It's several years now since I spent Christmas in Canada with my husband and son, but the experience of some serious snow, which is what we went looking for, has fed into several stories and poems. Here's my own favourite, with all my good wishes to everyone out there for a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.
Christmas in Quebec
Icebergs float swift and sharp along the
St. Lawrence, calved upstream or formed from the
pressure of the wind against water already
shuddering with cold. The river has miniature
landscapes in crystal shards, scooting alongside the
road as though caught up in the early evening
rush for home.
High above, fairy lights shimmer red and green on the
knee-deep snow and shoppers slither well-wrapped
on icy pavements. The funicular railway lowers itself with
care down the steeply inclined drop to the old town. We watch
the ground rise to meet us then step out into gripping air,
hurrying between the huddled shops to order hot chocolate
in stumbling French, laughing because our eyelashes are frosted
and freezing breath has rimmed our lips with ice
like the shattered river.