NO, REALLY: The real translation of El Nina means ‘Cold Witch’

I really should have been raking

I really should have been raking.

Craning my eye level just above the bonfire, I calculated another 30,000 or so Douglas fir cones amidst the fallen woody debris awaiting my trusty blue rake. But I really don’t care for raking and any distraction is a welcome one.

In this case, a friend and I had plunked our backsides into lawn chairs and were happily nursing cold beers as the sunshine warmed our faces along with the fire.

Felt good to do nothing, especially after a busy two days – well, a day-and-a-half – of seemingly endless yard work.

It felt even better to feel the sun’s warmth, something that has been sorely lacking since, say, last September? Ah yes, there’s the note in the Farmer’s Almanac:

Sept. 13, 2010: Last actual day you will feel warm again outdoors until late April 2011.

I think El Nina is really a Spanish name for “Cold Witch.” (Feel free to replace the W with a B if you like.)

Perhaps I’m a tad harsh. After all, it’s not like I had to clear the driveway of a metre of snow, which isn’t all that uncommon during our so-called “mild” winters.

I can never forget my first winter here back in 1990-’91.

“Oh, your new here? Well, it NEVER snows!” more than one liar told me.

I believe it was late January or early February, when more than a metre of snow dumped on us and then the mercury dipped to somewhere below minus-10 Celsius. For nearly two weeks, the motorists faced life or death situations at every left turn as they attempted to see around the frozen piles of snow, idiotically left in the middle of the roads.

City workers have since improved their snow removal techniques and, fortunately, we’ve never had another winter as brutal as that one since.

This one was a little different. Cooler than usual, for longer, and seemingly more rain. I have trouble understanding how it could rain EVEN MORE here in the winter, but it has.

That will ultimately translate into more cones on the firs which inevitably will lead to more raking. But that will be for another day and right now the only thing I’m looking forward too is another brewski.

Life is good here, very good, and I’m grateful to have found this corner of paradise…even with all the rain.

A few weeks back, someone complained, “It’s too wet! It couldn’t be worse!”

I thought for a second and replied, “You’re right. It can’t be worse than the massive flooding in Australia, the earthquake in New Zealand, or the catastrophic earthquake in Japan, followed by a killer tsunami and nuclear  reactor disaster…”

The whining immediately ceased as we both smiled; that knowing smile of two people who know just how lucky we are to be just where we are.