Snowmageddon descended upon the eastern most province of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador. Its capital, St. John’s, is heaped with mounds of white fluff. A never-before heard silence – thanks mainly to state of emergency that pulled all non-essential vehicles off the roads – envelopes the North East Avalon.
One might assume this was a scene right out of a post-apocalyptic horror movie or show, but that’s when the Newfoundland trademark booming, raucous laughter rings sharply through the quiet.
An infectious camaraderie, propelled by communal shovelling, has residents expressing ‘love thy neighbour’ sentiments in grander ways than normal (even for Newfoundland standards), something that no one has been immune too, including capitalistic ventures. Try as they might, many multinationals operating in the region have declared that they will be paying staff during the declared emergency.
Here’s why this is the place to be when a zombie apocalypse or alien invasion hits mankind:
1. Laugh through the pain
The State of Emergency can – to put it mildly – have displays of emotion that may be challenging to cope with. As they say here, it can get people drove. Instead of the expected annoyance and irritation caused due to limited food supplies, honeymoons being rescheduled, vacations cancelled (and not to mention the mounds of snow), NL has made hay while the sun shines (albeit only for a few hours) giving other people a reason to laugh through the pain.
2. There is a contagion on the loose – It’s called kindness
Signs of the virulence, a.k.a generosity, have manifested in the form of communal bins filled with supplies, strangers knocking down snow mountains, friends making trips in the snow and ice to drop off soup and the online hive coming up with unique ways to survive including bartering.
Another symptom of this virality includes The Snow Angels – no cousins of Hell’s Angels – a group led by actor, director and theatre practitioner Ruth Lawrence, who are shovelling homes out of the snow left, right and centre in the city.
This contagion of kind gestures is spreading far and wide across the city. And nothing seems to be stopping this widespread outbreak of love!
3. Plus, moose on the loose
With Snowmageddon specifically, one needn’t travel far to observe animals in their natural habitat. Moose have been found to be making friendly appearances in the city, happy that the human dwellers aren’t zipping around in their four-ton machines. Known or not that they can’t be shot in city limits, moose are now traipsing around town, most likely curious about the contents of the communal bins, making their appearance add to the ‘je ne sais quoi’ of the place.
4. Governments on all levels are ploughing through
In a moment of crisis, if this were our neighbours down south, the media maelstrom that would arise from an historic event such as this being milked to make the ruling party look good or bad, would most likely be unprecedented. Best not to jinx it, but at the moment, all levels of government are pushing as hard as they can to get the region to safety.
5. The province is as tough as nails made of titanium
(Listen to David Guetta’s Titanium playing in the background as you read the following lines)
In the last decade alone, in addition to the monstrosity of snow that fell from the skies this year, Newfoundland has witnessed a tropical cyclone enough to take down clusters of decade old trees (2010) and a DarkNL spell only broken by the humour of ‘Mudder I’m Stuck’ (2014). Each of these have generated cool social media hashtags that chronicle in a variety of ways the resilience of the land and its people to weather any storm, pun intended. Perhaps it is passed down genetically or perhaps it’s the cold shoulder by the other Canadian sister provinces. Either way, Newfoundland has become self-reliant with its elasticity to snap back to normal nothing short of remarkable.
While it may seem, momentarily, that life on a part of the island has come to a standstill, soon, (thanks to the humour, resilient, self-reliance, the government and every single soul that worked to get Newfoundland through the storm), the rumble of traffic – seeping through the windows – will herald the arrival of normalcy. #Snowmageddon2020 & #YYTSOE will go down in the archives of social media as another testimonial to why, if the world was ending (and otherwise), Newfoundland is the place to be.
Prajwala Dixit is an Indian-Canadian engineer, journalist and writer in St. John’s, NL who writes a biweekly regional column for the SaltWire Network. When she isn't engineering ways to save the world, she can be found running behind her toddler, writing and volunteering. Follow her and reach her at @DixitPrajwala
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