It’s round about now that the familiar feeling of panic sets in.

I know the pattern well after 34 years in the Canadian north.

The first couple of days of -30 plus put me in a bit of a funk, but I can cope. There’s still optimism that this is a fast moving weather system that will return us to more reasonable temperatures within hours.

The next few days are harder. I force my body into situations it wants no part of and so must endure its loud and whiny toddler-like protests.  No, I do not want to get out of bed. No, I do not want to be forced into seven smothering layers of clothing. And no, I definitely do not want to walk out that door and into a freezing car so I can drive on square tires thud thud thud to an icy cold office.

But there are bright moments. I am thankful for the warming beef barley soup that I have had the foresight to make and freeze in lunch sized batches for days like this. And the light! It is coming back after a dark December and January. That truly is a gift.

However by about a week in (which is where we are now) the edges of my sanity are really fraying and it becomes a struggle to pretend otherwise. My dreams are peppered with images of Maria von Trapp manicly hurtling down sunshine-drenched grassy slopes, and angry bears that have been woken prematurely from their hibernation. Last night such a bear chased me through a maze of streets for hours while I unsuccessfully tried to find my way home.

I go through the motions. I work. I socialize. I make more soup. Big, big pots of the stuff. And I spend an inordinate amount of time considering an expedition to Lake Labarge to search for Sam McGee’s crematorium. I get you Sam. I totally get you.

But I have a trick up my sleeve; something that Sam didn’t possess. It’s an airplane ticket to Vancouver, dated next Thursday. It’s the one thing that is standing between me and raging madness.

As an aside, I just watched the film “Antarctica: A Year on Ice”. It tells the story of a group of people who choose to live and work at the South Pole 12 months of the year. Some of them have been there for years. I thought it would make Whitehorse by comparison seem downright balmy to me. No such luck. My only recourse now is to go back to staring at that airplane ticket. Which I am going to do. Right now.

Then I am heading out into the cold once more to see another film. The title? Freak-Out!


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