There comes a time every year in the season of cold, snow and ice where that extra layer of clothing feels like it’s really weighing you down, your anxiety heightens with each block you walk without falling, and you just might lose it if your car refuses to start one more time. You’re ready for the end to say the least.
And though April really isn’t that far away, March can be a rough month in Yellowknife. Which, for those of you who don’t know, is in the Northwest Territories of Canada. The wind comes up and Mother Nature usually likes to slap you with one last reminder that she’ll be back in just a few short months – so don’t get too comfortable.
While we are generally an adventurous bunch up here – each of us adapting to the elements – some of us also find we’re more often cuddled up on the couch rather than outside. Office workers can be especially outdoors-deprived, spending their working hours hunched over a desk and their off hours kicking back at home, running errands or fulfilling commitments that keep them shielded from those precious rays that boost their vitamin D levels and that keep them from drinking in all that fresh air. Couple this with a diminished number of daylight hours in the deep of winter and many people’s moods start to plummet.
I’m an office dweller myself and I’m also one of those people that has spent more time indoors this winter than I’d care to admit. So, for the month of March, I will be spending the equivalent of 2 hours outside per day for 31 days. Take a gander at the Current Challenge page for all the rules and info.
I know, I know. For all of you who work outside (or far south) all day this seems like peanuts; however, the combo of a desk job, commitments, and what can be the blistering cold of Canada’s north make it a challenge to not just take on the cold, but to make the time to get out there.
Now, this isn’t all about just getting outside and reaping the benefits of fresh air, exploring and owning the cold. Nope, it goes a bit farther than that. You see, I can choose to stay indoors, protected from the elements. Others can’t. Due to the hours that homeless shelters have in Yellowknife, there is a gap where homeless men don’t have a warm place to be. In the evening, this gap is two hours; in the morning, it’s one hour. While the experience will be undeniably different as this is a reality of life for others and only a challenge for me, it’s an opportunity to put in the time to better understand what those two hours mean for those who have to endure them.
I hope this challenge will show the good that spending time outside does for a person, but even more so, I hope it will help put just one basic aspect of homelessness into perspective.
The Frozen 31 starts March 1st. Updates are posted the next day.