It is the second day of Spring and I have woken to a fresh, thin cover of pristinely white snow that at another time of year like the middle of winter I would discover and marvel at how it’s so pretty but not today on the second day of Spring. Not only has it been the coldest Winter in twenty years but it is going to whine and screech as Spring attempts to kick it out the door where it belongs into the past. My friends in Paris would think what do you expect it’s Canada and they would think this must be normal. But how could they know how much the snow and the cold and the grey skies and the thick coats weigh so heavily on all our ambitions and good humours and optimisms and how when it overstays its welcome this way it really is tough on the spirit. And of course as I typed this last line at nine thirteen in the morning, the sun broke through the clouds, reminding me that my brooding is neither enjoyable to experience first-hand nor second so let’s move on already. Anyway it troubles me when all I can think to write of is the weather.
I am always saying how much I hate my neighbourhood and hate is a bit of a strong word and I really should be saying that I dislike it and I will try to remember to make this change to the mot juste as Ezra Pound so believed in according to Hemingway in « A Moveable Feast » which I now have finished and will always love. Quite simply, I dislike my neighbourhood because there isn’t a good coffee shop. There is every chain coffee shop within a stone’s throw and there is one new mom and pop coffee shop just up the road but the ambiance is sterile and plastic and not homey with some sort of personality or special characteristic or even flaw that makes it perfect. Soon I will have no car and no easy drives to my favourite coffee shops over there and over yonder but I will just get on a bike or the metro and I will adjust and life will go on. But I will not go to the chain coffee shops in my neighbourhood.
I pray and fear and pray again that those are not famous last words.
The Korean girls who are staying with me this week are up and this is the first morning that we are all here together. I offer them a coffee or tea and I am happy when Sunah accepts a coffee with milk. I was supposed to be out for a run but the snow and the one degree and the trees swaying like heads shaking no have all kept me inside and at least I get to share a coffee with these nice girls from Korea. I should just go to the gym and get on that awful treadmill but going to the gym is starting to make me feel like a jackass in much the same way that sitting in traffic does. I am going through a transitional phase, I console myself. Well at least I am reading and writing. And ironically, it is my ideal location in this non-ideal neighbourhood that brings me so many wonderful guests like Sunah and her friend and of course the accompanying income.
I thought it fitting that I should read next “The Paris Wife” which was written by someone named Paula McLain and which is about Hadley Richardson, Ernest Hemingway’s wife. This book has been sitting on my shelf for some time and it is very important to me that my personal library be about ninety percent read and that I can speak about the books that are in it so anyway it’s about time I read it. I recently gave away my three read and two unread Vonnegut novels because I could not remember the plot of the three and as a result had no desire to know the plot of the two. Also. I recently brought home two boxes full of new books from a wonderful annual sale at a book store in my hometown where you can pack the box full with however many books you can so long as the box can close and if so you can take the lot for only twenty-five dollars. I split one box with my niece and then came back with my cousin and filled another entire box. So those are brought home now and organized into my beloved little library and my ninety percent rule is temporarily broken but of course this is an understandable exception.
One more thing on books.
I think it is important to read both great authors with long histories as well as new authors with no history as well as non-authors who are simply people sharing a personal story and that is why they are writing at all. You learn something different from each and those new authors with no history are one of whom I am striving to become after all.
At noon it is supposed to be two degrees and sunny. The plan or at least the thought is to run outside, along the trail, for as long as I wish and not any longer under the illusion that I am training for that race I signed up for and which is next weekend and which I have not at all sufficiently trained for. There was a time long ago when I had become sick of having to run such and such distance and of having to run faster and faster as I trained for this or that race then I let it all go and said I will just run for as long as I want at whatever pace feels good because I am sick of the incessant “have to.” In doing so I ended up running a lot more and enjoying it a lot more and then went to Calgary and ran my second fastest marathon ever and walked away from it with my body not having a clue about the feat it had just done while others were heroically limping about. So I suppose I am at the same juxtaposition but still with only one week until the race and with snow still on the ground and with the wind howling through the imperfect metal seems of my windows whispering evil discouragement I do not anticipate a tidy Calgarian-like finish this time. Or start.
The sun has gone away now. And so must I.