Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How Canadian We Beavers Are

We Canadians are a curious bunch. Our national animal is the always peaceful and cute beaver, while our national sport is quite the opposite – rock ‘em sock ‘em hockey.

Just as Canadian as the beaver and hockey, complaining about the weather has become quite an essential character trait of us Canucks.

If you live in Ontario, chances are you’re complaining about the frightful freeze – today in Toronto the temperature sank to -17C without a wind chill – though the winds are a-coming. Wind chills are expected in the -20 to -30C range until the weekend. If you live on the west coast, you are used to complaining about the rain, and for those in the east about the storms and winds off the ocean.

Canada just wouldn’t be – well Canada, without constant complaints about the weather. In the summer, when the temperatures soar to +35C we complain it is too hot. If it rains for a week, we complain about all the rain, even when the sky is clear, we aren’t satisfied – that cloud is too puffy . . .

I suppose there could be worse traits. The Americans are known as snobby arrogant hot heads when they travel, expecting to get their way “because they are from America.” People from China are impossible to understand even in their own language – why can’t everyone understand Mandarin and Cantonese? And everyone loves to poke fun at the French.

But here in Canada, we’re known for being overly polite, with a strange fascination with the weather.

Though it really isn’t all that odd to be awed by Mother Nature, when your country is as vast as ours is. Weather has greatly influenced us as a nation, and continues to do so.

We all love snow days – when it snows so much, we call in with any excuse in the book to stay at home instead of going to work. Even in the summer we use the weather as an excuse to go out and play – who hasn’t suddenly come down with some stomach problem or flu on a beautiful summer’s day, only to take off and watch a baseball game?

Beavers, as with all wild animals, have to plan their lives around their environments. They innately know when it is time to mate, build a damn, and when and where to find the best feeding locations, by subtle changes in the weather.

We Canadians are very much like our national animal, constantly planning our lives around the conditions outside – whether we like the weather or not.

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