Odd Thoughts: Gods freeze out maiden aunt

Langley Advance columnist Bob Groeneveld has a few words for nature on behalf of birds.

It’s clear that the weather gods have taken umbrage at our hubris.

Great words, those: umbrage and hubris. Just saying them makes a person feel intelligent. Writing them practically sews leather patches on the elbows of my sports jacket!

Nevertheless, leather patches notwithstanding, the gods are clearly offended. At least, a little?

No sooner had the polar vortex plunged an icy amoeba arm into the bowels of Ontario when West Coast media – social and otherwise – were filled to their warm, syrupy brims with snide references to daffodils, freshly mowed lawns, cherry blossoms, and other hardships to which our unseasonably warm winter has been submitting us this year.

And… bam!

The rest of Canada, just days earlier annoyed by our condescendingly cold weather jokes, are now laughing at us – not because we got served our just desserts for mocking the weather gods, but because the hubris continues: people here who really think this past week of winter in Lotus Land has been harsh.

Well, not so much laughing at us, as they’re rolling their eyes.


When it comes to winter weather, we’re the maiden aunt of Canada, anguishing over every tiny wart or age spot, wallowing in our hypochondria every time the thermometer dares to dip below the freezing point.

If the gods of the vortex noticed our ignorant hilarity toward our fellow Canadians’ winter woes at all, they responded with the ferocity of many hundreds – perhaps even thousands! – of snowflakes.

Thermometers plunged to levels within spitting distance of Saskatoon on a warm day… except that in Saskatchewan, your spit would freeze before it got to the thermometer.

But we humans are not the only ones who have gotten used to our pocket of tropical climes north of the 49th parallel.

I spent most of Sunday replenishing seed and suet dispensers for the chickadees and juncos and finches and the other surviving dinosaurs who expect to collect payment at times like these in exchange for their pest control work in our garden the rest of the year.

More important has been keeping their essential water sources ice-free – the bird baths, a pan strategically placed here and there, and the little fountain in the pond.

And of course, trying to keep the sugar water from freezing in the feeder frequented by a feisty little hummingbird who has refused to enter torpor (kind of like going into hibernation).

I can understand the gods throwing a bit of snow at my hubris, but their lack of compassion is for the birds.

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