HN Blogger Contest: The Five Stages of WinterGrief

“One can only flail for so long though. Endless rounds of shoveling, ice breaking, barn cleaning for ungrateful wretches my beloved equines take their toll. Books remain unread and cookies are not made.”

This week, we’ll be running the Round One submissions from our Blogger Contest finalists as they prepare their entries for Round Two. Which blogger would you like to see join the Horse Nation contributor team? Make sure you cheer for your favorites in the comments section on Facebook!

Adobe Stock/Jeremy

It is July here in Nova Scotia. The weather is hot, the trees are green and life feels really good. It makes it easy to forget about snow and ice.

With global warming, winters, even up in Canada have been getting milder. At least on the east coast. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have fierce weather. We do. And it is becoming increasingly difficult to accept because we’ve become used to a more temperate season. Every year I have the totally unsubstantiated idea that this year it will be different. As a result  I’ve learned to identify and work through the five stages of WinterGrief:

1. Denial

Denial consists of  a  complete and unsubstantiated belief that the weather people are exaggerating for effect and “it’s not going to be that bad”

I tell myself that I live in Canada and snow is part of my DNA. We have shovels and a tractor. Really, we can cope.

I greet the first storm with open arms. A lovely day spent inside reading, warm and cozy while the storm rages outside. Maybe I’ll bake cookies.

Denial does not last long. It usually ends when the snow is about fibe inches deep and showing no sign of letting up. And the horses still expect to be fed and do not like it if I am late.

2. Anger

As the snow piles up, the next stage emerges — anger.

There is so much work to do. And why must we have this endless cycle of snow, followed by sleet and then rain? Do you know how hard it is to shovel wet snow?

This leads to an impressive display of vocabulary. Words that I won’t repeat here. At 6 a.m. I hang on a frozen barn door while it flatly refuses to open. The air turns blue and I am convinced that the door is mocking me.

I keep the local hardware store afloat with salt, ice melt and an ice scraper. My anger finds outlet in the flailing at snow and ice to make sure that the inevitable rain that falls has a path to escape. Otherwise it will back up to the barn and the doors will become locked in ice. But only after the barn floods.

One can only flail for so long though.

Endless rounds of shoveling, ice breaking, barn cleaning for ungrateful wretches my beloved equines take their toll.

Books remain unread and cookies are not made.

3. Bargaining:

During the 4th or 5th relentless storm I turn to my husband, gaze lovingly into his eyes and say “I’ll give you $1,000 if you’ll go out and take care of the horses.”

“No,” he says.

So much for bargaining. It’s a short stage. But our marriage remains intact. I tell myself that it’s because we love each other not that it takes too much energy to move out in the winter.

4. Depression.

I can’t believe that there’s more snow falling. And freezing rain. And snow. I have no energy to tackle it. I make myself go out and deal with it. It’s like sitting in the dentist chair. There’s no going around, there’s only through. So I persevere.

Again the horses are supremely ungrateful for my efforts. Life has shrunk to shoveling and desperate attempt to find places to put the snow. I worry that soon the horses will be able to step over the fence as it disappears into the drifts.

Intellectually I know that it’s pretty.

But I am unable to summon the emotional energy to appreciate it.

And then I realized. I have tipped over to the final stage:

5. Acceptance:

As the weatherperson cheerily talks about another 30 cm of snow followed by 25 mm of rain over the next three days, I smile grimly. My generator has gas, I have muscles like an amazon (although, alas, not the figure).

Bring it on.

About Teresa Alexander-Arab:

I started my blog, Journey with a Dancing Horse, in 2011 shortly after buying an Andalusian gelding. ( It chronicles my riding and horsepersonship journey. As well as the things they don’t tell you about keeping horses at home. LIke how ungrateful they can be. Or how innocent they look when something is broken in the barn and they have NO IDEA how it happened. Or there was a spider. Or both. 

About me: I am a, *cough* 58 year old woman who feels 12 most of the time. As long as I don’t ask my knees. They feel 80. I love to write. Or overshare. However you want to look at it. If you asked me what my superpower is, it is my ability to tangle anything. Like, literally anything. I once coiled the dog up in the hose. And he didn’t even look surprised. Just resigned. My horses patiently wait while I take the 20th knot out of the lunge line or try to figure out how I tangled the lead in the halter. Even my 2 year old understands this. My 12 year old mare just rolls her eyes and sighs. 

I am a manager in health care. A place where you need dedication, a sense of humour and a place to recharge. For me that is the barn. My life is busy, often chaotic but full of fun and love. 
I have attached a sample of my work.