We've now seen the first month of the new year come and go and entered the short month of February.
And while this month is shorter than the average one at 28 days, we're still in the midst of a cold winter, with temperatures in the last week plummeting downward to -20 and colder, a heck of a dip from the unusually mild January we were having.
Eh, that's life on the Canadian Prairies. It's cold in the winter - shocker!
But I can take it. We can take it; we're Canadians living in Saskatchewan, after all. We've seen it all and we've experienced it all. In fact, it was a year ago this week that we had probably the worst snow and wind storm in generations, with fierce snow and biting wind making for a horrendous tag team combination. I picked up Brendon from Western Sales and I remember making that turn onto Highway 15, and I actually got pulled over by the RCMP. It was Cst. Jesse Kimball of the Outlook detachment, who was warning me of what I was about to experience and advised me that maybe it would be smarter to just stay in town that night.
Well, my stubborn Irish and determined Scottish blood made me decide to push through and head home that day. It was definitely an adventure. I kept things at a very modest cruising speed, and there were two instances in which I was almost hit by another oncoming SUV. Luckily, there were no collisions, but I couldn't say that about some of the other vehicles that I saw in ditches and abandoned along Highway 15. We made it home that day, safe and sound, and opted to just wait out the storm over the next couple of days.
Fast forward to a year later, and I find that things are both the same and different.
They're the same because it's still winter, it's still cold, and we all still have to deal with this together. We just gotta wait it out, people.
But it's different because of my surroundings. A year ago, I was still in Conquest, living in my late mom's house. Brendon and I would make the move at the beginning of September to our comfy new digs here in Outlook, and we're very happy that we did.
In the middle of making such a move, there were some things that I was asking myself; a series of questions that I wasn't quite sure I'd ever get full and satisfactory answers to.
Would I feel different living in Outlook? Would my mood improve? Would it feel like as if my life improved?
Now, after having lived here for five months, I can respond with the following to those three questions: Yes, I feel different. Yes, my mood has vastly improved. Yes, it does feel like as if my life has improved. It's incredible what can be accomplished with a change in scenery and surroundings.
Don't get me wrong - for many years, Conquest was home. It'll always be my hometown, and I have a lifetime's worth of memories that I look back on with fondness, but I also won't mince words here; as soon as my mom passed away, that house simple became 'the house in Conquest'. Mom took her last breath at approximately 3:30 AM on March 28, 2021, and for the next 17 months afterward, I lived in the house in Conquest. It stopped feeling like home because the one person who made it feel like home was now gone.
These days, I'm making my own home in Outlook and carving my own little piece of history. It doesn't carry the weight that the house in Conquest does, but nothing ever will, and I accepted that as soon as I moved out. There are memories and moments that made life in that house special, but I believe there are memories and moments that will make life in our apartment special. Heck, there are already!
I'll tell you what I'm looking forward to the most coming up, and I know that I'm not alone - the spring and summer. Very much so. It'll be the first warm season for me as an actual resident of Outlook, and I'm excited to see where the wind, the sunshine, and the blue skies take me. We're not very high off the ground, but ur apartment still has a balcony, and I'm looking forward to getting my folding chair back out, sitting down with a cold drink on a warm May evening, opening the main balcony door but leaving the screen one closed (mosquitoes, mind you), and just r-e-l-a-x-i-n-g. Not a care in the world, just enjoying the sunshine with a cold drink and watching the neighborhood.
If I'm not doing that, I'm barbecuing.
If I'm not doing that, I'm biking around town. Just gotta get my hands on a bike!
If I'm not doing that, I can probably be found at the local movie theatre.
And if I'm not doing that, I'll take a stroll down the street and head down into the park, no doubt coming across a few deer, maybe a fox, maybe some rabbits. I'll be sure to arm myself with my trusty Canon.
I'm looking forward to anything and everything that the warm seasons bring us, and I'm happy that I'm now a resident of the riverside community, which has done nothing but welcome me.
And I'm ready for an Outlook summer.
For this week, that's been the Ruttle Report.