“Calgary 2 A.M.”

Come mid-February, many of us who live up north are done with winter. We’ve enjoyed the holidays, we’ve had our fill of winter sports, and news of another snow storm is no longer exciting. Unfortunately, despite what the groundhog says, we know we still have several more weeks of winter to endure. Today’s poem by Christopher Wiseman (who, being Canadian, must know a thing or two about winter) reminds us that shifting our attention to the positive can help us make it to spring.

Calgary 2 A.M.

In spite of the fact that it’s twenty below
and winter has gone on for five long months,

in spite of being starved, starved almost to death
for greenness and warmth, flowers and birds,

in spite of the deadness of endless classrooms,
shopping centres, television shows,

in spite of the pains in the gut, the migraines,
the wakings, the palpitations,

in spite of a guilty knowledge of laziness,
of failure to meet some obligations,

in spite of all these things, and more, 
I have to report that the moon tonight 

is filling the house with a wild blueness,
my children grow, excel, are healthy,

my wife is gentle, there are friends,
and once in a while a poem will come.

In spite of the fact that it’s twenty below,
tonight I smile. Summer bursts inside me.

Christopher Wiseman

Practicing gratitude isn’t about dismissing or minimizing the challenges we all have. It’s about taking a moment to focus on what’s working in spite of them. It’s easy to get caught up in what’s challenging and overlook the good things and people in our lives. We all do it.

Gratitude is only an idea until you actually practice it, so let’s do it! In spite of it all, what three things are making you smile this winter? Three things from me are:

  1. Smartwool socks
  2. Warm sticky buns from the local bakery
  3. Watching neighborhood turkeys fly into trees (impossible to witness and not smile!)

Your turn. Let us know what’s making you smile in the comments section below.


“Calagary 2 A.M.” by Christopher Wiseman from In John Updike’s Room, 2005.  Copyrighted material used for educational purposes.

Photo art: Janine Kwoh “Things That Aren’t Terrible About Winter” Letterpress card, kwohtations.com.


  1. Love the poem! Here are my three:

    1. Sitting by the warm fireplace with a good book or listening to classical music (or both!)
    2. Spotting a beautiful cardinal perched on a snowy tree branch.
    3. Best of all (when Covid passes): Sitting on a warm, sunny beach in the middle of February, reading about blizzards back home.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this poem! And the graphics, which I discovered several weeks ago and have been sending out to people myself 🙂 Winter feels the coziest (most ‘hygge’) it’s ever felt for me. I have found many things to be grateful for:

    1) Making snow angels in fresh deep snow
    2) Discovering tracks of various animals in the snow (we tracked a bobcat last weekend)
    3) Sliding down a snowy hill with a boogy board (+ new xcountry skis with favorite smartwool socks too)
    Clearly a snow theme here, probably because I am watching the new snowfall outside.

    But also baking, fireplace, bourbon cocktails with freshly squeezed clementines, hot tea / coffee, new soft mattress topper and a pajama from a favorite shop, string lights and candles…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I Love :

    1.) The blazing hot fire and the smell of the wood.

    2.) Fresh hot homemade bread right out of oven.

    3.) My dog coming in with his fur and nose covered in snow.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Waking up before the sunrise.
    Seeing animal tracks in the snow, which proves the critters are still here even though I don’t always see them.
    Spending the day baking bread and knowing the day was well spent.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 1. the cows and sheep in our barnyard as they wait impatiently for their bale of hay.
    2. my daughter Nancy’s dog who dashes through our door to the spot where we leave pots and pans for her to lick clean.
    3. the gleaming dishes that our dishwasher has washed and dried so beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

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