Skip to content

Some Rough Out

Light and shadow on snowWe’ve been having a real winter in Waterloo, Ontario this year. I say real because there’s been snow on the ground since well before Christmas, which I love. Also, the temperatures have generally been well below seasonal, which I love less. A couple of weeks ago, for instance, we had a couple of –40˚ Celsius days. I thought a dry –40˚ in Alberta was cold; in damp Ontario, it’s even colder. I knew things were getting bad when –27˚ started to feel comfortable.

We did have a brief thaw and some rain shortly after the first Polar Vortex (which apparently was the cause of the intense cold), but it wasn’t powerful enough to do more than make a slight dent in the snow, and what did melt was replaced within a few days. Now we’ve dropped back down to wind chills between –20˚ and –30˚ again.


Of course, when you grow up in Newfoundland, you’re no stranger to harsh weather conditions. If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes and it’ll change, people will tell you. What they don’t tell mainlanders is as often as not, it will be worse.

Every Newfoundlander has likely experienced all four seasons in a single day on many occasions, but my home province’s weather has its charms. There’s nothing quite like watching fog roll in over the hills or the water… or experiencing the whiteouts caused by snow combined with winds of more than 100 kph… or looking out the window after the storm has passed, the sky is blue, and the snow is a perfect, sparkling white… or walking along a beach as the wind makes it its business to tangle your hair while the blue of the sky tries to outdo the blue of the water in a competition where no one is keeping score.

Fog over Tablelands
Fog rolling in over the Tablelands in Gros Morne National Park.









Every Newfoundlander also has a collection of phrases to describe the weather… many of which we don’t even realize are unique to our home province until they automatically pop out of our mouths in Ontario, Alberta or somewhere else.

Yesterday, for instance, it was some rough out. The cold was enough to skin you (or ya). And the wind, well that went right through you (or ya).

When it’s foggy and wet, which admittedly isn’t something that happens much where I live now… we call it a mauzy day. And when it’s sunny and extra hot in summer (we do get a lot of those), we say the sun is splitting the rocks.

I feel very fortunate to belong to Newfoundland, for many reasons, one of them being all the wonderful turns of phrase that are etched in my brain. I’ve gotten more than a few confused looks over the years, I must admit, when those phrases roll off my tongue.

But what odds, I know what I’m talking about. And besides, it will be spring, and then summer, soon enough.