Snow Jail


The ice was craftily camouflaged under a fresh fall of new powdery snow. I was being relatively cautious, taking small steps and checking my footing – I’ve had three falls this year that have made me very hesitant in risky conditions – but there was nothing for it. I was down before I realized it, which was probably a good thing. Nothing broken. No apparent bruises or muscular problems. I picked myself up and made my last few steps to my nephew’s apartment where he greeted me with a delicious fresh broccoli and noodle soup that he himself had made.

He’s an excellent cook and we have often shared this soup on a winter evening. He gets the lion’s share of the noodles; I get the lioness’s share of the broccoli and we are both supremely happy for this shared meal.

The next day, however, Auntie was not walking so well. Something had shifted in the back and the left foot was unreliable. The wrong move provided shooting pains. No, the foot was not broken. But something was amiss.

In the night, more snow had fallen. The temperature had gone from two Celcius to minus ten. The sidewalks had not been cleared. The previous day’s ice had melted into slush and refrozen. It was treacherous out there and I decided to just stay “home”. Home was my cousin’s place where I was staying on this holiday to Ottawa. My cousin had entertained me for one week and then had gone on to her own much deserved holiday.

My lovely nephew came by bus to visit me and we made another vegetable soup and then spent the afternoon making shortbread so that he could go home with a batch and we could leave some for my cousin.

Before he came, it left me at loose ends for a few hours. I watercoloured over two pen and ink drawings. They are not very polished, not my regular fare, but I am showing them to you anyway because it’s probably the first one I’ve done from “life” (as compared to “from photo reference”) in a such long time. Certainly it’s the first since my mother passed away a year ago, so it was a bit of a celebration once it was done and I downed a glass of mellowing Martini Rossi. It’s a start.


Then out came my camera. It’s a Sony Cybershot 12 x Optical. I love it. I’m not much of a technician and it takes care of that side of things for me. I just frame, focus and shoot.

There is a crab apple tree in my cousin’s back yard. It keeps masses of tiny apples all winter like translucent baubles on a Christmas tree. I was so impressed with it, I want one in my own back yard. The birds and squirrels feed in it during the difficult days of winter so it is an entertainment to watch them come and go. I was shooting my pictures through double paned glass. I couldn’t even open up the door to take shots because the snow was banked against the sliding door about three feet up. If I had opened it, there would be a square meter of snow in the kitchen. That being said, the images are good enough for future references for paintings.

Here’s the squirrel – very hard to catch because he moves so fast and the motion and the digital camera don’t marry well.


And here’s a robin who didn’t have sense to go south:


And the tree, itself:


And a close up of some of those berries:


So when the beautiful snow looked like this, after a Canadian snowstorm, and the ice lay treacherously below


I stayed indoors with a hot drink, my camera, a little Chopin playing on the CD player and waited for my nephew and the sunshine of my life to show.


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