I felt the soft crunching beneath my soles. With every careful and calculated step, so as not to slip and fall flat on my face, little white pebble-like clumps flew in all directions and seemed to cleared the path before me. Behind me, was a visible trail of footprints. For a while, or at least until the next snowstorm, I can trace where I have been, and remind myself where I came from. Sometimes in the midst of the ups and downs of life, that knowledge somehow offers comfort and consolation.
The temperature was warm for a change; warm compared to the extreme chills we have experienced in the past week. Water droplets gently slid off the tender needles of tall pine trees. On the smooth blanket of snow were marks bearing where the water droplets bombarded the earth. There was hardly any wind. Lifting my hood, I let the refreshingly cold breath of nature brush against my cheeks, and felt my spirits lifted.
Within the span of a week, snow has been dumped all over the land in quantities far exceeding the forecast. In certain areas, snow has accumulated up to my waist, and throughout the city plough trucks and crews have been busy day and night to clear to roads and pavements. Little mounds of ploughed, dirty snow rest in parking lots like little mountains that have suddenly emerged out of nowhere.
After a long week of work and study, the weekend is a wonderful time to take walks around Montreal’s many green (and in winter, white) parks. Parc Angrignon*, only ten minutes away from where I live, is a huge wooded area criss-crossed with paths for bikers and walkers, and offers a welcome escape, whatever season of the year. In winter, when everything is covered with snow, the paths double as routes for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
I took a nice long walk through the park, and admired how the change of season brought on such a dramatic change of landscape. The tranquil lake that was full of dancing reeds, fish and geese is now covered with snow, making it indistinguishable from everything else. I dared not step on the lake, but as winter deepens, it is only a matter of time when I can just hike onto the shield of ice and to reach little islands that before seemed so remote.
Grasping a handful of snow, I rolled it into a ball and chucked it into the distance, watching it explode into countless confetti as it landed. The sound of children playing filled the air and mingled with the excited laughter of young couple engaged in a snow fight. The smooth, soft snow was irresistible, and I let go and fell on my back with a gentle thud. With spread arms, I flapped around in the snow and gave birth to my first snow-angel of the year. Three snowmen, huddled together like three wise men, watched on and smiled beautifully.
Even in winter, there is a lot of fun and warmth to be had.
* Parc Angrignon is located at the western terminus of the Green Line on the metro. 5 minutes from the park is Carrefour Angrignon, one of the largest shopping malls in Montreal that is easily accessible by public transportation, and only 20 minutes from downtown.