This picture is for my friend Leslee in Boston, who writes, "The snow here is all bunched up (and dirty) between buildings, as I imagine it is in Montreal." Yes, you're quite right, Leslee. Today is still frigid - minus 14C - but I did go out to Little Italy and the Jean-Talon market yesterday to do some shopping, and managed to take my gloves off long enough to take this photograph. It was OK in the sun, but the wind was straight from the arctic and very strong, blowing my furry hood off my head whenever I turned to face it and sending clouds of dry light snow whirling off the roofs of buildings.
Some of us are still pouting, curled up in wool and fleece...
But others, like me, are starting to feel the pull of outdoors and the increasing intensity and healing power of the sunlight. The lack of light up here is really no joke. Canadian are all urged to take Vitamin D because we tend to be deficient simply by virtue of our latitude, and a lot of people suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and are helped by special lamps. Nearly everybody is affected one way or the other by the sheer length of the winters, let alone the extreme cold like we've had this year. I just begin to go stir-crazy with what we always called cabin fever in New England, and no matter what, I have to get outside and moving. I miss downhill skiing, and wish my knees had held up so that I could have continued!
But in the studio, our plants are clearly telegraphing the message of lengthening days:
That's not just a forest of avocado plants, but a batch of cherry tomatoes that came up from seed that must have been hiding in the planter, a gift from my gardening friend Eric F. back in October, and are now spilling over. I've thinned them and am pinching them back. On the left, the four-year-old lantana is bushy and vigorous after I cut it way back around Christmas. On the right is a geranium I rescued from a neighboring studio after they moved, along with this massive cactus:
And the bougainvillea is still pumping out its gorgeous blooms, delighting me up every morning when I walk into the studio...
...and reminding me that soon, I'll be here:
And when we return, it really will be almost-spring.
How are you holding up, if you're in the north? And if you're in a warmer climate, what are your first signs of spring?