Santa hangs over our town’s canal, atop a white reindeer, and he is in trouble.
When he was first strung across the Suze (not Suez) Canal that runs through the centre of our town, he was a good 20 feet above the water.
Not any more. Wind gusts of up to 150 km/h, the marker of Storm Joachim, arrived last night, bringing with it a good gulp of rain. The canal waters are up, Santa’s reindeer is tilting nose down toward the rising water and any kids who believe in Santa would have their nerves rattled to see both him, and their gifts, in such peril.
In a rare move, the Swiss have cancelled boat travel on Lake Geneva. Meanwhile, a train struck a fallen tree, injuring 12 passengers, but not too bad. It raises the question of why trains don’t have seat belts.
No other reports of devastation have come in, but Joachim reminds the Swiss of the 1999 Boxing Day storm, Lothar, which uprooted mature trees and chucked them in the air, as much as 80 metres high, forester Forester Jakob Zaugg told a local news site.
10 years later, he says the storm was good for Switzerland’s forests, which were becoming, gasp, too old, rendering them unstable. The storm weeded out the dangerous trees and now Switzerland has an abundance of new growth. Zaugg should not visit Canada’s west coast where asserting there is such a thing as a tree being “too old” is like advocating euthanasia at a conference of Catholic Bishops. It would not fly.
But lots is flying around here – branches, signs, umbrellas. Being a Canadian, I was out enjoying the storm. The Swiss think I am crazy, but I do it for Canada’s national security. One of the primary reasons no one bothers to invade Canada is our legendary weather, which they believe has our ground in a suspended state of permafrost.
This is okay with me. It’s cheaper than ramping up our armaments, but it comes with a solemn duty on the part of all ex-pat Canadians, and that is to go out in the worst weather possible, greet people with a happy smile and exclamations over what a beautiful day it is. They can only conclude that if hurricane-force winds are a refreshing breeze to Canadians, then they don’t want to see what our weather is like on a bad day.
As the saying goes: There’s no better national defense than a good offensive weather report. Or something like that. We can keep Canada all to ourselves.