Sunday, January 4, 2015

winter in Montreal / Alpine memories

Snow overnight followed by ice. Living here, you've got to love the four seasons. Otherwise this climate would depress you. I didn't get out till the afternoon and wouldn't have dared go out at all if a friend hadn't reminded me of spikes.
Somewhere in a closet I had spikes too--studded rubber thingies you wrestle over your boots. They're not pretty and every step grinds if you walk across a floor, but they keep you upright.  
The snow had a crust. The sidewalks were ice. The trees... poor trees. Sirens from one direction then another. People shovelling snow and trying to thump the ice off their car windows.

My Alpine forebears wore spikes to be able to scythe hay off steep mountain slopes. I've stayed in the old Zorn house that was built in the 1700s: timbered walls, built-in benches, a central stove for heating, barn attached--because animals give off heat and in the winter heat is more important than hygiene, which no one was thinking about back then.

The wood floors were pocked with holes my grandmother said had been made by the spikes her grandfather-in-law refused to take off when he walked into the house. Too much trouble.

Does he look like a man who gave a damn about floors?
I don't know when this picture was taken. He died in 1931. His mouth isn't sagged because he had a stroke. He had chronic Pipe-Mouth.  

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