By Suzanne A. Marshall from the October 2014 Edition
When our famous Canadian singer Anne Murray sings our ‘Namesake song’ it isn’t hard to see why so many people call many Canadians ‘Snowbirds.’
“Spread your tiny wings and fly away
And take the snow back with you
Where it came from on that day.”
Our Mexican friends get quite a chuckle out of ‘we’ Canadians and perhaps those from the U.S.A. closer to the Canadian border. It seems that we are compulsively obsessed with ‘weather.’ Indeed, it’s difficult to deny that it is perpetually included in daily topics of the day as we go about our lives. Though we are usually keenly interested in the world around us, a day does not go by where we aren’t making comments about the good/bad weather; or remember last summer; or are we ever going to get summer; or I hope winter doesn’t show up early; etc. etc.
At first I hadn’t realized that this was our habitual behavior, but the more it was pointed out the more I began to see how true it was and actually laughed at myself. And I have to admit that I’ve always had a secret pipe dream to be a meteorologist and have personally always had an interest in skies, clouds, storms and so on. My father and I would sit out in our yard or on the veranda as he would point out the different cloud formations and how we could recognize rain clouds, hail clouds and those that would bring us incredible electric storms. The awesome and magnificent Strata Cumulus and Strata Nimbus clouds approaching with their loaded and charged ions are just ready to snap lightening at the ground and often other objects in the storm’s path. How exciting! To this day I love to sit in a sheltered area and watch thunder storms come and go, enjoy the fragrant clean washed air and look for rainbows as the storm passes by and the sun breaks out in glorious brilliance!!
Part of the humor about living in Manzanillo for our winters is that, of course, the hot and sunny weather is very reliable. If something unusual comes about then it does become remarkable. But overall it’s rather taken for granted. Why do these Canadians always talk about the weather? As a matter of fact if I want to know what the weather will be from one day to the next I generally look at
my world-wide IPhone weather app because the locals don’t really pay attention. The radio stations do not report current conditions every fifteen minutes and the television coverage often has no weather information whatsoever! (Unless of course a hurricane is looming.)
So in our defense it’s important to understand that we have four quite distinct seasons (though in our part of Alberta we joke about having two seasons, winter and road construction.) In the spring and summer we are obsessed with the joy of it, in the fall we tend to suspend emotion with the dread of winter’s onslaught. In the fall and winter in particular, almost every Canadian will check the weather forecast for daily temperatures and precipitation. Then we decide what to wear to work or any outdoor activity. It makes a difference whether you wear a sweater or a parka, wear boots, carry an umbrella, pre-heat the car or for that matter plug in the block heaters overnight so you can start your vehicles the next day. Since our temperature can plunge 30 degrees overnight, it’s no laughing matter for sure. But we take it in our stride. What else can we do?
Now when we were younger, we were more resilient and proactive through our seasons. Indeed there were years when winter didn’t come soon enough or we didn’t have enough fluffy snow to get outdoors and skate, or crosscountry ski, run to the nearest hills with our toboggans, or set out for the mountains for some exhilarating down-hill skiing.
Ah, but time marches on and so do our bodies. Eventually we turn to dreams of palm trees and sandy beaches and for us, find paradise in Manzanillo. It’s perfect weather, wonderful people, the Spanish language, delightful food and music, and a whole new culture to explore. Is it any wonder that we look forward to returning every fall?
So this year unfortunately, involved one of our weather surprises. It’s kind of like some naughty little weather leprechauns or snow fairies just waiting for us to be enjoying the late summer. Then deciding to shake up our contentment with a shock to remind us that winter isn’t far off and we best get ready.
On Sept 8th, the ‘jet stream’ slumped south to the Alberta border sucking down an ’arctic low’ while the temperature dove 17 degrees to near zero overnight. Then the colliding warm and cold fronts dropped freezing rain and snow over most of the province. Happily the central areas and north were not hit as badly as the south (which received up to 15 cm of snow) but it was still enough to spread a wet, heavy, white blanket over roads and countryside. Yikes!! I have included a few photos I took from the back door of our home. We were not impressed as you might imagine.
But ever the hardy Canadian woman, I lifted my hanging flower baskets covered in snow and parked them under the gazebo for shelter and hoped that they might survive. Since many of us are smart enough to plant hardy ‘zone appropriate’ breeds of flowers, they often survive temperatures around the freezing point. I thought for sure I’d lost my pansies and petunias. But, as the snow melted away it took a couple of days, and they still lifted their sagging blossom’s and began to carry on for the rest of the late summer season (see photos taken Sept. 19th almost 10 days later.) In fact there are new buds coming. Isn’t nature amazing?
And now the countdown begins as we prepare for our much anticipated return to our second home in beautiful Manzanillo. This is where we can watch the surf, marvel at the beauty of the area and thank our lucky stars that we took the plunge to find property in this wonderful location for our winters. Smiling faces on old and new friends welcome us back each year! We can hardly wait! It’s like coming home. Again!
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Suzanne A. Marshall hails from western Canada and has been living the good life in Manzanillo over the past 8 years. She is a wife, mom and grandma. She is retired from executive business management where her writing skills focused on bureaucratic policy, marketing and business newsletters. Now she shares the fun and joy of writing about everyday life experiences in beautiful Manzanillo, Mexico, the country, its people, the places and the events.
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