Montreal is cold. It can plummet to degrees of coldness here that would easily rival the Arctic. Streets become covered in icy slates of slippery death. The trees shrivel of all color and stand as frigid, lifeless skeletons of nature–black and haunting. Montreal is swallowed up by a cape of white and no other color emerges but the graying fog that fills the skies, and the occaisonal purple scarf peaking out from under the heavy winter jacket of a rosy-faced schoolgirl walking back home from the bus stop, muddling across the slushy pavement.
I’ve never been a winter person. Raised in Kuwait, my flesh has always longed for the warm beam of sunlight that penetrates through my blue window-shade every morning. In Montreal, no sun penetrates through my window-shade.
But, sometimes, I look out the window at the stark ocean of whiteness and a warmth radiates in the soles of my feet. I’m moved by the overwhelmingly freezing touch of the window-pane to make a cup of warm tea. I am moved to cuddle up in bed and read Paul Auster’s ‘The Invention of Solitude.’ I am moved to seek out the tiny movements of life that lovingly peek their heads out at the world despite the cold and the lifelessness and the whiteness of Montreal on this winter day.
And whenever I spot the fleeting yellow of a moving school bus, see the shadow of a small girl’s pink parka running across the snow, or hear a dog barking with such forceful glee at being outside despite the whips of freezing wind, I am, for a brief second, a lover of winter and all that it brings.
The surprising jolts of life that push their way through the cruel and graying air make me smile. I’m not sure why, but they make me hopeful. Hopeful of what, I can’t say.
Montreal is cold. Montreal is not Kuwait. But Montreal is the most beautiful in the snow.