Late last spring, one of GGP’s Case Coordinators, Mary Rajan, emigrated from South India to Saskatoon. She and her family settled into their new home during the summer of 2021, all the while wondering about the winter to come.
Mary said her hometown Chennai only has three temperatures: “Hot, hotter, and hottest.” As they researched their new city, Mary and her family were struggling to even imagine what -30 degrees would feel like.
“We had a lot of fear and excitement as the winter approached. In fact, we were wondering ‘How could a human survive in such extreme cold?’” Mary said.
Even as winter began, many aspects of surviving the cold continued to leave Mary incredulous. When she overheard talk about winter tires she thought “What is this? Why do we need one?” To the frost gathering on her windows, Mary said “Excuse me, how did you get in while the room heater is on?” And she still can’t believe how much clothing is necessary to brave the cold: “You dress up like an astronaut and walk like one in the moon just to get a loaf of bread and milk from the store across the road!”
Thankfully, between informative chats with her GGP coworkers and tips from friendly neighbours, Mary and her family have navigated their first few months of winter with success. Mary even attended a GGP Winter Preparation information session for clients! “This session actually helped me a lot to get the right things—and in advance—to be prepared for the season,” Mary said.
Amidst all the bustling and preparation, Mary experienced snow for the very first time. It did not disappoint: “The snowfall was a dream come true. It was such a beautiful sight to see the whole of the city covered by a blanket of pure white.”
Now that’s she’s a few months into her first winter, Mary has become quite philosophical about the quiet power of Saskatchewan snow:
“I like to sit and watch the snowfall as it covers and encompasses everything around under it. I feel this is the message that nature sends out to us: nature is supreme, and it has the power to transform and take every life, every thing under its control. We are just a part of this creation; we dare not think to overrule nature!”
So, let’s take a break from grumbling about snowy streets and trying in vain to wrangle winter to serve our own schedules. Just for a moment, let’s join Mary (and poet Mary Oliver) in reverence to the formidable force of piles and piles of snow:
“Snow was falling, so much like stars filling the dark trees that one could easily imagine its reason for being was nothing more than prettiness…I wish great welcome to the snow, whatever its severe and comfortless and beautiful meaning.” –Snowy Night, Mary Oliver
Okay, now we can go back to bonding over the snowy inconveniences. Mary will start us off: “I’m not able to use my phone with these thick gloves!”