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Winter observations: the sidewalk slalom

Correlieu student columnist Abby Fisher finds the humourous side of winter trekking

By Abby Fisher, Observer columnist

Finding a sport to write about this week has been really dang hard. There is skating of course, but to be honest, that is Katherine’s area of expertise. Troll Ski Resort has snow coming Saturday! Sadly, this is not Saturday. Volleyball and cross-country running are over, basketball is just getting started. That leaves me with what?

Have no fear, for I did it. I have found the ultimate winter sport.

I need you all to fully participate in this particular piece. Everything you read beyond this point must be in National Geographic and/or Morgan Freeman narration voice. (It may help if you read it aloud.) Ready? Go.

You sit quietly, observing your calm surroundings, the crisp, chilled wind brushing against your face. There is nothing interesting beyond the slow passing of cars as they roll into the school zone.

You turn to bring your morning coffee back into the safety and warmth of your home, when something catches your eye. It is a momma bear , walking with her two cubs. They are making their way down the sidewalk, slowly across the rough and dangerous terrain. This momma is a seasoned and experienced soldier. You can spot the experts by observing their exterior. Momma walks upright; she has recruited a pair of spikes, a set on each of her two back feet, which she walks upon. Her other two limbs, ending in gloved hands, hold on to each of her young one’s own mittened paws.

One cub appears to be quite new at this, perhaps into his second season. The other has a slightly better handle on things, I would say the fifth or sixth go around. Momma has decked them both in protective gear, all too aware of the dangers they may face on this outing. The young ones are dressed in cold resistant padding from head to foot: waterproof footwear up to knitted-wool head protection. Momma dons similar gear of varying styles and sizes.

Obviously this momma has a steady hand on this excursion. Satisfied that you have confirmed their safety, and seen all this outing has to show, you nearly leave. A sharp movement has you turning back.

The smaller cub steps upon a treacherous section of sidewalk and slides into the legs of his momma. Despite the spikes, momma loses her grip on the ice in attempts to avoid stepping on her child. She takes a tumble, nearly missing her babe lying on the ground beneath her. Still gripped in her hands is a small mittened paw, attached to her other child. Reflexes have her tightening her grip, and he is pulled down onto the pile of bodies.

You shake your head. No matter how you prepare, winter sidewalks are relentless. Even the most seasoned of walkers are no match for the slick streets of Quesnel.

This is a column written jointly by Abby Fisher and Katherine Osmond, both Correlieu students. Abby and Katherine both have a passion for writing and hope to learn and improve their skills over the course of this year.

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