Tuesday, December 31, 2013

After the freeze

After the freeze, a thaw. Rain. Fog. Gusts of wind rattle the frost-bitten branches, toss chunks of ice to the ground. We crush them underfoot. And now another freeze, a breath-stopping chill that icicles your eyelashes. This is the way we will face the new year: swaddled in layers, our cheeks stinging with cold, breath turning to frost as soon as it strikes our scarves.

Last night I dream that everything in my office is burning; there is nothing we can do but get out before the roof collapses. All of my papers, my notebooks, the photos and the books are consumed by flames. In my dream, my only regret concerns the notebooks from last summer, from the trip to Alaska; I've not managed to make anything from them yet. I reach for them, and they whirl apart into cinders. We race from the building, dodge falling beams, and finally stand outside looking up into the night sky. Flames shoot through the roof; we are deafened by the blazing fire.

Suppose indeed, nothing were to be left?
Nothing? What of your memory?

Okay, nothing but my memory.
And the possibilities of imagination.

Yes, that too.
What then?

We'd start over again then, I guess.
Or tell new stories.

And what if you were to begin anyway now?

Even without a conflagration?
Yes, even without a conflagration.

I don't know if I could.
You mean you don't know if you could want to.

What is old is new again.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Fire and ice

Two nights after Christmas. We are somnolent and turkey-stuffed. The booming draws us to the windows, the flashing lights keep us there. Fireworks! With each explosion, the snow covering Lac Brome lights up. The colours are something out of Breughel, bonfires beyond the trees. The frozen world glitters in the sudden light.

Friday, December 27, 2013

These last dark days

Snow on ice the day after Christmas. We go for a walk and everything is quiet; just one car passes on the road. Our boots crunch against the cold snow; a spring burbles up out of the earth and rushes, ice free, beneath the trees. Silence: the snow has muffled the tinkling of the ice covered branches as the trees sway under their heavy loads. All day we are in twilight. And then night falls, and with it more snow.