Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Boreas

I love winter and I live for winter. Sucking cold pools of air into my lungs makes me feel alive, reminds me of God. By late summer I am already making plans for the coming season of cold. If there is one thing that I love about being here in Quebec it is the weather from December to April. My soul (I've become concerned of late that I have such a thing and that it too undergoes seasonal changes, glows and gives out at unknown intervals) thrives on barren trees, piles of filthy snow, a sky spilling over with gray. This most probably has much to do with the fact that a grew up at the southernmost tip of Florida, which shares a climate with Vietnam and Bangladesh. Tropical and rainy. The average temperature of every month is above 18℃. These climates have no winter season. I never owned a coat until I moved to Denver nearly seven years ago. The cold is still a novelty, though I feel there is more to the story.

At the first sign of the summer sun letting up I begin my winter preparations. This mainly arrives in the form of taking in as much depressing media as possible, while also sometimes thinking long and hard about saints who led particularly harsh lives. In the winter I leave off reading philosophy and pick up fiction again, dark as it comes. For my walks through Montreal I fill my ears with dreary folky ambient sounds. I watch oppressive films directed by people with frigid, unpronounceable names. Films filled with worn coats and irony strong enough to tighten the sides of my mouth, make me take a big swallow of wine.

For me, God's love is found in the mucky slush caked onto winter boots, in the smell of cold sweat seeping out from under a collar, in the strip of cardboard keeping the homeless Inuit women's rear end out of the snow, in dripping noses and beards full of ice. For some reason, I can spot more easily God's love in being alone, in sorrow, in images of pain and death. And that is the reason why winter is a special time for me, the reason why I look forward to it every year: I am calling God out, I want to see Him.

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