My First Real Canadian Winter

I’m sure everyone’s sick of hearing that 2014 began colder on Earth than it was on Mars, but this level of chill is completely new to me! Growing up in Victoria, BC, winter meant a slightly wetter, chillier time of year. -10C was pretty much as cold as it got, and snow was light, beautiful and fleeting.

Pretty much the coldest winter I experienced in BC. Near Mt. Washington, Vancouver Island.

Pretty much the coldest winter I experienced in BC. Near Mt. Washington, Vancouver Island.

I knew that moving to Stratford would be an interesting experience once winter rolled around. The obvious answer is that it is cold. Cold. Cold. Cold.

This was also the year of the South-Ontario Ice Storm and the Mid-Western States’ so-called “Polar Vortex” (most Canadians would call it “Winter”).

Ice-encased antenna! I've never seen anything like this before!

Ice-encased antenna! I’ve never seen anything like this before!

I’m dumbfounded, I’m immobilized, I’m very, very cold. I’m also surprisingly… clumsy. I mean, I’ve never been the picture of grace, but walking in the knee-high snow and icy patches I am filled suddenly with childlike incoordination.

My arms stick out to keep precarious balance. My steps are small and quick and often result in slips. I stare at the ground to increase my chances of finding sturdy footholds, and when I fall, I fall all the way down and stay there until there is a strong hand to help me up.

Needless to say, it’s very time consuming and a bit embarrassing to go out for a walk. As a 25 year old adult, I’m re-learning how to walk.

Winter also offends my stylish side.

Other than the countless days indoors and the pillow-filled layers of clothing that render me almost completely immobile when I do go outside, winter in Ontario is remarkably enjoyable. I’m just glad I don’t own a car!

I have one friend from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan who I know rolled her eyes through this; “Girl, you have NO IDEA.”

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Is England’s Southwest the Most Beautiful Place on Earth?

The title of this blog is, of course, an unanswerable question.

St. Michael's Mount, Marazion

St. Michael’s Mount, Marazion, Cornwall

Or is it?

Lanhydrock, Bodmin, Cornwall

Lanhydrock House, Bodmin, Cornwall

If this is not the first post of mine you’ve read, you’ll know that I’ve spent a great deal of time in Great Britain. Mostly, this is because I have lots of family there, but also…. I LOVE IT.

Widemouth Bay, near Bude, Cornwall

Widemouth Bay, near Bude, Cornwall

Many people believe that, for a place to be beautiful, it has to seem untouched by the hand of man. While I do not disagree with this, there is something beautiful about the undeniable and enduring presence of man’s influence on Britain’s southern landscape.

Forgotten, and part of the landscape. Kilkhampton, Cornwall

Forgotten, and part of the landscape. Kilkhampton, Cornwall

St. Michael's Mount, Marazion, Cornwall

St. Michael’s Mount, Marazion, Cornwall

Church ruin, Bodmin, Cornwall

Church ruin, Bodmin, Cornwall

Bude, Cornwall

Bude, Cornwall

Tintagel, Cornwall

Tintagel, Cornwall

Clovelly, Devon

Clovelly, Devon

For me, it is the synthesis of the evidence of humankind and the dramatic changes between nature’s greenness and greyness that make Southwestern England multifaceted in it’s beauty.

Watergate Bay, Cornwall

Watergate Bay, Cornwall

Watergate Bay, Cornwall

Watergate Bay, Cornwall

Exmouth, Devon

Exmouth, Devon

Cornwall

Crackington Haven (yes, that’s what it’s called), Cornwall

I think England’s Southwest certainly is a contender for one of the world’s most beautiful places… but it is definitely not the only one!

What makes a place beautiful to you? Where do you think is the world’s most beautiful place?