In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.
Fort Montgomery, on the western side of Lake Champlain near Rouse's Point, built at one of the northernmost strategic points of the American part of the lake, to protect against an attack from British Canada (1840s-1870s.)
Snow drifts, eastern side of Lake Champlain near Rouse's Point.
Well, this is how it is right now! We can dream about summer, but there's hardly a decent tomato to be found, and lettuce is selling for $3 - $4 a head.
We only got the tail end of the snowstorm that hit Boston, and I'm glad for some fresh whiteness to cover the soggy grey. This is the long slog now, through February. So far, I'm coping all right. The key for me is to get enough light (our studio is really bright all day and it helps so much), keep busy, see friends, be amused at the absurdity of living in this climate, and indulge in a few treats now and then -- fresh raspberries today for our breakfast.
We attended a Christmas Day service at St. Paul's Cathedral in London, many years ago, and as soon as it finished, one of the ushers (formally called "sidesmen"), in a red waistcoat, stood in the center aisle and began -- in a quite rude and perfunctorial way -- to shoo people out. A woman in front of us was still looking around and lingering and he bent from the waist, hands behind his back, looked down his nose, and intoned, "I am sorry, Madame...Christmas Is Over!" and then turned on his heel and strode off. We were both horrified and sort of amused by his manner, and the phrase has become one of those repeated lines in our house.
Individual Montrealers, as well as city neighborhoods responsible for the main thoroughfares and shopping streets, tend to leave their trees and lights up longer than we used to; the lights cheer us all up during the dark days of January. We took our tree down last weekend, and the house is back to normal, but I wish we'd put up outdoor lights that could be left on for a few more weeks. The city comes around and picks up the trees on certain, pre-announced days, and then chips them for mulch that's used on public gardens, and distributed to community gardens like ours. Still, I always find the discarded trees rather forlorn but photogenic, in the alleys and on the curbs.
Rue de Lanaudière, 7:30 am. The picture doesn't show the wind that was howling around the buildings at the time. Today is warmer than it's been: about -10 C when we left the house. A heat wave! Yesterday it was -25. Even so, people are riding their bikes, and going around without hats on. Complètement fou.
This is a "brigadiere scolaire": a crossing guard. Her sign says "ARRÈT," and she holds it aloft when helping school children cross the street. The reflective vest is important: it's still pretty dark and low-contrast in early morning, and when the kids come home from school in mid-afternoon.
Underneath that snow is a solid coating of ice. The snow has made it a little easier to walk, but it's also deceptive. Driving is hazardous. I can only imagine how difficult it is right now for the elderly and people with disabilities. Just before I took this picture, a tractor came up the sidewalk pulling a trailer spreading road salt. The salt helps some, but it can also create water that simply freezes again.
In case you're curious, that vertical structure above is the machine where you pay for parking. They all have solar panels on the top: not too effective when covered with snow!
There was an ice storm a few days ago, setting the trees glittering and clattering, and making it nearly impossible to walk. Fortunately the ice came off quickly and the wind wasn't violent, or there would be many more trees down than there were, but the result has been a concrete-like snow, covered by frozen rain, that cemented parked cars in place, and is so rock-like that it challenges even the heaviest snow-removal equipment. Yesterday was bitter cold. Today is warmer, but it's as if we're living in a black-and-white film. I find it quite beautiful, but my patience will begin to wear thin after another couple of weeks. Meanwhile, I have stretch crampons on my boots, and pick my way across the ice fields.