Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Storm Watch

overcast, temps minus 15


It went down to minus 30 yesterday!

As you can see, we Canadians are fixated by the weather - or at least this Canadian is. There's a saying that history is geography spread over time. I believe it. Especially here in Quebec City where geography determined the founding of the settlement (its where the St Lawrence narrows and so is easy to defend - and its on top of a cliff so you can see down the river for miles...you can see the future.)

But geography also decides climate. And as Canadians we are defined by our climate. Oddly, not at all limited by it. We can grow everything we need, as long as we don't need bananas. And the snow actually makes getting around easy. We have ice highways and ice bridges. Some communities that are extremely difficult to get to any other time of the year become accessible in winter - by dog sled or now, by skidoo.

Indeed, the unofficial anthem of Quebec is by a wonderful, wizened Quebec chansonier/poet named Gilles Vigneualt...he wrote...Mon Payes C'est l'Hiver. My Country is Winter.

I think about these things today in this glorious city of Quebec because there're weather warnings out all over the place. For a country and city so steeped in weather this is unusual. Storms come and go all the time almost without comment. So this might be a
doozy (a word Monsieur Vigneault has yet to use in any of his poems). Mon payes n'est pas un floozy - Elle est vraiment un doozy.

This poetry stuff ain't so hard.

I'll let you know tomorrow about the blizzard. It's supposed to hit today. We'll be inside our old stone home, reading page proofs for the next book and research books on Champlain for another, sitting in front of the fire with the ubiquitous hot water bottles and coffee. In a home that's seen worse than whatever is coming our way.

Be well - I'll talk to you tomorrow, mon ami.

3 comments:

humble.pie said...

cold transmis par louise generates a warm, smoky ambience.

cambridge was smoky and stately. stained glass, rich reds, purple, gold, royal colours. banquets, lords and ladies, ancient leather-bound manuscripts.

quebec city in winter vue par louise is smoky too but it's rougher. sparks flying up chimneys, blinding sun, blue skies, icicles, smoked fish, pitched roofs, glittering snowflakes, charred logs smouldering in grates, red-cheeked racers shouting as they drag canoes over the dangerous early ice.

good luck with the history buff tomorrow. but you don't want to tell us too much about the future novel, the suspense of not knowing is exquis, sublime. could i ask you a favour, though. please don't even think of putting that tourist cliché the ice hotel into the book.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Hum,

OK, now I must steal all your writing and put it in the book - you are wonderful!!! Your images are divine - and perfect...and I am in awe. Thank you for evoking so beautifully this city and this experience.

humble.pie said...

i'd be extremely honoured. to see any words uplifted.