Winter is here and in full light.
Literally. I can’t remember a winter when the sun shone unhindered by the clouds, and the wind blew politely, just enough to remind you it was there. Many migratory birds are still about, and there’s a buzz of the people alive and not frozen inside.
Southern Ontario truly is a treat in the wintertime.
Winter isn’t all bad… it helps us to be mindful and considerate of the outside world, its changes and beauty. The temperature woes are of little consideration when the proper choice of clothing is made, and getting place to place in vehicles is safe as long as we remember to move slowly and consider the terrain.
You can probably tell winter is my favourite season! Might be something to do with the fact that I was born in the thick of it, but I also appreciate the beauty of the landscape, and necessary renewal that the earth undergoes is so wondrous! Growing up most kids just love going outside in the winter because everything is changed and the snow-scape is soft and malleable. Meticulously assembling snow forts and tunnels, rolling boulders and sliding down hills can be endless fun unmatched by any indoor attraction. Going skating, skiing or boarding, or sledding are all fast-paced activities that kids and adults love — possible only because of our winter.
One year as a kid I remember a great winter with a ton of snow and cold temperatures, almost no sun. A true outdoors-man friend of my mother was staying with us temporally. One day after a good snowfall he taught me how to make a Quinzhee. A quinzhee is your typical Igloo shape but made of snow not ice, and carved out not assembled. More simple then expected anyone can make one in just a couple hours, all you need is: snow, a pack of chopsticks (50) or any stick with the same length of at least 10 inches, and some energized winter-equipped people!
Step 1. Get a strong adult and a garbage bin sized container. Continuously fill the bin with snow and build-up a mound of snow about 7ft.
Step 2. Shape and pack (lightly) the mound into a dome shape.
Step 3. Take your sticks of equal length of about 10 inches and insert them into the dome all around equally spaced apart starting from the top (these are to measure the width of the wall). If your sticks are longer than 10″ then measure each stick roughly and insert them only 10in. If they stick out your dome will look like a spiky ball.
Step 4. Choose where the entrance will be at the base of the dome and carve out the hole small. As you get further inside push the snow out around the entrance. Keep hollowing out the inside of the quinhzee until you hit the ends of the sticks.
Notes for safety: It’s a good idea to always have someone outside of the quinhzee watching over, just in case it isn’t as structurally sound as you’d hoped. If you plan to spend a significant amount of time in the quinhzee, poke a fist-sized air-hole in the top to allow for air circulation.
Something happens when we get older: snow-pants and suits are inconvenient and many of us either don’t have them or they’re packed away. Heavy-duty boots and mittens are sparse, scarves thin, and the spirit of the outside cold seems unhealthy. The life filled up with work and tire leaves little will to get us outside for some good old winter fun, but it doesn’t have to!
Winter can be relaxing, delightful, gorgeous, and amazing fun if you’re well-equipped and excited! For all people it is important to observe the changes taking place on the earth and in our lives; and outside is the only place this can happen, regardless of the weather.