Many years ago some foolishly intrepid friends and I spent part of a winter in plastic tents and lean-to’s on Salt Spring Island. But after weeks of never drying out or warming up we headed back to the streets and warm dry buildings of Victoria. Well, that, and running out of James A. Mitchener and finally getting thoroughly bored of daily crab races on a wet grey beach. Besides, the crabs I found never won a single race. A two-inch sprint and then twenty minutes of nothing. But it was the chill-to-the-bone that finally drove us to more clement geography.
Not quite as many years ago friends (not the same ones) and I went January camping at Pembina River campground. Even though we used a shelter (which served as a confectionery booth in the summer), when the punky-aspen-poplar fire went out the minus 25 crept in under my mat and heavy sleeping bag and through every bit of clothing I had on. Much of the night was spent trying to wriggle out the last ounce of warmth from my body.
Walking to work this morning, bracing against the cold, I was reminded of this. And really it’s only the beginning of winter and other than the nasty wind it’s not that cold. But right now I can’t imagine even one night in the Saskatchewan river valley, or on Edmonton streets.
Here’s to a winter without casualties of homeless people from exposure. May everyone find warmth for body and soul.
And may we all find and release to others the warmth of human kindness and the mercy of a large Love.