Snow, look and listen


Night snow, as light as a floating white whale

turning and drifting over the city.

And in the white-sky morning light

heavy as Moby Dick on the spiral steps

of a hundred thousand Montreal walk-ups.

Now, slide down, fall down, shuffle or wade around, bow boughs

of great trees.

Snow falls light as a word, a breath

yet once fallen, what weight, not to be recalled.

Its purity, it’s white weight truth must be managed.

Hear the muffled roar of the plough

manoeuving and struggling to shift

the soft amorphous stuff

now in the grey-sky morning light with

its city-soiled peaks of frozen slush,

little grey Andes built by desperate morning motorists

shovelling, sweating, cursing, even helping each other

to free their cars from the soft cold blanket of snow.

Snow, following the curve of a railing or the links of a fence

or coldly disguising, obliterating the stones in the cemetery

so that I stumbled, waded my way down the wrong row.

The cold stuff of pious prayer slipping into my boot.

And the crash of icicles pulling away from a second storey balcony.

The mailman, his eye on his footing and on the overhang

thinks it is a good day. . . to look . . . at snow.

I promised you these

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A shame it was a white sky day in Montreal yesterday. I cannot imagine how much longer the snow will stay on branches around here. Already simple evaporation and the weight of the snow is changing the strange sculptures we see around us. These pictures certainly would have been more spectacular with a blue sky but, there you are, sometimes we have to take what we can get. I love the old red stone mansion, high on the hill with its guardian fir trees and I included the spectacular overhang at the police station up on Mount Royal. That is enough to discourage me from going in. The whole roof snow -cover had slid down, hung the wind-formed icicles and now is suspended about two feet over the main entrance. The Narnia road shot is from the top reaches of the cemetery. I went to place an evergreen decoration and had to wade through knee -deep snow, floundering about in the almost obliterated markers until I found the right stone. A good day to look at snow.


Lawren Harris trees

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We had a heavy snowfall here three days ago. Because the snow was wet and heavy and because we have had little wind, it has settled on trees, wires, poles in a very beautiful way. The way the city looks reminded me of some paintings of Lawren Harris, a Group of Seven artist. I love the way the coniferous trees carry the burden of this strangely persistent snow. Driving around town today I saw some spectacular overhangs from the roofs of buildings too. I drove over the mountain and was rewarded with some spectacular sights of branches and twigs weighed down with snow. I will try to get some images of that tomorrow. Of course, beauty that spectacular  exacts a toll.


Christmas cactus


Every year this plant bursts into bloom just before Christmas. I have owned it for many years. Perhaps you can see from the picture that it lives in an old bucket, not a fancy flower pot. Every spring I put it out into the back yard and neglect it for many months. It is the last plant to be watered because I rationalize that it is a succulent after all and it doesn’t need that much water. I leave it out until the last minute and it responds well to a slight frost, forming the tiny pink buds that soon burst into these spectacular blooms. I would be very sorry if anything were to happen to this plant. It has some gnarled, ungainly stems but the sight of those elaborate blooms all over the plant lifts my spirits. It’s like an old, homely friend that has a flash of true beauty just when you need it. Just when I need it.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Sweet Little Lies.”

interesting, i just submitted a short story to Glimmertrain on just this subject.  My protagonist has a moment when she must choose whether or not to lie. . . .

The practicalities of snow


Ah, and after the enchantment, the magic, the joy evoked by the first snow storm, comes . . . . the issue of parking. For two days I have been getting around by public transportation and leaving my little red car safe in her increasingly snow-encumbered spot outside my house. Yesterday after helping a lady who had decided to postpone putting on her snow tires get out of her spot, I swapped places and felt very smug. We had shovelled and salted a good exit route. All was well.

When I got home, I found that the city had posted for snow cleaning. I had to move before 7 am. Now, I could wait and see what spots opened up on the un posted side of my own street as people went off to work, but, being the early bird I am, I tooled around and found a nice legal spot a block away. Good enough for me!

The image shows my neighbour. He’s a guy over 70 who decided to dig his own legal spot right across the street from where he is parked right now. I prefer to take my chances over shovelling wet snow for half an hour. Of course, it does raise the problem of who ” owns” the shovelled-out spot. I’ve seen a couple of ugly incidents when two circling motorists spotted the same opportunity. Certainly this morning I pulled an illegal u-turn in the middle of an intersection to get my safe harbour. Well, it was very early, after all. I have a feeling my neighbour will not be happy to see any other car in his little alcove over the next day or so. So, hurry up City of Montreal and plough both sides of the street.

Maybe my friend who moved to Mexico had the right idea!

Snow Bike


Speeding along in summer and in the breezy haze
Of autumn colors, golden leaves flung up
By your spinning wheels.
Did you dream, in a shredded feather dream
Of your fixed immobility on this street-light lit night?
I think not.  I think you flew along in the
Zen moment of rolling the kilometers under your two wheels.
And now your two wheels are under
The light turned to heavy
The sprite turned to statue
The speed turned to solid
This too a Zen moment but something you did not expect
But it was made for you, snow bike