I love winter!
It seems to amuse people no end that I go in to work on a day like today exclaiming at what a beautiful day it is; -18, with wind-chill taking it to more like –25, but gloriously bright and sunny. What’s the problem, as long as you dress for it? There is something extraordinarily comforting and, in a strange way, sensual about downy coats and soft-furred hats.
I love the brightness of snow-light – Paul looked out of the window as he shut the blinds the other night and commented that, with the street and Christmas lights reflecting off the snow, it was almost as bright as a dark English day. In sunshine, it is dazzling.
I love the sharpness of the air against my face, a dry cold that invigorates and makes me feel very alive. When the temperature rises to near freezing I am reminded of the damp, English cold that I so disliked and wish for the mercury to fall again!
I love snow, in all its forms; diamond dust-devils that dance, dipping and diving and swirling; the powdered ice that skin-scours my face as the fast train speeds through the station; the feathers, floating freely, unhurriedly wafting; mesmeric mosquito motes that float on seemingly still air; crystalline glitter, dusting the days with magic.
Whether it swirls or hangs on the air, there is a meditative quality about falling snow that combines with the other-worldliness of the light and the deadening of sound to create something mystical – if you stop long enough to notice it.
Snow has its own special sounds, too; I knew it could crunch, perhaps even that it might creak as it slid from a roof, but I didn’t know that sometimes it squeaks scrunchily underfoot. And then there’s the inimitable sound of skates shearing ice . . .
As we enter February, I am anticipating with some sense of loss the closure of the outdoor rinks at the end of the month. My evening walk from the station has already shifted from darkness to light. There is a part of me that wants to hold onto winter (better keep that to myself!), whilst another part of me awaits the new excitement of spring planting, the langourous beach-days of high summer, the richly painted landscapes of fall . . .
And then it will be winter again.
(For more photos of Toronto in winter, see our Winter gallery – the best way to view these is to click into an image and then find the arrow at the right-hand side that allows you to proceed through the collection. Currently we are having problems re-setting the thumbnails!)