There is a tiny icicle on each individual eyelash. The steam around me billows up and disappears into the never-ending white. White fog, white fields, white tipped Pines, white powdered hills, snow covered mountains. Snow. Snow everywhere.
It’s falling too, all around me. Tiny spidery snowflakes, falling from whispy white clouds above. Ice cold fluff.
I keep my body submerged under water, hot steaming chlorified water up to my chin. My head and ears are covered with thick rainbow fauxfur, the rest of me is naked. My skin glistening, pale, pale white under the foaming hot tub water. The only sound for miles is someone driving through powder on a snowmobile, that distinct hum I remember so well from childhood. There is no one around, no people, no bears: it’s February and everyone is in hibernation. If there was anyone around, I’d know, there is no sneaking up on me here, the neighbour’s dog team would go berserk. Even the Huskeys are quiet today, and the silence stretches on and on. I find it eerie. A giant tar black raven soars through the mist and finds his perch on the tallest of the tiny Yukon trees. In my mind, It threatens to snap under his bodyweight, but these trees are stronger than I give them credit, older and wiser too.
The raven watches me.
I watch him back, intently.
I didn’t think I would say this in my lifetime, but I’m back. I am back here living in my hometown, Whitehorse, Yukon, and it is even colder than I remember.
I’ve been here one week and already been exposed to seven days of 30 below perhaps a high of -25 somewhere (but they say it’s minus 45 with wind chill anyway). My older brother warns me not to listen to those radio announcers, they no nothing. It’s not thaat cold.
I’ve already managed to back my car right into a snowbank and got it stuck (thank goodness my Dad has the equipment to tow me out!).
I’m just not a winter person. I like snow for a minute, then I am over it. I like to look it, through the glass, in a painting maybe, on the screen of the television while watching a winter movie but all from the comfort of my warm home when I am living somewhere hot or at the very least, warmer, a more mild Canadian climate. Yes, I’ll admit, I miss Vancouver already.
Sure, I like some winter activities. I love snowboarding. But I like it when you can go to the snow, find it on the mountain, escape it when you come back down. I like snowboarding when it’s minus 5 or minus 10, maybe. I can barely last five minutes outside in this weather.
It’ll get better.
As I sit and observe the white all around me, I contemplate life.
I feel a warmth inside knowing my brother and his wife live right down the street, just a stroll away. My other brother and his wife, a short drive away. My grandma is just across the field. My parents are a staircase and a knock away.
I’ve been away from my family for too long. The distance created its own kind of silence, and I am relieved for a chance to reconnect.
I’ve realized family is extremely important to me, even if not all of them, ‘get me’, or accept me fully.
I feel an unexpected excitement to reinvent myself here. The person I was when I lived here seven years ago is so different from the person I became in Vancouver. But that person is also gone. It’s to time to connect the dots, connect all the partial Heidi’s along the way. Become whole, or at least continue to grow. I’m ready to reconnect with my past, and examine all the guilt, the shame, the fear, the closeted anxiety. All this weird shit I’ve bottled up and attached to this place.
The small-town homophobia. Judgement. Gossip.
The knowing, anytime you leave the house, you will probably run into someone you knew from before: an old co-worker, an ex-friend’s parent, thousands of acquaintances who you know little to nothing about besides there name- or their most recent Facebook status, if you kept up on the CreepTrain, but you know, that they’ll know, or they’ll find out, and they’ll think of you differently.
I will be queer here, just as I am there. People will see it differently, treat me differently, of this I have always been afraid.
I will try to embrace my difference.
And I will try to embrace this cold.
I will search in the silence for the words I’ve been lacking-
The ones that have been swept up by the constant city buzz, the lights, the sound, the beats and lines and constant drip, of alcohol, the club scene I’ve left behind.
I’ve given up alcohol for the next four months, too. Wish me luck.
It’s not as a dark here, as I remember.
The sun shines brightly everyday, and I think to myself, at least, I will not miss the rain.
I will scan the white horizon for inspiration and hope.
Hope that we will all just be okay.
Hope that I will be able to write more here.
Inspire change here.
Hope that I will learn to love the cold again, or that spring and summer will just come sooner.
From across the hills, I see a shimmer of colour, the reflection of a tiny rainbow.
Maybe it’s just me.