Monday, May 20, 2013

Playing the Hand You're Dealt

A long-planned excursion to the town of Twillingate this weekend turned into an object lesson in the difference that attitude can make. The trip was scheduled to take place over the Victoria Day weekend; Victoria Day is a Canadian holiday that is now celebrated on the Monday prior to May 24, the actual anniversary of her birth in 1819. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the holiday has a largely undeserved reputation for bringing what could most generously be called interesting weather, but this year it came through in fine fashion. Snow began falling on Saturday evening, and continued all day Sunday in Central Newfoundland, dumping some 58 cm (roughly 22.8 inches) in the town of Gander. At Twillingate, on the coast, accumulations were not as great, but there was a good coating of slushy snow on the roads and streets, and steady snow in the air.

At the Harbour Lights Inn in Twillingate, a motley crew of travellers from many parts of Canada showed the best possible reaction to an event like this one -- they took it in stride. Laughter filled the air, and all the guests in the nine-room inn carried on with their plans to explore the area. It wasn't just the hardy crowd at the Harbour Lights who showed this kind of moxie, though. Throughout our exploration, many other travellers could be seen taking photos, enjoying a meal at a local restaurant, or taking in the sights.

By the time the storm ended on Sunday, an iceberg had drifted into view on the horizon and there were already groups visiting the viewing area near the lighthouse at Long Point to catch a glimpse of it, and to marvel at the rime of ice that had formed on the nearby tuckamore as a result of the combined wind and icy spray.

According to Environment Canada, this is the first time in over ten years that there's been significant snowfall in Newfoundland on the Victoria Day weekend; we've come to expect wonderful weather at this time of year, but this year we got fooled. When this kind of unexpected event arrives and plans have already been made, we can feel conspired against and cancel, or we can roll with the punches and make the conscious decision to enjoy life as it comes. On an occasion when a few grumbles might have been expected, there wasn't a single complaint to be heard. Full marks to this weekend's visitors to Twillingate for playing the hand that fate -- and the weather -- dealt them.

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