Winter in Newfoundland is a terribly romantic thing. It’s romantic in the way that a novel set in Russia at the turn of the 20th century is romantic. The adoration of nature and the tragic beauty of loneliness and isolation captured in endless reflections made whilst gazing over yonder scape kind of romantic. A Newfoundland winter makes me feel like I’m a fantastically melancholic character living in a wonderfully sombre novel.
Everyone complains about having to shovel the snow or drive on the icy roads, which is annoying and harrowing indeed, but as a Newfie returning to my land and my culture I’m absolutely charmed by the winter. It’s been over six years since I’ve lived through a winter here, and I have missed it fiercely. It’s so very bleak and long and unforgiving. You have to trudge and trek through icy winds over mounds of frozen snow and slush to get anywhere, be it through a parking lot or up the hill to see some friends. And yet, sometimes it’s so calm and quiet outside and you don’t much mind the mounds of snow. Those nights where somewhere in the distance you can hear ploughs clearing out the parking lots, cars driving by slowly and silently on a road padded with snow. I go out for evening walks in the winter just to hear the quiet on those nights.
The evening walk in winter is particularly romantic. You stroll around the neighbourhood, slowed down by a slightly more precarious ground. Everyone has their lights on because the sun has long gone down. Sometimes you can see families eating together if they’ve forgotten to pull the curtains as you make your way around the nearby streets. Finally, when you turn the corner and come back around to your place, you open the door and pets come scurrying out to greet you. Whatever was roasted in the oven for supper has filled the kitchen and front porch with warmth and the feeling of a full belly. The lamps in the house are giving off a very forgiving glow that erases under-eye circles or dusty corners. And it’s so very warm and welcoming.
In the evenings, after supper has been packed away into Tupperware containers to take for tomorrow’s lunch, you and your wool-socked, slippered feet curl up together in the living room as you watch something on TV, read, or listen to what so-and-so said today at work. A cup of tea and a shortbread cookie, left over from the Christmas treats that went somehow uneaten, and you get through a few chapters or a couple of shows until it’s time for bed. Outside the window, the wind howls and the branches dance. The weather report called for more snow tomorrow and you pray to everything you can think of for a snow day. Inside your bed it’s toasty because you’ve changed over to the flannel set of sheets. Yes, it’s some cold out there and it’s some nice in here, you think.
Indeed, winter in Newfoundland is frigid and feels eternal at times. But for me, winter here is picturesque, nostalgic, magical, and it’s the warmest thing I’ve felt in a long, long time.