Winter Comfort’s Discomforted

Well, I suppose it’s official now. We’re deep in the throes of winter. The time of year when many of us head indoors, pull on one of our several Snuggies and enjoy the comforts only winter has to offer. Perhaps you partake in leisurely drinking your hot chocolate, ice skating carelessly down the river with a loved one or sitting by the fire with smug impunity. These are nice treats for some people.

Some of us, however, remember that even our cuddliest actions have consequences. Please, I’m not here to point fingers. I understand why you would want to do something like pick up a steaming mug of hot chocolate after a long day’s work — despite it being a moral issue. Who remembers a thing like unethical farming practices of cocoa beans when it’s real cold outside? And with marshmallows? Forget about it.

Except I can’t. I have a conscience, lots of feelings and a handful of half-remembered facts about things I might have heard. When I think about these so-called “comforts” of the winter season, I don’t feel comforted at all, rather I become keenly aware of the sinister underbelly of what the masses cling to in order to lull themselves through the long, cold nights.

I understand; not everyone thinks like me. Not everyone walks outside on a calm night, looks at the glittery, soft snow and remembers the hospital wards full of snow-blindness victims that may or may not exist. Does that make me more conscientious? Better, even? I don’t know. It’s not for me to say.

What I do know is that ice skating seems like something that would be harmful to the fish in our rivers, and I like fish and the rest of nature. I’ve seen Finding Nemo. Imagine poor little Nemo under the thick layer of ice and those thoughtless people skating all over his roof, causing a racket probably. It’s enough to make anyone with a modicum of sympathy for other living things cry — but I don’t judge.

Consider the sound of children laughing as they build snowmen outside, innocently rolling snow into larger clumps of snow, gathering twigs for arms, playing. It’s not such a lovely noise anymore when you consider the unhealthy body image it definitely imprints onto the kids’ brains, I imagine. No person will ever grow up to have the figure they worked so hard as children to craft on the lawn with the rotund middle and the spindly branch arms and the no legs. It’s about what’s fair to the children.

Don’t let me ruin it for you though. Maybe you can take a romantic midnight sleigh ride in good conscience or build an ice sculpture without regret and that’s part of living in a free country. But for me? Snowboarding is a decapitating injury waiting to happen. So is snowmobiling. Snow angels? Stupid. Tobogganing? Racist, I bet.

I’m really only concerned for everyone’s well-being, whether they agree with my position or not. It might seem like curling up in front of a toasty, crackling fire with a good book and a fuzzy blanket is precisely the kind of good and wholesome activity that creates rest for the soul, makes our day-to-day life more than drudgery and speaks to the present, the moment, in a way that every human being needs to remember. But what if I told you that accidental home fires were the cause of more deaths than street gangs? And what if that ended up being true?

You see, perceived safety is important. Take warm woollen mittens; they might have been one of Maria von Trapp’s “favourite things” alongside “whiskers on kittens” in The Sound of Music, but they are also an itchy woollen menace, and I for one am not buying into their agenda. Mittens’ design restricts finger mobility, which is not only annoying if someone cuts you off in traffic or doesn’t like your articles, but dangerous should a life-or-death situation arise where quickly showing “how many” is paramount.

It’s at times like this when all one can do is remember that some day winter will all be over. That’s when the snow melts, temperatures rise and the relief finally comes. At least until I remember how bad spring can be. Particularly tulips, I think.