Some steamy, some clear: winter in Montreal

Glass in the city of excess takes to winter in a variety of ways, becomes frosted, steamed, wet, so hard and clear it seems on the verge of exploding. Light pools in doorways, reflects off snow, beckons down alleys. Wind finds its way in cracks, hisses loudly. I am on a mission to walk all of the island’s streets, which in winter, can seem like navigating Greenland. Ice and snow are deceptively smooth, terrifyingly compelling, the vast swoops of what seems like hard crusted surface tempt one down alleys, and into fields of who knows what kind of surface under the glaze. And yet sticking to the sidewalks can be even more dangerous as chunks of densely packed ice calve and stick up in the middle of an otherwise clean stretch of concrete, or trip on a dark corner, for of course, night falls early and my walks are often in the dark. I have four complete winter walking outfits, so far one for every inevitability. I dream of polar cleats and ski goggles as I push further afield. And while I once longed for wings, now I would settle for good balance on ice. I have discovered the fastest way to move on the mildly slushy, hovering around 0 degrees sidewalks, is to skip. It looks silly, but feels great, and it is how I plan to make it through the impending storms and some eight more weeks of winter in Montreal.

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