Paint it White

Baby, Baby it’s a white world here in Ottawa. Although I’m furious that my camera was too lo bat when I tried to capture the whiteness yesterday, maybe it’s just as well I didn’t.  I’m forced to make you imagine the soft and the brilliant .

When we arrived in Ottawa there was a first-class blanket of Yule snow  (“blanket” may be cliched, but it’s perfect )  minus temps and a wind that made my eyes water.The Hudson Bay Clipper whipped through my jeans, freezing my thighs and giving me pause: should I buy my first pair of leggings since 1982?  Through this I realized that my daughter’s 22 years in Chicago has been wiped clean by eight years in Southern California — her fingers twitched to call the SPCA after observing dogs going walkies sans sweater or boots. She was horrified by babies in walked by their nannies in prams — “Can that be right, Mom?”

On the twenty seventh it warmed up and rained for two days. That blanket was dissolved into a muddy mess, the California contingent was tempted  to step out in flip flops and I put the legging purchase on hold. The driveway, the front path melted down and dried up — whew! My father with his shiny new hip wasn’t forced to employ his cane’s ice blade. (Q would approve of that cane.)

Two nights ago the white came — a slow shower of soft snow on  roofs, that didn’t  stop. This snow came straight as a plumb line from the clouds, it fell and fell and fell. I went for a postprandial walk in through the soft white curtain in the dark, between the ramparts  of the  four storey Edwardian mansions on Clemow Avenue, still bedazzled with Christmas lights. It was so quiet, muffled, intimate.

Yesterday I woke to a white world. The lazy snow fell , but the sky was white and the sun didn’t shine like gold,  it glimmered like a pale opal. From the sun to the sidewalk, the world the world was wrapped in cotton wool. We collected a foot of the white stuff — the  barbeques, the roofs, the trees  lolled under a layer of quilt batting.

I dragged myself away from a crochet project, a winter hat, (more tk) and decided it was my daughterly duty to shovel the front paths. I hate shoveling because because a square foot of snow weighs as much as a holiday prime rib. But not during this fairy tale snowfall; I was hefting  thistledown, light and soft as a foot high dredging of powdered sugar.

The snow is still around, but today the sky was clear blue, it’s cold and the whipping wind made me cry. Leggings are back on the shopping list. Never mind; the Great Housekeeper in the Sky shook her pillows for a couple of days and we sunk into the soft, the quiet and the White.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Paint it White

  1. Powdered sugar, pale opals, quilt batting, soft blankets, intimate walks alone in the dark, quiet, falling flakes of feathery snow.

    Mesmerizing as watching through huge windows. I can see and feel every moment.

  2. Thanks Rachel. I would have loved to take that dark quiet glittering walk with you.

  3. Kim Shook

    Beautiful post, Maggie! Walking through that silent falling snow always makes me think of Louise Penny and the magical Three Pines.

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