Friday, September 9, 2011

The Flight of Summer

Just like that, summer is gone. In reality, it's been gone for a couple of weeks, but I was able to fool myself into thinking that it was still here until the kids hit the classrooms.

The best way to combat the end-of-summer blues is to convince yourself that fall really is the best season of all. The trees smoulder, then burst into fiery colours. Geese lounge in the fields, taking a break from their southward retreat. The bush smells musty sweet and whispers, "Come for a walk before the snow ends it all."

Snow. That's the down side of fall. A September or October snowfall puts a damper on even the cheeriest autumn optimism. Here in the peripheral edge of the universe we sometimes escape the dread September snow. Occasionally we even escape October snow. One time Indian Summer cast a spell on the arctic wind, and we had a nearly snowless November. I'm young enough to remember wishing for snow, and old enough to wonder how I could have been so crazy. I'm still not too old to enjoy a few snow-dependant activities like skiing and snowshoeing though.

This post is sliding downhill faster than a greased pig on an iced toboggan. Summer to winter in three short paragraphs.

Rewinding to Fall, the Fire College training season has begun, so my weekends are booked for the next month or six weeks. Hopefully the snow holds off until we're done. The white stuff is great with a pair of skis strapped to your feet, but not much fun in turnout gear.

This is not good. Summer isn't even cold in her grave and I'm dancing with a foreboding of early winter. Time to put my game face on and make my traditional counter-prediction to the Farmers' Almanac, which is yet again gloomily predicting a cold, dry winter. You may remember my counter prediction from two years ago, which simply speculated that winter would be nice rather than nasty. Once again this year, using my trusted blend of wishful thinking and unrealistic optimism, I predict that it's going to be snowy and mild. I guess we'll see.


All this talk about winter and snow, and the weather forecast for tomorrow is sunny with 30 degree temperatures. That's 30 C which is roughly 90 F. We're training in Red Lake again, and I think the only thing worse than dragging hose through the snow is dragging it in sub tropical temperatures. Someone needs to tell the weather gremlins that autumn started last week.

This post has really gotten weird. First I'm groaning about early winter. Now I'm griping about summer weather in September.

Today we ran the crews through firefighter survival drills. Here are a few lousy cell camera shots of a big guy squeezing through a ladder in a low profile drill.

You can't tell, but he's smiling in the last shot. You would be too if you had just finished the drills he endured.

Tomorrow it's ventilation, search and rescue, and IMS. Sunday it will be live fires. I have to hand it to these folks. They live in a small northern town within a stone's throw of incredible fishing opportunities . . . the weather is perfect (for fishing) . . . and they took time off work . . . to crawl around in a smoke trailer, and roast themselves in hot sweaty turnouts. And it's probably going to snow next weekend. Volunteer firefighters are indeed some of the most peculiar and incredibly valuable human resources Canada has.

I hope Canada learns to appreciate them before they go extinct.

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