This is by far the longest winter that I can remember for many, many years and trust me when I say that I will not be sad to see it go! Now, that said, I have to admit that the coming of spring will leave me missing one adventure from winter.
I have not cycled to work much this winter as has been my previous habit. Not only did it get bone achingly cold this year but I had also allowed myself to get out of shape for this level of activity. So for three reasons I continue to bus; one being the absolute loathing to pay any more money to “big oil” than I absolutely have to; two, it provides me an opportunity for physical activity that I would otherwise miss in that it offers a 20 minute walk every morning and evening; and three, the ice, the part of my walk that takes me across the ice.
My bus takes me down the rapid transit (which I love!), and I get off at Mayfair and Main Street. I then walk south down Main across the Queen Elizabeth Bridge to St. Boniface General Hospital. The change I made this year was to instead of walking across the bridge I walk under the bridge across the ice. This I will miss so very much when spring (finally!) arrives.
It is hauntingly beautiful to traverse this meager trail created by fellow commuters across the ice. There are three inch gaps in the ice, huge heaves near the bases of the bridge that speak to the mighty power that courses below. Crystal clear sections through which you think you should see water, but no, simply more ice. And pigeons. At the base of the bridge in the spaces that lead up into the bridge are pigeons; dozens of pigeons. And pigeon crap. Mounds of stalagmite stacks of pigeon crap. This I include here for all those who like me wondered where the pigeons go at night.
The world below the bridge is completely different than the world on the bridge. It exists only in winter and will recede as spring blooms. I love this little world and the walk it provides me. It is hidden in plain sight and is so completely ‘the road less traveled’. While hundreds sit in their cars on the bridge I’ve discovered a beautiful piece of Winnipeg, just beneath them, that feels exclusively mine. So even as I gladly welcome the warmth and renewal of spring I will mourn ever so slightly the loss of my walk across the ice under the bridge.