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  • Writer's pictureSaeed Anwar Anuj

An ode to Edmonton's winter

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

Allow me to pen an ode to wintertime, which has ensnared my heart and soul, though my roots are steeped in sultry climes of yore.

As I stroll through the snow-covered streets of Edmonton, I am captivated by the sublime charm surrounding me. The snowflakes glisten in the pale sunlight like jewels strewn across the earth. The chill in the air invigorates my lungs with each inhalation, and the hush that cloaks the world is akin to nature's tranquil breath.

To some, it may seem absurd that someone bred in a land of ruthless heat, ceaseless rain, and monsoon squalls (how come all of these exist simultaneously in the same land, you may wonder, but that’s what Bangladesh is like) could find such solace in the frigid grip of northern Alberta's winter. Yet, I stand to defend its beauty with the fervor that radiates like the electric heater that warms our hearths.

But as I delve deeper into my appreciative sense of winter, I realize my inadequacy in articulating its essence. Perhaps it is the contrast to my humid homeland, a change that animates the senses and illuminates life's perspective. The calmness of winter is a welcome respite from the pandemonium of summer, with its riot of heat, untamed orchestra, and frenzy light, allowing me to admire the world through new eyes.

There is an innate magic in the snowflakes’ descent from the heavens, each unique and fragile in design, reminiscent of the crickets in Bangladesh’s woods, which chirp distinctly. These snowflakes congregate to form a breathtaking blanket, metamorphosing the world into a soft, white wonderland that arrests my heart and mind.

It is not merely the visual splendor of winter that captivates me. The crispness of the air, which tingles against my cheeks and fills my lungs, infuses each breath with vitality, like a burst of energy from a hot Arabica coffee. It fills me with awe and gratitude for nature's artistry, an exquisite masterpiece that never fails to inspire my writer's soul. It reminds me of the importance of reconnecting with my inner self, of reigniting my imagination's flame. Winter offers a treasured chance to rediscover the depths of my ingenuity and find new ways to communicate myself through the colors my sleeping writer soul composes.

For me, winter is a time for introspection and reflection, an opportunity to scrutinize the mysteries of life. It is a chance to appreciate the beauty and diversity of the natural world from a fresh perspective. Watching the snowflakes pirouette in the wind fills me with fascination and gratitude for nature’s exquisite artistry. And, let us not forget the aurora, early and late winter's sublime natural wonder, where celestial symphonies of pink, purple, and green hues shimmer in the skies.

As I occasionally walk by the beautiful river valley in Edmonton in the middle of 'not-so-dark' nights, it challenges me with its slippery walkways. But as I carefully save my plump body from falls, it fills me with wonder and gratitude for the beauty surrounding me.

I find contentment in the muted stillness of the snowy northern Albertan nights, where the snow sparkles in the moonlight or the warmth of an electronic heater on a "slowly coming" morning. Whatever the reason, I embrace this season with open arms, even as my fingers and toes ache with the cold. For in the midst of winter's harshness, there is a sort of raw, unfiltered beauty that I could only witness while standing beside a meandering river in my ever-beautiful motherland, Bangladesh. Embracing Edmonton's very own winter has unearthed a new aspect of myself, attuned to the world's beauty and discovering joy in unexpected places.

Naysayers often dismiss the truth that winter is as beautiful as a sunny summer with polite breezes and colorful flowers. They recoil from its biting cold and the prospect of trudging through snowdrifts and icy streets. But as the great poet John Keats once wrote, "the poetry of the earth is never dead," and it thrives in the winter landscape surrounding me.

I am not dreading that the detractors mock my love of winter; let them shiver in their coats and curse the bitter winds. For me, there is great joy in the sight of a fresh blanket of snow and in the incredible crunch of my boots on its surface. For I have discovered beauty in the most unlikely places in a season that many would straightaway call bleak and unforgiving, I have uncovered a new aspect of myself, welcoming the unknown and finding happiness in the most unlikely circumstances.

So let winter rage on; let it hurl its icy winds and bury us in snow. I, for one, am content to endure the storm and emerge on the other side, refreshed and rejuvenated by the enchanting beauty that envelops me.

15 February 2023

Saeed Anwar

Edmonton, Canada

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