December 6th, 2017

Snow day...

Snow on Saturday, the sort that occurs here once in a decade: enough to cover stray bits of grass, blanket roads and blur vision. A whole morning of it, falling thick and fast. The usual dark green, bright blue and white of the countryside turned to pale blues and greys, with orange-yellow leaves from white oaks poking through, and the dark criss-cross of branches. Snow on roads, silence where cars usually zoom by. Children laughing and tumbling from their sleds, the ones they normally save for the winter holidays in the Alps. The mountain in the distance, blue-white and imposing.

As soon as the first light of the sun poked through the clouds, it started melting, little sounds like rain, poking holes in the white blanket on the side of the road. By mid-afternoon, there were just a few centimetres left on the pavement, white patches in the branches of the trees. An anomaly that quickly went away. The next few mornings, the thawed snow had hardened to brittle sheets in places, glittering with early morning lights.

By the late afternoon, there was no snow left in the streets of the city centre. A man with a heavy white beard was sitting down in a corner, singing Johnny Cash songs about New Orleans. He had a nice voice, and good rhythm, and I remembered walking through the streets of New Orleans in March once, relishing the warm wind through the trees after the winter had lingered too long in Québec. The wind in the city was still icy, though mild by Québec standards. When I gave the singer money, he thanked me with a heavy foreign accent. I wonder if he actually came from somewhere near New Orleans.