Stories from below 0 degrees

There’s dew on the lawn
Keira Johannson

There’s dew on the lawn at seven in the morning. I see it sparkle from my bedroom as I lean up against the windowsill, warm air blasting up at me from vents under the bed (which shouldn’t be open in case they catch fire on my sheets, but can you blame a girl for needing to stay warm amid November?). 

I pull at the blinds, letting the street light float onto my bedroom walls. The rising sun peeks out from the house across mine—a light on in their kitchen—and I wonder if they’ve put a fresh pot of coffee to brew. 

There’s caramel-flavoured coffee in my mug at 7:30 in the morning. I sit in plaid Christmas pajamas at the kitchen table and wrap my palms around the warm liquid. I watch the oven clock strike 7:32 a.m. and mentally count the hours until December 25. 

I dress in a thick wool cardigan and layer two pairs of socks over the top of my never-warm-enough feet. Out the window, I see the bare tree in the yard sway ever-so-slightly with the wind and debate putting on a third pair. 

Tears pool in the corner of my eyes at 8:00 in the morning as I stand at the bus stop and wiggle my toes in my shoes so they don’t go numb. I wipe the tears away, but they return seconds later with the next gust of wind. I wipe them once more and they return yet again. This time not from the wind.

On the bus, the heat vent makes it feel like I’ve been transported to Palm Springs, California, and I begin to regret the layered socks. I look out the window at passing cars and looming grey clouds and decide that despite delicious caramel-flavoured coffee and cute thick knits, I will never be fully content as long as it’s still November. 

Embracing winter: a season of cozy comfort
Debbie Wong

As the crisp winter air begins to nip at our noses and frost decorates the windowpanes, the arrival of winter brings mixed emotions. While some may shiver with dread, I find cheer in the comforting embrace of the chilly days ahead.

In preparation for the snowy season, my closet transforms into a haven of warm, oversized sweaters and fuzzy socks—a personal rebellion against the cold. Rather than viewing winter as a foe, I see it as an opportunity to celebrate the joy of hot cocoa, crackling fires, and the ethereal beauty of snow-laden landscapes.

Winter, to me, is a canvas waiting to be painted with memories. It’s the thrill of Christmas shopping, the delight of cooking hearty meals, and the aroma of freshly baked treats lingering through the air as I gather with loved ones. These moments leave a lasting imprint on the soul.

While some may bewail the inconvenience of icy roads, I see a chance for reflection over the long year—a time to delve into books and cozy corners. The contrast of the outside world’s chill against the warmth of indoor sanctuaries creates a perfect balance, a yin and yang that defines the beauty of winter.

As the mercury dips, my anticipation for winter grows. I welcome the season with open arms, ready to savor the simple pleasures it offers.

No two snowflakes are the same
Kareena Kailass

In mid-November, winter’s breath blows us a frigid taste of what’s to come. Crisp leaves fall, leaving the trees mostly barren, their twigs trembling in the icy gusts. Crystalized slags of ice are soon to decorate their broad arms. But until then, everything is still. As we watch nature’s fauna and flora assume their positions for winter’s white blanket, we wait patiently for the sky’s gentle flutter of flakes to fall.

The first snowfall brings us a gentle layer of icy dust that covers brambles and rooftops. Tiny sparkles, like tinsel, fall onto the tips of our eyelashes and the lengths of our hair. Footprints from scurrying squirrels and birds decorate the snowflake-laden ground. Peering out from our windows, we admire every delicate snowflake’s flutter.

Soon enough, winter sets in. Snowbanks line the streets, and a thick coat of snow covers everything. Our parkas and mittens hardly seem warm enough when we face the frosty outdoors. Still, we find comfort despite our shivers. Building snowmen and having friendly snowball fights in below-freezing temperatures hardly feels chilling when we realize the warmth that joy brings us. Perhaps this is the “magic of the season”—living in the moment. No two memories are the same. No two moments are the same. No two snowflakes are the same.

It’s officially time to bundle up
Vanessa Bogacki

The old Canadian spirit orientates itself around the joy we hold once the weather becomes colder. After all, who’s a Canadian without making the freezing weather their whole personality? As the temperature gradually drops, a sense of excitement or dread roams. The cool crisp nights then transition to frosty snowy evenings, which then become shoveling winters. There are many positive and negative opinions related to the arrival of winter; however, in my eyes, it showcases cozy experiences, beautiful scenery, and calm moments.

One of my favourite parts of preparing for the winter is finally taking out our fall and winter accessories and dusting off our scarves, mittens, boots, and hats. It officially marks the season when our snug sweaters come out of retirement. Layers are so in, and it allows us to take on the cold weather.

Winter also marks a big change in the menu as all-out pumpkin fall beverages, foods, and snacks are now becoming gingerbread, cookie, and peppermint goodies! It reminds us to stock up on all the cozy essentials such as cocoa, candy canes, cookies, and eggnog. All these wonderful aromas are sure to satisfy your nose this winter season.

So, as the temperature begins to fall below zero, many begin to dread the transition. But we must remember the excitement that is tied to the impending winter season filling our hearts. Get ready to accept the cooler days, begin preparations, and embrace the snowy winter wonderland that awaits us all!

Staff Writer (Volume 50) — Keira is in her third year at UTM, working toward a double major in Communications, Culture, Information, and Technology (CCIT) and Professional Writing and Communications (PWC). She is a writer, photographer, filmmaker, music lover, nature enthusiast, and above all, a health and wellness advocate who cares deeply about the world around her. When she’s not working or studying, you’ll find her reading her favourite lit-fic novels in the park or booking spontaneous trips around the world.

Opinion Editor (Volume 49) | — Kareena is a third-year student completing a double-major in Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies and Philosophy, and minoring in Forensic Science. She has previously served as the Associate Opinion Editor for Volume 48. Through her involvement and contributions with The Medium, Kareena hopes to foster a safe and trusted space, while encouraging others to let their voices and stories be heard. When Kareena is not writing or studying, you can find her watching true crime mysteries or cooking.

Staff Writer (Volume 50) — Vanessa is a fourth-year student double majoring in Psychology and English with a minor in Education. When she’s not working or studying, she enjoys picking up a good novel and escaping into the world of reading or playing some of her favourite songs on her record player. She also loves writing. You can often find her journaling throughout her day.


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