Saturday, February 27, 2010

Snow in Toronto

The snow is falling for the third time this week. These are the big flakes that fail to dissolve when they land on something. The ones that often pile onto branches in thick layers. It's 0 degrees celsius now, so it's not cold enough for the branches to become encased in ice. Ice is gorgeous on branches and in giant ice picks that hang in front of my kitchen window, but not on the sidewalks where it will inevitably form this winter. I can picture myself falling.

Yesterday the sidewalks and the parking lot at my sister's apartment building were pretty snowy, but not calve-deep. It was deep enough that it required more work to walk through, as if on two balance beams -- one for each of my feet -- in ankle-deep water. Horrible simile, I guess. Walking through snow and/or on ice has always made me feel insecure because it seems to make my balance and fatigue issues more pronounced.

I remember having to stay indoors during recess in elementary school because it was too dangerous outside for me. I used to slip and fall easily. I simply wasn't able to catch myself. A fall could dislodge my shunt or break it if I hit my head.

I didn't mind staying indoors because I felt so nervous outside on the snow and ice. Plus, it saved me from having to get my boots and snowsuit on -- tasks that were difficult for me and took me a long time to do for many years. My teachers would let me start getting dressed earlier than the other kids, so I could leave on time. Snow and ice made me more aware of my disability. It also alienated me from my peers who went outside during those recesses and seemed to be able to get dressed in a flash and play in winter wonderland with ease.

I could have let myself resent this season for making me feel different, for making life more difficult for me, but I didn't. I still loved the snow. My sister and I used play together in our snowy backyard all of the time. My mom would put the Aladdin soundtrack on cassette in a tape player, then put the speakers out the window so we could dance around to it. I also loved to toboggan down the small hill in the park of my elementary school and the big hill where my future high school was. These are wonderful memories.

The flakes are still coming down, but they're much smaller now. There is less wind, too. The naked branches in front of my bedroom window are relatively still.

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