Sunday, August 29, 2010


It is traditional when speaking to someone not well known to you to make small talk about the weather.  You can both complain gently about things, comment on flagrantly obvious characteristics of the world around and pass the time politely.  In our modern world of manufactured spaces and controlled environments the weather is less and less relevant with each passing year so what might have been a useful conversation about a topic that matters years ago is now purely filling space most of the time.  You really do begin to appreciate just how much the weather matters when you go out camping though and discussions of the weather in that context suddenly take on a new, heightened importance.

As I mentioned in my last post I went camping last year and it sucked.  We shivered in the drizzle and tried to keep warm by huddling under our towels when it got cold enough to break records.  This year the days were in the high 20s (that is something like 80 F for you barbarians in the backwards south) and cloudless for the entire trip.  We wandered to the beach at will, swam constantly, left stoves and equipment out all day and night as though rain is not a thing and didn't even have to put on long pants for the night - it was glorious.  I was genuinely sad to leave at the end of the trip and that is saying a lot for someone with my level of internet addiction.  Sitting on a sand beach listening to the water and feeling the sun slowly cook my skin into a soup of melanomas wasn't just a thing to do, it was like a drug I could not quit.

That stark difference in experiences is incredible given how little I care about the weather on a day to day basis.  I walk to do my chores and pick up Elli in the rain without a concern since I am going so little distance and have controlled climates on both ends.  Unpleasant temperatures are simply irrelevant because I can always just close the balcony door and conserve heat or crank the AC and live in a chill if I so desire.  When living outdoors one must be prepared for so many different things and immune to much unpleasantness; a stark contrast to the lives most of us live in our protected cocoons.  I know that it is well established that weather patterns in a place have a tiny effect on happiness since people that move to 'better' climates are happier for a short time but rapidly lose any benefits over time but I wonder if that effect is due to our modern living conditions.  People are very adaptable but I imagine that living outdoors in northern Ontario with two seasons (Blackfly and Winter) was so bad that a move to a better climate must have some sort of long term effect.

I must in closing suggest that everyone should try the Pinery Provincial Park, but definitely do so during a warm, dry spell in the summer.  If you do try this though I have one particular warning:  do not buy firewood from the park.  They do not sell wood so much as water with a slight seasoning of tree.  There may have been cursing involved in me trying to burn wood bought at the park itself.  As a country boy when I asked "Is the firewood you sell dry?" and get the answer "Well, it is under a roof so I guess so" I should *know* to be suspicious.  You city folk probably don't understand...

1 comment:

  1. Nice picture Sky. I too had a wonderful weekend of hikes and swimming in Superior. Quite a fantastic trip! Was a great way to finish off August.