A Winter Tirade, with Photos


Snow-city panorama

The day is a diffuse white, blunted to gray. Periodically, birds burst from ledges or eaves or from the last spent leaves (ah, yes, bright, but still spent). Their bodies strafe the eye. Confused snowflakes cavort with, shuffle by, skitter, shimmy against, bump into, and bend with the now-visible air. If the winter air were malleable matter, I think it would be a blooming sort of smoldering steam: an extra-spectral substance of an inhuman colour, nebulous, neither white nor gray nor blue. Nor any other.

Still, I can’t drag my eyes away . . .

Breadbox buildings have been dropped down, brick by brick, deposited perhaps a century’s worth ago, from when there was no snow as it is now. Today’s snow—we call it ours—is a (by)product, a staged phenomenon, a commodity, and a managed entropy, made sheerly to be seen. A honeycomb of progress, humming eternalwise, have we created to view it, the perspective extending farther than these eyes can see, perhaps any eyes. Visualized, viralized, winter’s reality—its realness—always in the wings, parade and charade only a click-blink away. Under-thumbed, if you will.

Yesteryear’s snows, it seems to me, were an occurrence. Better still: an event, a surprise, and an opportunity for communion. With each other. And it offers up unparalleled opportunities to link with extraneous aspects of self–atomstuff (or starstuff or plantstuff or any number of substances)–that earlier were perhaps closer to the vest, held to the heart, even.

Now, on a tide of leveraging and mergers, calculated risks and calendars


A different day; a different cathedral

and broken benefits, winter starts to recede, if such evolution can be eye-tracked.

In places, the spires are hewn, nearly gone, used up, spat out among true detritus. Heretofore, Nature hobbled along, alas, just barely, as we left it alone, keeping our jaundice-ringed cuticles to ourselves. But has it now passed the point of no-intervention, here in the Anthropocene?

The snow, once inescapable, rendered incapable, salted like earth, sewn like the kind of dragon’s teeth that were never intended to grow. Yet, ice-wind can still whistle clean through the ribs, ghost song, so long-gone.

Will we listen, or just push it away and adapt?

What say you?


This squirrel has found a lunch scrap of old, mustardy bread.

12 thoughts on “A Winter Tirade, with Photos

    • That sounds unusual for Vancouver, Andy (no snow all winter). Is it?
      We usually get a dusting in November (which we didn’t get in ’15, that I recall) and a big snow or two, a lot of times in February through the end of March. It’s so whacked-out now, though; trees are budding, because a couple weeks ago, we had a few days of 60s and 70s. Tonight, it’s supposed to be 9 degrees. I don’t expect we’ll have a heavy snow. Damn ye, climate change! But seriously, if the mosquitoes mostly die off, I’m fine with that, but as for the other life forms, like human . . . it’s rather scary.
      On yet another note, should I wish you a Gong Xi Fa Cai/Gung Hay Fat Choy this week, Andy? I love this time of year, I must confess. The Lion dancers and rich reds and tradition and such.

      • ugh the weather patterns are all screwed up all over the world, I remember reading the article about how Vietnam got snowed on and Hong Kong, even Taiwan in the city. carazay!

        Thank you so much for the greeting too 🙂 gong xinfa cai! I love the celebrations too, so much joy in children’s eyes and it goes for so many days after too 🙂

  1. The beauty of your descriptions never ceases to amaze me. In the UK I see grey, bleak skies where flurries of snow, however hopeful, are often all too brief and never spawn blankets of snow that create lush winter landscapes. I yearn for summer when winter fails to deliver Christmas card scenes of an ice and snow laden world.

    • Why, thank you, Dave. That’s very nice of you to say. I was reading the skies here rather gloomily, too, I must say, although I do like winter. Now that I’ve ‘hit’ my 40s, I find I like the heat a bit less than I used to as well, especially the whacked-up climate and weather that manifests here in the middle States (not unusual now to have several days or more every summer over 100 degrees F; sorry, I forget the C conversion, but really should learn it). Beautiful as it is in many ways, I’ve always said I didn’t want to live somewhere really temperate such as Hawaii–I’ll keep the summer, winter, fall, spring scheme as long as I can, and as long as nature permits it! Hope you have a great weekend; don’t work/write too hard! 🙂

  2. No snow here yet. We’ve had a couple of days below 5 degrees but no snow, just rain :-(. It has been a very warm winter so far (around 12 degrees – far too warm for snow, 7 degrees today). The plants don’t know what to make of it!

  3. Methinks the planet will fight back and reclaim itself from humans one day, rendering them extinct. On the other hand, the global weather patterns have tended to be cyclical throughout history. For instance, in Renaissance times, there was a mini Ice Age. And throughout one of the British monarch’s reigns — I think it was Charles I — it rained and rained and rained. Then back in Roman times, there were vineyards in Southern England. In Victorian times, the cities were full of poisonous smog. Who knows?
    PS I loved your post — your unique choice of words. So visual and deep. In fact, I’m going to go back and re-read it, cause I loved it so much!

  4. Gorgeous imagery Leigh, I loved this visceral rendering of winter. Snow did indeed used to be an event, but these days it seems to be here and gone in a matter of hours. Your pieces are always so unique, great use of words 🙂

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