since we’re being philosophical on all sorts of fronts (when we’re not being pummeled by imperiously illogical bureaucratic requests from enigmatic purveyors of real estate magic), here’s one front i’ve been mentally pursuing for some time – the idea of deferred gratification. it’s quite possible that i’ve written about it before, but i’m far too lazy to search for the topic herein – these posts are like the children of some beast that values swiftness in its progeny; born, they must learn immediately to stand on their own feet and having once done so, cease being of any interest to their parent, namely: me. let’s assume then that this is a new topic, and if it isn’t, let’s assume i’ve got some new light to shine upon it, and if i don’t, let’s assume you don’t remember what i write anyway, which brings us, for all intents and purposes, full circle to the beginning of this sentence. swell!
those of us who live in winter cities and who don’t waste time stupidly wailing about the unfairness that it should snow and drop below freezing for a large portion of the year, those of us like to think ourselves heroic – surviving months of very cold weather makes us tough, we like to think. it makes us tougher and stronger and more badass than the wusses who inhabit warner climes. we’re so badass, in fact, that come february with the slightest hint of warmth, we gladly shed our parkas and enjoy our drinks outdoors. but what i believe makes winter dwellers tougher and stronger and more badass than their southern cousins isn’t just the ability to withstand wind chill factors, but the deferred gratification that every winter brings. we are good at waiting. we are good at waiting and hoping and wanting and hungering and thirsting for the slightest hint of spring, and when it comes, we pounce on it with the voracious joy of a small child in the 1980’s finally outwaiting the whole long week and pouncing on saturday morning cartoons.
society has made it hard to want and not immediately get. waiting for anything has become so rare that i fear we have come to see it as something to be eradicated, like measles or racism, instead of realising that the better part of pleasure is precisely in the wanting, the waiting, the counting down towards a goal. i was reminded of this today when i drove across the river valley and realised that the cottonwood trees were suddenly sprouting tiny leaves in that indescribable shade of green, still wet from the sap of their buds, all too soon to turn the perfectly respectable but far less exciting colour of fully grown up leaves. spring is the ultimate tease in the northern country – we want it so very badly, and watch for it with such keen eye, and never let our disappointment at yet another snowstorm stop that hunger.
i love winter, i truly do, but i stop loving it right around the time the days get longer and the snow melts, revealing my city at its worst and when, despite the most fervent wishes of my fellow citizens, winter persists for another month or three. but oh, when spring comes! it’s a miracle every single year. every year, no matter if it’s late or early, the coming of spring feels like rebirth and love and joy, and all because it didn’t come easy like yet another toy in the kinder surprise of life; like yet another cartoon pulled up on netflix on any old day of the week. maybe i sound like an old fart pining for the days when we had to walk uphill both ways to get to the coal mine where we worked (if we were lucky!) but i stand by my conviction because today when i saw the first poplar leaves i felt that after wading through the grey and brown of winter, i was given a glimpse of a something priceless, and it was so worth it!