Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I did manage to get out and walk in the Vancouver snow on the weekend, and while I'm not sure it was "pretty," there was at least a bleak romanticism to it.The greyness of the English Bay water has something to do with this bleakness, of course, but there's also something here of the liminality between life and death that shadows us through the deep winter days -- the margins between earth and sea here echoed by the margins between solid and liquid, snow and water. For me, and sorry to get maudlin here, but winter's cold always reminds me of death, of the fragility of life.
This is why colour and light and celebration are so important in the winter and why I was so grateful to my daughter, Megan, for hosting a cheery gathering in her Yaletown home. More of those pics later.
For now, I have to suit up (what would I do without my silk long johns?!) and trudge up to campus (given last week's events, I'm not taking the car during this latest Snowfall Warning from Weather Canada) to see if that's where I've left the missing marks I need to complete my records and get my students' grades entered. I can't believe I didn't grab them the other day, but I'm telling myself the challenge of 7 or 8 kilometres of hilly, snowy,walking will be good for me. I can pretend I'm an Olympic athlete, inspired by this 2010 Olympics rock sculpture I photographed in the English Bay snow on the weekend. I won't be convinced (or convincing) but I can pretend . . .


  1. Wow, that's some serious walking. I love being in the snow in the mountains, it's a bit less bleak (and there's the promise of skiing). But there's beauty in the bleak too...

    I think winter's bleakness is why we focus so much on festive decorations and celebrations during this time.

  2. The pictures are so beautiful. I used to love to go for snow walks. I so miss them.

    And, OMG, I would KILL for your daughters hair. The both of you create much envy is this gal with partially straight/curly/wavy hair or as I like to call my mass of a mop, schizophrenic hair.

  3. The pictures of snow look so alien to me, they could be a moonscape for all I know! I hope your students appreciate what you are about to do for them.

  4. I'm a sucker for bleak romanticism. It must be from growing up in Pittsburgh -- very bleak and industrial.

  5. Pseu: I agree with you -- festivity, colour, lights are antidotes to the bleakness of winter.
    LBR: That girl has had people crossing the street to admire her Titian-coloured curls since she was very small -- this is the first time she's had it short since forever and ever, and I think it looks great! You redheads really have the drama going on.
    Cybill: I'm not sure students appreciate anything connected with the marking process, but at least I got a good workout and I really appreciate the warmth of home now.
    Gina: Bleakness, industrialism, wintry cold . . . I think I need a Scotch! (But at least Pittsburgh got you knitting again, right?)

  6. About the hair: Like mother like daughter! Very nice on both ! About snow: Wow you have more of it than we here=none. I´m curious to how long does it stay and how cold does it usually get. Winters here have become milder..And I´m so happy about that. Not liking snow at all.

  7. Wow, love that snow, I know it is a pain for you to walk, can you not ski? Or get a big dog/s to pull you on a sled?
    Oh God, as for inputting grades I am done it was horrible.

  8. Golly, that Meg is a knockout! And is that her sister in the red scarf?

  9. Metscan: We can go through a winter with almost no snow here, but can also get quite substantial snowfalls -- we're in a high-precipitation climate, and if the temperatures on the wrong side of zero, well, we get it in the form of snow instead of rain! Right now, it's unusually cold for us. We're just finishing a second week of temperatures around 10 below (celsius) at night, and below freezing all day. With the windchill factor, we've had days of 18 below, really unusual here. We have continued cold forecast with even more snow over the next five days, so it looks as if we may have a White Christmas this year.
    Alison: Unfortunately, the x-country skiis are under the house -- I'd have to be much more motivated than I am to dig them out. But I have to admit I do enjoy walking in snow and now that I'm not obligated to be anywhere, I'm not minding it at all.
    Dana: Ah, you know how to make me happy!

  10. Oh I love the bleak sky, snow and water shot. Admittedly I have a weakness for bleak romanticism although there was no bleak industrial city in my youth. I must blame it on too much Dickens or Hugo, or both. But yes, that dreariness is only survivable by the celebrations of light and warmth and human company, an occasional scotch on a cold night helps too.

    It is a long walk in the snow, but I think I would prefer it to a that long of a walk in cold winter rain. Walking in the snow always seems to be more introspective than other times of year. I think it is the flatness of the light if it is gray, and of course the muffling of sound as well, very other-worldly, or all too worldly if you are on the other side of the snowstorm, with plows and shovels and accidents and people cursing and laughing.


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