Northern Alberta Night

Earlier (as part of my stint as this week’s @hellofrmSG curator), I had a brief conversation among some peeps about the seasons, weather, and so forth. Typically, my response in a convo like this is pretty predictable:

  • I don’t miss the seasons. 
  • I hate winter
  • I love warm weather.

While it’s true that I can appreciate the seasons — I enjoyed having equal amounts of them while I lived in NYC — the fact is that in Canada, where I’m from, they are not equally distributed. Winter lasts from October to April some years. And I’m not talking winter like NZ winter (“as cold as -10°C” oh please!), I’m talking temps of -20°C or colder sometimes. I have many childhood memories of -30°C for weeks.

YEAH. How does that sound, hm? Well, I’ll tell ya: flipping cold. I wouldn’t mind winter so much if the seasons calendar was something like this: 

  • 4 weeks of autumn (crunchy leaves, scarves, tights, and sipping coffee in crisp air)
  • 2 weeks of winter (skiing, skating, tobogganing, snow forts, okay yeah!)
  • 4 weeks of spring (flowers, green, pretty, nice smells, light rain)
  • SUMMER for the other 42 weeks yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh NO MORE LAYERS, break out the sundresses all the tiiiiime woooo!

(Canadians reading this right now are chuckling and rolling their eyes, amirite?)

But of course my ideal climate or planet doesn’t exist (or we haven’t found it yet – I’m hoping Cmdr Hadfield is on top of that, eh?) and so the next best thing for me is to live in either a temperate or a tropical climate. 

So here I am.

But someone in that conversation I mentioned earlier made a comment about how much they miss the long summer days in the UK where the sun doesn’t set till 10pm. And that was all it took… 

I recalled how in Northern Alberta in the summer, the sun doesn’t fully set until past midnight. The photo above — taken while waiting for Canada Day fireworks in 2010 — says it all. (For the record, the fireworks happened 10 minutes later, and I have a photo of that too.) Long summer days in Canada are pretty effing special. I love them, and nothing nowhere else I’ve lived can compare to them.

So: missing Northern Alberta summers. I dug up this poem (below), which I first wrote in 2009, after re-reading some of my journal entries from the summer of 2007, when the poem takes place. Reading it again tonight, I felt like it needed a wee teeny bit of editing, so I did that. 

… I’m now missing “home” a bit… and very much looking forward to my visit this summer. 




Northern Alberta Night

August 2nd, 2007

2:35 a.m.


The moon tonight was so stunningly, arrestingly beautiful. I was 

hopelessly forced to stare. 


I was aghast and distracted

stopped in my tracks 

– near the train – 

got out of the car

just to admire that moon in awe.


How is it possible, I wondered, that the same sun 

that had only just set some 30 minutes before 

was now giving this moon its basking tangerine glow? 


How can that sun be so near and yet so far? 


How far does it stretch?






Northern Alberta Night

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