The sun is barely up, and the temperature reads -25 C. This is a layering kind of day, where snowpants won't be enough. Long johns, warm pants, wool socks. T-shirt, long-sleeved shirt, wool sweater, coat. Hat and hood, all wrapped up in a scarf. Mittens tucked deeply under the sleeves of coats, snow pant hems pulled snugly over the tops of boots.
They pull on their backpacks without complaint, and head out into the frigid air to wait for the bus.
This routine astounds me, every single day because they never whine about it. On days when they don't go to school, they do it anyway, to play until their cheeks and toes feel frozen, at which point they pile in the door, confident that there will be hot chocolate and popcorn waiting for them. They hang up their stuff, place mittens over heat grates, and make sure all will be dry for their next foray into Eastern Ontario winter.
The Inuit have adapted to cold, winter living over thousands and thousands of years.
My husband and I, however, are descended from Irish and English ancestors. My foremothers and fathers came to Canada in the mid-1800s, fleeing famine and religious persecution, and settled into a life of farming the Canadian soil. Robin's dad was born in Canada, but his grandparents came here from Northern Ireland. His mother still speaks with an English accent, after coming to Canada in the mid-1980s. This is all to say that our ancestry, in terms of adaptation to climate, is drawn from milder climes, greener fields, damp and soft weather for the most part.
I get this surge of pride every time I send my kids out into the winter cold, knowing that they are among the sturdiest stock in the world. They adapt to heat above 30 degrees C in the summer, and cold below -25 C in the winter. And they play just as happily in either temperature.
As for me, I prefer to stay inside with wool socks, a warm fire, a bowl of steel cut oats with maple syrup, and my knitting, while waiting for Spring.