Monday, March 19, 2012

Don't you

step on my blue suede shoes!!!   (Elvis's song, and I started hearing it the minute I saw these shoes on A's feet!)

We went to Yellow on Saturday for shoes and my mate fell in love with a green pair.  (Not because it was St. Patrick's Day.   He just liked the color.)  But they didn't have them in his size.  So he chose these blue suede ones instead.  (They come with white shoelaces as well.)

Off we went for an hour's walk yesterday afternoon down Notre-Dame Est past the sanctuary and back along the St. Lawrence river, to try them out.

En route, an old tree,  de-limbed

Little bridge at the sanctuary park

Snow gone from sidewalks & road; not yet from the park

First day warm enough to go without a hat, scarf, coat and gloves.  Everyone in the neighborhood it seemed was outdoors yesterday, on their porches, in their yards, hanging clothes out, riding bikes, fishing down along the pier, soaking in the sun.

Spring has finally come!!!


Well ...

I'd written the above posting early this morning.  Then went outdoors for a little jaunt, starting at the Pont Duplessis, along the Saint-Maurice river.  The walk itself (depending on how fast you go) takes around 15 to 20 minutes.  Longer for me, because I stop along the way to stand by the water, listen to the birds, watch the egrets, ducks or other river creatures, sit on a rock, take in the quiet, etc., for me the best part of the "walk."    Today I caught sight of a string of Canadian geese returning from the South, a solitary "V" inching its way across the sky. 

As you can see below, Spring has not yet exactly arrived, though the geese coming back is a good sign it's imminent.

Still a bit of melting to be done yet.

This (below)  is near one of my favorite spots.  There's a picnic table and bench nearby, for reading, lunching, or just sitting.  I prefer the rocks, though.  Less people there.

cool waters

Feathery tree limbs noting an ice floe drift by.

This looks like two trees; the bottom one is actually its own shadow on the water.

"Me and My Shadow" - They meet and converse with one another.

[Right click to open in new (enlarged) window.  You can see the shadow much more clearly in full screen mode.  Sometimes I download these as screensavers, for times when I can't actually go to a place.  "Virtual travel." ]
The banks and walkway there today were still covered in snow, something I hadn't anticipated (I was still in 'Spring mode' from yesterday, wearing only a light jacket and sneakers ), and while the part closest to the river (damp earth and brown grass) was walkable, I suddenly found myself mired, struggling to navigate large patches of solid, very wide, slippery ice overlays to get to the softer snow, where I could just step into a previous walker's footsteps leading out to the road again.  

To walk on ice without slipping is not so much a matter of what type footwear you're wearing but how you place the foot down for each intended step.  (Think "march" style, as opposed to the more casual automatic "swing" walk-step style.)  This works well when the iced surface is flat and continuous.  Not so when it's sporadic, uneven, and full of mini hiddden pocket-bumps like those I encountered this morning.   I'd crossed onto such an ice patch, misjudging the distance to the next most feasible stepping point, only to find myself stuck there, unable to go forward or backward without slipping.  I ended up stooping down and crawling forward two slow, short movements to where it was again walkable.  (Bringing along a pair of gloves would have helped.)  I thought of our walk yesterday, the sun beating down, people out in T-shirts saying "Ah, about time!!" and then today the blue sky switched to gray, the warmth receded, and there's all that snow still around, taking its own sweet time to evaporate.  It is not for nothing the Quebeckers refer to their province as "mon pays, c'est hiver", ha ha.    A place "where winter is embraced, not merely borne."  Well, not a few Quebecois would disagree with that, given the number who flee to Florida to escape it every year.  That said, everyone nonetheless pretty much deals with it, it's no big deal.  But boy is everyone eager for Spring!

Today, March 19, people here traditionally start their indoor planting prepping for their summer garden, as in certain regions planting their potatoes--and in Southern France, their haricot beans, according to the Olives-and-Artichokes blog on whose site I happened today, whose photos and descriptions of culinary examples in the Lanquedoc region has me salivating at the imagined taste.

Historical remembrance:  On this day, in 2003, the U.S. and its allies went to war in Iraq, on account of an erroneous belief that a gigantic "mushroom cloud" of destruction might be launched by Saddam Hussein toward America.  It has been nine years, no such weapons of mass destruction were found,  Saddam's been eliminated, regime change effected, the largest embassy in the world (costing $750 million, requiring a staff of 15,000) was built by and for the U.S. there.  "Mission accomplished."
  This year is the eleventh year of the war in Afghanistan against Taliban insurgents.  Mission unable to be accomplished.  Maybe in four more years. Keep doing a thing until you get it right, or so they say. If after 14 years there's still no progress - maybe time to go back to the drawing board, one would think.  But I'm not an expert in these matters.  They have databases that attempt to tabulate the estimated collateral damage (i.e., count the carnage). But none that shows where exactly all that money went.  Chilling thoughts on a still too-chilly day.