It’s deepest, darkest winter. Technically it’s not the darkest winter; that went by a month ago and I am starting to notice the longer days and I'm grateful for that. But it’s deepest, darkest winter in that there are months of it behind us and months ahead. This past week we’ve been in a big freeze. And while winter walks usually feel good with cheeks glowing healthy pink and the hearty inhalation of great gobs of oxygen, recent blustery days have made it really unpleasant to be out.
I’m actively not complaining about the cold. In other parts of this province and most of my country it’s much colder than it is here. My Australian friends are enduring the worst heat wave they’ve ever had. In a cold snap you can make yourself more comfortable; in a heat wave there are only so many clothes you can take off. Cold is invigorating; heat is energy sapping.
In winter I miss the light more than anything. These days the subtle progress of daylight’s lingering over the street feels like a blessing; I want to reach out and grab it but the million colours of twilight elude me as exit the work day, moving westward ahead as I walk toward home. I miss the explosion of colours in the other seasons; winter's twilight is a jewel on the mostly monotone landscape.
The light has gone when I get home. I turn on the stove light, all my life a symbol of comfort. A symbol of the best thing about deepest, darkest winter – how good it feels to get home.
Lovely Sunday morning and there's a fair bit of loafing around, reading, making luscious breakfast, I mean brunch, editing photos and eventually getting showered to go out and catch up with the Santa Claus parade making its way down toward St. Lawrence market. As it happens, my fault, we don't get out the door in time and as we walk down Wellington Street, we find a lot of families heading home and what looks like a massive advertisement for Tim Horton's plastered all over the street. If what Tim's is advertising is garbage.
The crowds are a little less charming after the parade than they might be during the parade and it's a relief to duck into the cozy and quiet little Cést What for some fine ale and snack of warm cheese with carmelized onions, and warm pretzels and broccoli for dipping.
Later we walk home in the twilight and I'm thinking the colour of that sky is more beautiful than any old parade float any day.
I wasn't as enchanted with this rainy day as I often am because it was windy as hell. I bent my umbrella this morning just trying to hang onto the thing, and I won't even mention what my hair looked like when I got to work. It was still kind of nasty on my way back after work, so I walked underground as far as the CBC Broadcast Centre. When I emerged the dusk was beautifully reflected in the shiny street.
"Themey" postscript to that post just below.
Rick Danko, here at the twilight of his life, beautiful thing number fifty-eight.
A few minutes ago, feeling unproductive and tired, as I usually do in late afternoon, I go into the kitchen at the office and peel an orange, which I hope will revive me somewhat, and appease the onset of hunger over my journey home.
As I’m sectioning the fruit, I look out at the snow-covered picnic table on the rooftop patio and find a most gorgeous indigo cast to it and filling the atmosphere as far as I can see. I can’t see that far – the sky is heavily overcast – the Toronto skyline, the thing I usually look at from this window, has disappeared.
Whatever light is getting through those clouds to the landscape around me is reflecting on the layer of snow and creating this rich, velvety blue. The houses and trees below are black shadows against it; and the glow from the streetlights has muted to soft incandescent spots, looking as they might in a cheesy scene on a Christmas card.
I stand there and eat my orange and watch that colour, because I know it will be gone in a few minutes.
I love to watch how the light changes, particularly in early mornings and at twilight time. To see the subtle change in the light and the movement of the colours it paints is, to me, bearing witness to the magic of this planet. Stopping to watch the light change causes me to slow down my thoughts, and just exist in tandem with the rhythm of the universe for a few moments. And that’s as reviving as anything.