Last week-end I went for a walk on the plains by the Saint Lawrence. It wasn’t exactly the most comfortable idea of the week, as the place was so windy the snow was gathering in dunes, and the question ‘should I walk bare-faced or keep my scarf on my nose’ had turned into ‘is it better to walk with my face stuffed in a bunch of icicles, or to feel like someone is repeatedly slapping me with a bag of ice cubes?’. There’s just no way you can imagine -30°C until you’ve experienced it, and te discovery wasn’t completely pleasant.
But then I arrived on top of the slope looking onto the Saint Lawrence, and it all became worth it. The surface is entirely frozen. Since ships keep navigating it, however, it’s broken, refrozen and rebroken in a number of places, and the snow hasn’t stuck uniformly. It looks like the waves have frozen into shape. It’s huge, chaotic and still. It reminded me of a game of AD&D we played once, which was set in a universe where all forgotten things came to freeze and die.
When I mentioned my walk to a friend from the lab, she said, ‘Oh yeah, it’s completely frozen. It looks like the apocalypse down there.’
The cold alone probably wouldn’t keep me indoors, but then I get quite exhausted when the week-end arrives, so I don’t go out that much. I stay home, watch films and knit a lot. It’s funny how the need for something creative to do tends to move around. I can’t seem to write anything these days. That may have to do with the fact that writing articles is already quite demanding, and once I’ve finished over-analysing my latest steampunk reads and taking notes about the zombie apocalypse for the next lab project, my need for storytelling is quite sated. Also I’ve left my piano at home, and I was never very good at painting unless I have an outdoors model, something which is quite out of the question at the moment (although it would be fun to find out whether my fingers would go numb first, or the watercolour would freeze on the palette). So I knit stuff instead. It’s quite a nice feeling to be getting better at something I’ve always dabbled into without making huge efforts to improve my skills. Also, I’ve realised I was never quite used to focusing on the sensations in my fingertips so much before. There’s a shop near our flat that sells wonderful yarns, and it’s a treat to pick them, hold them in my hands, get a new texture and a new bulk for every project and concentrate on the feelings before I pay attention to the looks. Good thing I’m not a very fast knitter, too. Unless you really need a new sweater, talk about an expensive pasttime.
Haven’t done any fiction writing lately, but since everybody has been doing it for award season, may I remind you that my first published story went out this year? In case you’re having a reading binge and would like a new suggestion, just for pleasure, it’s up on the Daily Science Fiction website.