Montreal is supposed to get its first snow storm tonight. At about 2 am everything will suddenly appear to stop as a thick silence falls upon the city.
In the morning if you are lucky and open the door before the monster snow clearing truck passes you’ll be greeted by a white carpet strewn street, branches tipped with the weight of snow, cars shrouded in white, a low white sky. All will be quiet and quite beautiful. Once the monster truck passes and disturbs the peace the scene will be transformed into one of messy black and white chaos. Cars will have 5 feet of snow pressed against their sides making it near impossible to dig out, the once pristine road will now be rough and brown, all soft feathered snow pushed angrily to the side. People will open doors and crossly stomp towards their cars, shovels brandished at their sides. Children will stiffly walk down stairs so tightly squeezed into boots, gloves and hats that they look like petrified mummies.
I hate the cold. I hate winter. I love snow.
I spent 13 years scraping, digging and shoveling my self out of the snow. There is nothing quite as long or disheartening as a cold winter city. A Montreal winter lasts 5 months. Once a year, maybe twice if we were lucky we got a chance to go away for a few days to the country where the snow was white and soft and very very clean. Best of all the place was absolutely silent. There is no silence in the world like a place blanketed in thick snow. Trees dip mournfully to the ground bearing the weight of weeks of snow and since no monster trucks ever pass by, the snow piles up window ledge high.
On those weekends we fall in love with winter all over again. We lie on our backs laughing and tossing snow into the air and we ski or toboggan or skate. Normally the children don’t come inside unless they are very hungry. They even play in the dark. We warm up by the fire place and sip tea until the tea turns to wine. We eat huge meals and play toasty scrabble. We stuff hot water bottles into the foot of our beds and listen to the silence as we fall asleep.
These are the winter memories I pull together but I know that unless we move to the Canadian country side that bucolic version of winter will ring false. It is waking up an hour early to shovel and braving the steep city hills slippery with snow that would prove my reality. I would rarely go outside and sit in my house grumpy and anxious for the hell of winter to pass.
Time to go to the beach.