I lived in Toronto, Canada for 7 years; it’s where I grew up. When I think of my childhood, it’s that phase of time that immediately comes to mind. We lived in Mississauga, in a sky-high building that was just a 5-minute walk away from Square 1. I really loved that apartment, it had 2 compact bedrooms, a narrow hallway, a solarium which we turned into a 3rd pseudo-bedroom, a storage room for all the odds and ends that gathered over time and a cute little kitchen that had a heater on which we used to dry our wet socks after they got soaked with snow.
From the 18th floor, everything looks different. I remember waking up in the middle of the night to look out the window, I would look up at the moon and then down at the roads, where Hurontario and Burnamthorpe intersected, and it always seemed as if I was much closer to the sky than to the ground. I would feel as if I could easily reach out and touch the moon, but to try and get near to the minute little twinkling cars which were so, so far down seemed like an impossibility.
During snowstorms, the tennis courts would transform overnight. Previously green and flat, its ground would become covered with high and lumpy snow. I always remember wanting to go down and walk across the fresh snow, before the mowers could clear it away, wanting to place my footsteps and leave an imprint before they could be ruthlessly removed. When the snow reached till your knees, there was this unsaid rule that you should step where someone has already stepped before, it was safer that way. But I always wanted to step elsewhere, where there were no footsteps. I knew it could be unsafe, that I could accidentally step on a sheet of black ice that always sneakily developed under the snow, but I loved hearing the sound of the snow crunching under my feet, flattening in defeat.
I miss the snow quite a bit. It was awful walking outside with the bitter wind slapping your face, with the windchill factor going below -30, with the chance that you could fall flat on your back any second as you navigated across the patches of ice, but I never had a problem with the snow. Sure it filled up your boots, soaked your socks, numbed your feet and gave you wrinkled toes, but it was all part of the experience. Having snowball fights, building snow forts to hide from the enemy, wearing snow pants to roll around and make snow angels, going tobogganing down snow-slicked hills; it’s worth bearing the cold for.