Winnipeg's Jazz Magazine


Emergence, No Emergency

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Winnipeg poet Duncan Mercredi summed up 2013 best as “the year that Winter sat down on Spring and wouldn’t let her get up.” How poetic is that? Someone has to issue an award of distinction to each one of us that reads: I survived the ongoing winter of 2013!

At least on the surface, everyone I encountered appeared to be soldiering through it. Towards mid-April though, I began to detect slight behavioral breakdowns in even some of the more staunch and resolute Winnipeggers. It was frightening—almost like seeing real fear in the eyes of your parents.

One of the things that affected me personally this time around was the return of the Canada geese. Nothing is more sad or depressing than the sight of three or four bewildered geese meandering about, taking turns squatting in 2 square meters of icy pond water.

Another thing that occurred to me is that it must be a matter of civic courtesy to ignore the appearance of those muddy roadside stalagmites. I refer to the brownish gravel-ice-and-snow sculptures that occur seemingly as a reward or perhaps counterbalance for the joy and hope of warming temperatures. We try to look past things like that the same way we look past mudpack facials. We know that a lovely countenance will emerge after the mud is finally scraped away.

Can we escape the flood this year? Will we have a summer without mosquitoes or drought? Is there a yearly plague and pestilence quota? Have we maxed our card yet? Can we get a waiver on further acts of God and nature this year? In spite of all the bitter hardship each year, we always emerge intact, for the most part. With only a few more potential setbacks to endure, we will soon be looking at weekends at the lake and cookouts and music festivals!

There is something very special about living here. We are simultaneously in the middle of nowhere and smack dab in the middle of everywhere. We are a small town that is a big city. We are a big city that is a small town. You have to live here to truly know what that means. We’re a couple hours away from everywhere and light years away from all the drama. I for one am proud to emerge every summer and be counted as a survivor. This is what gives us our wit and our edge.

I am going to celebrate the eventual emergence of some season other than winter (when it finally comes) by having cookouts, visiting the Leo Mol sculpture garden, taking long drives in the countryside, going to baseball games, catching up on my gardening, and going to the lake. This summer you can find me with Jazz on Wheels at street festivals, or hanging out at the Jazz Festival in the middle of June.

Until then, may your spring emergence have few real emergencies and I hope to see you enjoying the better part of the Winnipeg experience real soon.

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