Waiting at the bus stop, Masson and Papineau, December 1 2014.
December First. The last month of the year, the first days of Advent, and the countdown to winter solstice and the day that the sun turns around and starts heading back to us.
This is how it looked this morning as we went to our studio. It's not particularly cold -- hovering just above freezing -- but we wake in darkness, and the lights are still on at 8:00 am.
Morning deliveries at the corner gas station.
The beer trucks and produce and supply trucks still have to make their morning rounds to the depanneurs and couche-tard convenience stores, and they're probably very glad we don't have snow on the ground. Nevertheless, it feels awfully dark and dreary on these mornings, and one longs to stay in bed. Right now, at noon, the sun is shining brightly and I'm finally feeling more or less awake.
While waiting for J. to do an errand on the way to our studio this morning, I sat in the car and did a quick sketch of this building, complete with its typically-Montreal wrought iron balconies, on Fabre and Mont-Royal. The Christmas trees have been set out in front of businesses, and the merchants will be decorating them soon if they haven't already. All our snow has evaporated, but that is almost certainly a temporary situation!
Last week was one of the busiest for me in recent memory, ending yesterday afternoon with the annual Advent Lessons& Carols service at the cathedral, which is pretty much a musical marathon. Advent is all about "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme"/ "Sleepers wake, the voice is calling" -- or wake up, stay awake to watch for the coming of the bridegroom, as the parable goes. So we always sing some setting of that text. But the first piece we sang -- to a dark cathedral from the dimness of the high altar -- was this modern setting of the text of the traditional Advent Responsory, "Laetentur coeli/Rejoice, O Heavens". If this doesn't wake you up on a sleepy, dark winter day, nothing will! (Laetentur coeli, by William Mathias [1934-1992], performed by the East Carolina University Chamber Singers.)
Rejoice, O heavens, and be joyful, O earth. Give praise, O hills, for our lord shall come and show mercy to his humble people. There shall rise up in those days justice and abundance of peace. And he will show mercy to his people.