheeks and extremeties. People were wearing shorts and flat shoes and sweatshirts and soaking in what legitimately is the definition of the feeling of an indescribable and simplistic breed of hope. Spring – rebirth – regeneration – buds on trees and birds returning and the river melting, shedding its thick coat of white-blue ice – represents and defines for people in a largely winter-inflicted city – “hope”.

What always impresses me about Edmontonians is that it doesn’t take much to impress us or make us feel hopeful; you give us an evening like today’s: it’s sunny and 8 degrees and the prospect of heavy snow is low for us and far, far away. And people are out and about on runs and walks and bike rides and socializing and wearing flip flops and skirts and bare legs… spring is in the air and even the first signs fill this city to the brim with detectable happiness. It’s the time to open windows and curtains and let in the fresh air and the natural light and breathe a sigh of relief; that the pang of winter has finally maybe ceased – at least for now – and perhaps spring WILL return to us, and we can embrace its greenery and sunshine and late sunset-filled evenings once again. It’s been so long — too long — since I’ve been able to stand in the city where I currently reside and say this as the gospel truth.

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