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My on-again off-again romance with Jack Frost Add to ...

Dear Jack,

Now that you’ve come back again, I’m having second thoughts. Sorry. I know I have a strange relationship with you. But I just can’t help it.

Most years, when you arrive on time and do all the things you’re supposed to do, I resent you. You dump your snow all over the place, willy-nilly. Ice is left in the ditches. You abuse my car. You mess up my sidewalks. I don’t like what you do to my boots. To be honest, there’s only so much frigidity a girl can take.

All I can think about is escaping you. And if I can’t – because, hey, it takes a fair amount of dough to fly clear of your grip – I start dreaming about how glorious it will be when you clear off for good (or at least for a good seven months) so that I don’t have to think about you.

But then last week, when you were nowhere in sight, and there was no hint of any visit, I found myself thinking about you. I had been enjoying the balmy temperatures, wearing a light coat, no boots, no scarf, no hat. I was feeling pretty wonderful. But then it hit me. This just doesn’t feel right. I missed you terribly, I realized.

I thought about all the things you do, which in their absence, seem absolutely adorable. I got all mushy thinking about the way you encourage me and my neighbours to come out onto the street, all about the same time, to clear away your mess. It makes for a community event. We lean against the tops of our shovels, taking a break, and talk about what’s going on – a throw-back to the days when most communication was face-to-face not computer-to-computer. I even like the sounds you help create: the scraping off of car windshields, the sound of a shovel scrunching against the sidewalk’s surface. And there’s something terribly satisfying about making nice neat snowbanks and clear paths. It’s like organizing your bookshelves alphabetically or something.

I wished you would come back. You’re good for me in a way I hadn’t appreciated before. I like how you give me an excuse not to go out if I don’t feel like it. It’s good to recuse yourself from society for a little bit. Hibernation is a like a spiritual retreat. You make me think. When living with you, I get a lot of work done. I read a lot. I relax in front of a fire. I plan what I want to do. And I know this sounds corny, but when you move in, you soften the world a little bit. You make it slow down. I’ll admit it: I need you.

I even did some investigation to find out what had been the matter with you, why you had been keeping your distance. Some therapist type, who claims to be good at diagnosing you and forecasting how you might feel in the days to come, said you had been suffering from something called North Atlantic Oscillation? Something about the natural fluctuations in air pressure over the northern Atlantic Ocean that influence the movement of storm systems across the continent? Well, I had no idea. Sounded terrible. Worse than the flu. And I instantly regretted my rather mean-spirited assessment of you.

But then, as is your wont, you whooshed back in, unannounced, and all those feelings about what I don’t like about you resurfaced.

Oh, I know, my affections are fickle. I feel like I’m in one of those tortuous, dysfunctional relationships. Can’t live with you – for long, anyway. And yet can’t live without you.

I think it has to do with needing change. I just can’t settle down with one person right now. Commitment issues. I have the same problem with that other personality, His Hotness. Sure, I break into a sweat when he first appears. But by the time he’s ready to leave, I’m growing sick of him. That dude swaggers around town and likes himself a bit too much, if you ask me. He’s overwhelming. And he brings along his own behavioural irritations, too, you know. And where you encourage me to be thoughtful, he’s all about frivolity.

Which explains why I always come away from my little dance with him, looking forward to your arrival. I await your first snowflake with a little thrill of anticipation – a delicate letter of intention.

So, you see, it’s me, not you. Still, I have a thought about compromise. If we could have more of a part-time relationship, more flirtatious – that could really work well. Maybe weekends only? Earlier in the winter, we were started in this direction. You had made fleeting attempts to move in. There were a few encounters. Mostly, you kept your snow to yourself. And then, just like that, you left town again, leaving everything bare and clean. And I kind of liked that. It showed consideration – dropping in briefly, to remind me that you still care, but then stepping away so as not to get on my nerves. Could we try that again?

Let me know what you think. Okay?

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