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Exactly 25 Years and Three Months Ago…
January 5, 1998, I was quite pregnant with my eldest (he would arrive March 31 – almost three weeks late). And our world froze. For some, there was no electricity for over three weeks. For us, it ended up being over two weeks.
My sister Lisa chose to haul her three toddlers up to my mother’s, because, even though she had no electricity either, they were better equipped to handle things. Plus, misery in company always goes a long way.
My sister Tracy was also pregnant with her eldest (arrived May 28) and, living next to the refineries, was only without power for less than 24 hours so we were invited to stay with them, bringing our dog, Chakotay, along. We had just bought a quarter cow and half a pig so there was meat galore… Iain and Nicolas definitely were not lacking in iron! Sébastien told us that we were welcome to bunk with them any time if it meant eating like kings like that! We ended up burying lots of it in the snow and ice and lost nothing. My houseplants did not fare so well. Every last one of them froze to death.
Unfortunately, I did not venture out to take my own pictures of that crazy time. There were no risks to take. We ended up staying with my sister and her hubby for two weeks, in all.
Fast forward twenty-five years and three months to the day.
On Wednesday morning, April 5, 2023, I had a job interview at 11:00. It had started raining just before I left – a freezing rain. By the time I got out of the interview, around 11:30, this was the state of the cars in the parking lot.
After scraping off my windows (quite a sight, surely) while trying to hold my umbrella and finally deciding “screw that!” and shoving it in the car, I caught my breath, drove the five minutes home and was ever grateful for my garage because no way was I leaving my car out in that!
Before closing the garage door, I had to take this. My goodness, not an hour of rain had created this!
Just before 1:00 pm, I stuck my camera through my back and front doors to capture these:
Around 4 pm, I heard “BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!” and the lights went out. Surely they were transformers blowing up left, right and centre. Crap. I was pulled back to the windows then, and again later, to get more shots. It was so impressive to watch the ice accumulate.
The lights came back on five minutes later and I sighed in relief. Made myself a lovely pasta supper and enjoyed my date night. Till 8 pm. And that was it. Lights out.
I woke up to still no power and was grateful I had already filled up my wood bin so I got a good fire going. Then I was grateful that I insisted I get myself a gas stove so was able to make myself coffee and breakfast.
I decided to go for a morning walk, to capture the results of this crazy weather phenomenon before it all melted away. I was not disappointed. The frozen branches, the unfortunate broken ones lying all over the place (nothing compared to the pictures I saw of Montreal), the fog. It was all surreal.
As I was photographing the trees (it is SO hard to choose which ones to share) I heard a splash. Darn! I missed the landing of this lovely couple!
I just wish the day was not so grey. Then again, if it had been sunny, I would have had nothing to photograph! And this would not have popped quite in the same manner.
I was walking through one of my favourite parks to run through, on my way to my friend Linda’s to catch up, see if she was also without power and if she needed anything. Her neighbour and neighbour’s neighbour suffered damages to their trees.
After chatting with Linda for a bit, and helping her bring in some wood, I left her to enjoy her book and returned home.
It’s crazy. As I was returning home, through the same park, I was struck by the sounds. Just so you know, this is NOT rain!
Of course, I did not dilly-dally under any branches during the filming; nor during my walk! There were no chances to take! As I turned towards home, the fog really came in.
Hard to believe that by my 3:00 pm run, there was not a single sign of the ice from that very morning. (And I was still without power.)
Was happy to go to my sister Tracy’s and brother-in-law’s for supper, along with my mother (hardly ran out of power) and my sister, Lisa (whose power had come back) and her hubby. Just before returning home, we checked the Hydro-Quebec site and it showed that power had been restored in my home. Hallelujah!
Way to end this saga! (To this date, there are still people without power. What in the blessed hell is up with that?)
I know I went a little overboard with the photo exposé and I thank you for sticking with me to the end! I just had to share this with you all. (And, this is just a small sample of the 200+ photos I took!)
I’ve decided on a walk towards a favourite park, La Freyère, it is called. I know I’ve shared it before. It always offers something more. To give myself more distance to walk and take in the beautifully crisp day, I park about one kilometre away. This gives me my first glimpse of the St. Lawrence and the huge
houses mansions (some owned by celebrities) along the way on the river side and large fields across from them.
I decide to enter through the parking lot of the now torn-down La Saulaie restaurant. It was THE place to dine, dressed in one’s finery, to nosh on the fanciest of meals with the best of wines. It is now part of the park annexed to La Freyère.
I cross the double bridge (sorry, I cannot help but photograph it from all angles!), cut through the park and cross the boulevard, towards the Stephen-Langevin Arboretum. Maybe I will be lucky and capture some birds. However, not thirty feet in, I am surprised by the presence of a few deer. I know many cross the river from the islands right across from the park, but I had never been so lucky before.
Content with what I have seen, I decide to walk along, where there are less people and I can feel one with my surroundings.
It is officially spring, according to the calendar, but here in the woods, you would not know it. Snow covers the paths, a (mostly) firm walkway created by the regular visitors of this park, but if you step off said path, can easily sink past your ankles. It’s deeper in the non-trampled parts.
The sun, like fool’s gold, shines brightly and blinds me, but offers no substance. Not much, anyway. Standing perfectly still, protected by the woods, face upturned, there is a soupçon of heat. I am amazed how powerful that limited heat is and how much snow it can melt despite the freezing temperatures.
I walk on, enjoying the silence that is broken by the honking of returning geese. They pass overhead in twos or larger groups, raising a ruckus, announcing their presence. “We’re back! We’re back!” So many people hate them because of the mess they leave on lawns, in parks, etc. but I just cannot. They are beautiful, albeit often nasty, creatures. I look forward to seeing them with their babies, all fuzzy and adorable. But that is not yet.
For now, I am in the moment, eyes looking up, in hopes of finding an owl or falcon, though it seems not my destiny to find them without someone else pointing them out! So matter. I trudge on, admiring the play of light on the maple seeds and the criss-crossing of branches of trees I cannot name, notice the colours of the various grasses, mixed in with the red dogwood (I think?).
Past an open field, I approach more woods and what looks like a secret passage. It’s magical – to be perceived as your imagination sees fit, of course. Depending on the light, it could appear more sinister…
Exiting my hidden path, I walk along the sparkly creek, that brings me to the edge of the woods.
And this beautiful view
I chose to return along the outside path which winds its way through the trees, so that will have looped the whole arboretum. And let me tell you, it is a chilly one. The field is to my right and I can feel the wind stinging my face as I walk back. I try to pick up the pace but as you can see, the path is rather narrow. Must be careful!
I crossed back over the boulevard and into the La Freyère park so I can take a short walk to the St. Lawrence. It is beautiful in every season and with some snow and sun? I’m sure to get a few more pics. (Hopefully you’re not bored yet!)
One last one of the bridges, but from the other side…
I’ve now kept you long enough and thank you for sticking till the end. Hopefully, the next time I share this park, there will be no snow and things will be a-blooming!
A Shift Most Perceptible
Inspired by the word “shift” per Monday’s dVerse quadrille poetry prompt, hosted by Mish.
Nature’s carpet cushions knees
Stride relaxed yet swift
Dream shifts to reality
Stepping out into the Quebec spring morning
hat, gloves and jacket – necessary
No soft paths
Dream not reality
But will be, soon
It’s Quadrille Monday on dVerse today and De Jackson (aka WhimsyGizmo) is hosting. The word (or variation thereof) today is “Gasp”. It’s all Merril’s fault that I went where I did and not where I thought I would.
Friends, south of the 49th
leave me gasping
their purple crocus and
blooming since February!
Sun shines, sometimes;
just above freezing, occasionally
bicycle path partially clear, for now
first run of the year
Gasping, I push on
Spring is coming, right?
Midnight (Close Enough) Walk
*I handwrote most of this post in my Whatever Pages Book last night instead of typing it directly, as I try to unplug from all electronics a good hour (lucky if it’s a half-hour) before bed. And I didn’t want to, once again, have an idea for a post but wait so long that it becomes too late, so…
After watching the flag-fest that was the the Eagles/49ers game and then foolishly watching the refs-are-off-the-deep-end Bengals/Chiefs game, B and I hung up in annoyance. There were better ways to spend our time, we both thought. During the half time of the second game, I went out to shovel the walkway. I realised it was perfect out there and declared that I was going to for a walk after the game. The more the
farce game went on, the less I felt like going out there so I ended up on the internets, pfaffing away my time with comments here and there, until finally deciding around 11 pm, to hell with it, I was wasting my time again. A much better use of said time was to go out.
I checked the temps: -9℃, feels like -11℃ (16℉/12℉) and decided my rather thick leggings would suffice, though I put on my big Canadian-style boots, my only-when-it’s-at-least -10℃ coat, ski mitts and tuque, of course, and out the door I went.
Face-to-face with the half moon competing with the lamppost, I clicked a few, thinking I’ll use them for the Boucherville FB photo group and made my way to the nearby park.
I marvelled at how bright it was (the reason I prefer snow to rain in the winter, is it brightens everything) and the clouds were fascinating.
As I approached the outdoor hockey rink (now equipped with a fantastic heated changing shed), I was surprised to find it empty. Yo, Rog, it’s close to midnight on a Sunday, what did you expect? I still expected, what can I say? They play in much colder climes and often at night!
The crunch of my boots on the packed snow and the faraway beeps of the snowploughs readying the parking lots for tomorrow’s employees and patrons were the only sounds keeping me company. The snow sparkled under the moon and the trees cast their shadow under the lampposts.
I am amazed that my hands are not freezing when I remove my mitts to take pictures. It’s weird, really. I have Raynaud’s Syndrome which only comes into play if I hold something cold. But the cold itself doesn’t really bother them. Well, obviously, in really cold temps, I needs must have those mitts on (gloves are useless for me) but I am amazed at how long I can go without before needing to warm them up again.
I decide to simply walk the loop of the park, then make my way home. It is late, after all, and my thighs are thinking it might have been nice to find themselves in warmer snow pants (it’s not that bad but go too far…)
I am surrounded by beauty.
And loathe to go home.
But it’s getting late… Now it’s close to midnight! But just one more before I pick up the pace.
On the last stretch, I encounter the first and only other human. To my bonsoir! I receive nothing. I choose to think he did not hear me.
I feel my cheeks getting more ruddy with each step. My legs are going to be happy to find themselves wrapped in warm blankets. Surely I will sleep well?
Walktober 2022 – Parc de la Freyère
“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it?”
― Anne of Green Gables
Taking the time to write has been most difficult. Taking the time to go out for a walk has been nary impossible. I exaggerate, of course, because we can always choose how to spend our time outside of work. It’s been a tiring time so the want was there but the energy was not.
And finally! Weather, time and energy were all in cahoots this past Tuesday (October 18th) giving me a week to put this together and link up to Robin’s annual Walktober fun. I have a weird schedule where one day I work 9-5:30 and the other 6:15-2:45. Tuesday was the early day and the weather was ridiculously perfect. I stopped off at home, did a few things, changed my clothes, grabbed my camera and off I went. Where would the colours still be beautiful? It had been a very long time since I went to the Parc de la Freyère, and even though I did go there for part of my 2018 walk, it was worth a return. I cannot see anyone complaining. Right? Right. I was out from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. and managed to take about 500 photos, give or take. While I joked that it was impossible to take a bad picture, I took more than a few that were immediately chucked as I uploaded.
“October had tremendous possibility. The summer’s oppressive heat was a distant memory, and the golden leaves promised a world full of beautiful adventures. They made me believe in miracles.”
On my way to the park, I had to stop and capture the three trees below. Could they more represent?
I decided to park on a side street, giving me the option to walk along Marie-Victorin Blvd which follows the St. Lawrence River through at least four towns – probably more but I’d have to check. That means walking by these gorgeous mansions with view spectacular.
As far as boulevards go, this one is rather intimate, shall we say…
Entering the park, I feared, Are the colours already over?
No, but we are definitely at the tail end, I should think.
I had to walk down this pier to see just what was frolicking in the water. Don’t those clouds look like a distant mountain range?
Herons and egrets and ducks and seagulls, oh my!
And a autumn walk would not be complete without some sumac – the first, along with vines – to show off their colours
“What the light looks like in the pear trees, in October, is a hundred teardrops of gold, the whole orchard weeping.”
― The Art Lover
There may be no pear trees here, but the light was just so beautiful.
I was not alone to take advantage of this autumnal perfection. This gentleman was flying his drone, surely taking breathtaking pictures, himself. Was a tad annoying when it flew above me like an oversized mosquito, though. (Hey, maybe he captured me capturing him!)
I had to include these for you, Crispina 😉
At this point, I figured I’d stick around and await the sunset, which was scheduled for 6:04. I continued walking around clicking away because it was all just so gorgeous. No editing is necessary because the light is just perfect!
The sun was starting to make its descent and the air chilled rather quickly. I did curse those clouds that were going to hide most of the sunset!
The sky was so soft (another for you, Crispina! 😉 )
I’m enjoying the quiet when I hear in the distance “Midnight Train to Georgia”. I film it, not knowing where it comes from (apologies – I thought I was going slow!) because for some strange reason, it just fits!
It’s starting to get rather cold so I decided to head back, but not before capturing this little seagull making his v-pattern.
The herons drying their wings and the egrets just relaxing caught my eye.
Suddenly the egrets took flight and were circling, trying to decide where to spend the night. Something was disturbing them so they would turn around and look again. It was getting harder and harder to focus and capture them.
As I also circled towards to road and my car, I watched them – all eight! – land in the trees and try to settle. My camera is not equipped for such low light and I had no tripod but I did manage to rest on a the bridge rail and sort of get a half-assed decent shot. Only by manipulating the photo can you see I managed to get 7 out of 8 in the shot. I, for one, am pretty pleased.
I declared myself done but as I got to the other side of that little pond, I figured, I’d try once more, this time leaning on a guard rail. And again, only by manipulating the photo can you see I got all eight. Joy!
I think I have more than abused your time for this year’s Walktober. I hope you enjoyed my walk as much as I did sharing it.
If every summer day was like today, I would be in heaven. 25℃ (feels like 27℃) or, for you Yanks, 77℉ (feels like 81℉). The sun is shining but are were puffy white clouds passing by, breaking up the blue and momentarily giving breaks from the direct rays. The breeze is warm and steady at 30km/h with gusts up to 39km/h (19mph, and 24mph). The tree leaves rustle, the birds sing and traffic sounds so far away it is a barley discernable hum.
It is now late afternoon and all the neighbours, myself included, have mowed our lawns; no more sounds of circular saws or hammering or other chores needed, and now, we can sit by our pools or on our patios or right in the grass, having earned our time of respite, and just be one with the world.
Of course there is supper to be made but I’ve actually planned ahead, sorta, kinda maybe. The salmon “should” be thawed by the time I’m ready, right? Plus, supper won’t be at least until 7:00 pm today… In the meantime, I am catching up on my reading – I am participating in Sammi’s Lord of the Rings re-read. It’s fun. We read a half-chapter per week, then “discuss” on her blog in her Tolkien Tuesday. I was behind by four weeks! Tomorrow we shall be discussing the first half of Chapter 11: A Knife in the Dark. It’s fun to get the opinions and thoughts of others (we are 4-6 regulars who participate) on each segment.
I was actually serenaded by a robin as I enjoyed the afternoon. How can one not appreciate that?
The BBQ is cooking my salmon and my rice is in its last resting five minutes. The asparagus are just about to get some grilling and I may actually be joined by the other residents of this household for supper, like at the same time as me. Whoa.
We so enjoyed the different flavours brought out by the barbecue, it had me wondering why I barely used it last year. I shall definitely rectify the situation this year.
I’m also wondering why the hell we did not eat outside, especially since at the time we ate (8:00), the non-existent roof on my gazebo (ripped last year and needs to be replaced) wouldn’t have mattered as the sun had moved away from the house. Much as I love to eat outside, I do not love to eat in full sun and will never understand those who do. To each his and her own, I say.
*Special note: I was so enjoying the day yesterday that I finished posting today, Monday 😉