Autumn is bearing down on us in Saskatchewan. The days are shorter, the air is cooler and damper, the leaves are falling, and the trees and grass are fading to greige. For those not from the construction industry, ‘GREIGE’ is a color created by some sick bastard who thought grey and beige were not dull and depressing enough on their own. He, or she as the case may be, combined the two and greige became the official color of autumn in Saskatchewan.
Anyone not from Saskatchewan, could easily believe winter would be our toughest season of the year, That is not the case, at least not for me, and I have lived here for 64 years. Winter can be harsh, with our minus fifty days, but the majority of winter is spent indoors or in vehicles and we do have coats, hats, gloves and boots to protect us from the elements when we must venture out. Icy roads may be difficult to navigate, but to be honest, the ice pretty much brings traffic to a crawl, so driving is not as treacherous as one would expect. As for the mountains of snow, yes it is more than an inconvenience, as it tends to fall or drift where it is least welcome, but at least it is not greige. So, there is that. For those who are inclined to participate in winter sports, such as hockey, curling, tobogganing or cross country skiing , winter in Saskatchewan is probably a joy. I am not one who is so inclined, but I can deal with winter.
Winter has one absolute advantage over autumn. As we struggle to keep warm and mobile throughout a Saskatchewan winter, we know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We know spring is coming, with blue skies, green grass, and warm sunny days. In autumn, we know that the only thing at the end of the tunnel is a Saskatchewan winter.
This autumn holds a special place in my heart. This will be my last autumn before I retire. This is the last season, where it will truly matter to me if the days get shorter and the nights get longer, if the air gets cooler or if the province is covered in a shroud of greige as I travel back and forth to work with the masses. Next year, when autumn arrives, I will have the option of curling up with my dog and a hot cup of tea in my cozy little home, ready to ignore it to my heart’s content.