Monday, December 3, 2007


I woke up this morning inside a snow globe. How is it possible for the sky to ever drop enough of those minuscule flakes to so completely envelop the world? How many snowflakes fell last night and all throughout the day? It must be an impossible number.
When it snows this much it always makes me think of The Long Winter and all of the other Little House books. I can remember reading them, from a place where snow is rare and never copious, and finding it hard to truly envision a storm so bad that you have to tie a rope from the front door to your waist so that you don't get lost walking to the barn and back. Not that Montreal is Wisconsin in the 1800s or anything. Still. I should maybe be over Quebec/Ontario winters by now, this will be my 7th one out here after all... but I do not seem to be. I am always thrilled at the beginning of the season, like today, just so in awe of the way it keeps piling up and up and up, the way the world is transformed into an image like the one above by Bill Bell (titled, appropriately enough, December Snow), the way a whole row of parked cars can disappear into a snow-bank overnight ... the way it all has to be plowed, scooped up and trucked out of the city. (Where do they take it? The river?)
Earlier tonight I went downtown for class and I wrote a little on a scrap of paper I had handy:
"I am sitting by the window of a 2nd floor cafe and looking out at the city. I am in the heart of the shopping district so it is bustling and glittering out there. The building across the street has greenery framing the store-front windows, twined throughout with red and gold baubles, so gaudy that they are actually rather festive. Snow skims the lamp posts, carried on the breath of winter, throwing itself on rolling drifts below."
It always takes a few trips out to the bus-stop to remember the unique challenges of traveling short distances after heavy snows. It all depends on whether or not the sidewalks have been plowed. You may be walking in a glittery trough, between yards piled high on one side and car-sized snow mounts on the other. This is the best case scenario. If they haven't been plowed then you either have the choice of plunging into the mashed-potato snow half-way up your shins or else taking your chances walking in the road. If you don't want snow-crusted pants you will likely go with option two. Which is fine on a clear day, but if it is still blowing snow then you will not be able to open your eyes. But you might do it anyway, because the sidewalks are impassible, especially when the plows for the road use them as dumping grounds. And there you are... walking down the middle of an icy street with your eyes closed. lol.
But I digress... here I am almost complaining. This is still the time of year when the snow delights me. I far prefer this to the frigid cold, and I have been told that this winter will be colder by far than most. Eeeep.
I think my favorite time to walk through the snow is at night. This evening, thankfully, the sidewalks to my door had been plowed. The snow had blown back across them, making a rippling pathway that made me think of a sandy beach. It is cold enough that the snow squeaks a bit underfoot, and it glitters as you pass under the lamp-light.

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