Silence, Snow, and Sweets
December 16, 2007
This never seemed to happen at the old house: the snow is swirling madly about my window, displaced drifts gusting in a constantly shifting veil of wayward flakes. It looks like some crazy subterranean god just sneezed, big time. Down on the ground, the drifts by the driveway have virtually enveloped my car entirely, and the street itself is obliterated. I can make out the ambiguous shape of a neighbour’s pickup truck, snow plow at the helm, rhythmically rocking frontwards and back as he attempts to clear his own driveway. Why bother?
I’ve not seen so much snow since I was a little girl, when it settled up to our shoulders and my sister and I spent hours digging out forts and spelunking through the intricate tunnel systems that evolved in our front yard. (Well, given that my shoulders were a little closer to the ground in those days, I suppose it’s possible that today’s is actually more snow). My mom would squeeze us into our snowsuits (mine was a briliant hunter green, I recall), hoods up and scarves wrapped tight across face and forehead so only a slit for eyes remained.
She must have known we’d quickly wrench the scarves from our mouths, impatient to get going and uncomfortble with the frost that formed into crystals, almost instantly, where our breath had been. So as an added precaution, she’d smear Vaseline over our cheeks to prevent chapping or frostbite. This allowed us to stay out for hours, protected from the harsh elements and their effects on our tender faces. (It worked great, too; if only I were still willing to exit the house with a mug covered in greasy, glossy petrolatum, I could have perfectly smooth, not-in-the-least-bit-dry, skin over the winter months).
In a way, I’m not sorry the city is blanketed, even though it’s virtually immobilized and you can be sure that nothing at our house will take place outside these brick walls today. (Now, the last time our city saw so much snow was probably in 1999, when we were hit with a similar massive storm, and the mayor called in the army to dig us out from under it . And, as I recall, for which he was relentlessly mocked by mayors in other, equally snowy, cities across North America).
For me, the insulation of snow creates a calm and quiet workspace (the perfect surroundings in which to post my Holidailies entry). Thank goodness I don’t have to be anywhere else today. What I do have to do is bake, bake, bake, something I’ve been missing since I started my marking marathon last week.
The past few days have brought a few orders from regular customers trickling in, and I’ve been itching to do some of my own baking as well–new recipes to try out, experiments to endeavor, old standards to mix up so my HH can have his favorite Orange-Pistachio Scones or Lemon Bundt Cake over the holidays.
So, with the backdrop of tender, fluffy flakes settling on the windowsills; with Stravinsky’s Firebird filling the air (we’re supposed to hear it live, courtesy of the Kirov Orchestra, tomorrow evening–IF the roads are cleared by then); and with The Girls settled in front of our new fireplace (“We don’t care that it’s fake gas, Mum, it’s still pretty and warm!”), I’m off to the kitchen to fulfill orders and whatever other confections my heart desires.
Hope you’re all warm and toasty today.