There are people waiting behind this living wall.

November 13th, 2013, 5pm

Behind A Living Wall

It isn’t winter yet, but that’s why I’m here. To talk about how to enjoy the season slotted in between fall and spring. Canadians (except those living in Vancouver) love to talk about how winter lasts and lasts and lasts and…. “Cold enough for ya?” and “What’s the windchill?” become the words often exchanged between friends who meet on the street in place of the usual pleasantries. But I’m an all season guy, and I like the winter (though minus 25 celsius is no picnic). So here, at this library, I will give my best twenty minutes in a workshop on how to have fun in the season of snow and cold.

Ten interested souls have come out tonight to hear how they can have some winter family fun. I am grateful that they have ventured out on this night of 3 celsius, though I suspect the free hot chocolate on offer has something to do with it.

The first speaker is here to talk about snowshoeing. The librarian, our host, who is tall and young, introduces her. I like her bio, it sounds authoritative. The snowshoe lady smiles a big, easy grin and begins. She is lively. The audience responds well to her. She has done this before. She has props. These props make the the kids in the audience laugh out loud. I do not have props. She wraps up to warm applause. A family of three gets up. The dad says they have to go. I can see that their hot chocolate is finished.

The librarian, who is also quite lively, steps up again, long red hair swaying, to introduce me. As she reads my introduction (that I wrote), I begin to wish I had made it, well, more authoritative. I have a moment of nerves, as I always do when I am about to speak in front of an audience. The room seems brutally quiet. I wish I had props. A deep breath, and an exhale that settles and calms, and I set out to convince these seven, that, yes, winter is fun.

The hot chocolate is now gone and so are the people. The snowshoe lady, the librarian and I talk about the evening. The verdict: All things considered, it went well.

It is dark outside, and the coldness of the November night air on my face is welcome, after the still and close heat of the library. Making my way home, I run the evening back in my mind. I nod in the darkness. A little boy in the audience promised me he would make a quinzee (snow fort) with his brother this winter. And I believe him.

Jordan, Adrian, David Wade, Lia and 1 more said thanks.

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Mark Yearwood

Can a man remake his life? In the woods, no less? I am trying.

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