As Valentine’s Day approached last year, Kathy and I window-shopped in Aix-en-Provence, admiring the variety of heart collages, shoe arrangements and other creative if sometimes funky displays in the city’s abundant shop windows.
Oh, by Aix standards, Valentine’s fell in the midst of what had been a rather nasty stretch of weather. Lots of rain, enough for our French teachers to share a salty version of our “it’s raining cats and dogs.” (Only in French, it is: “Il pleut comme une vache qui pisse,” or “it’s raining like a pissing cow.”)
One morning, heaven forbid, we saw snow sprinkled on Mont St. Victoire in the distance from the street in front of Hotel Roi Rene.
But none of this was something a decent bottle of wine couldn’t cure or, better yet, a cozy dinner with classmates from our French school, IS-Aix. This winter, alas, I’m not sure a a liter of 90-proof grain alcohol could salve my soul, though it likely would kill me first.
Tonight, Boston is awaiting its fourth major storm in just three weeks. By the time all that snow is measured, we’ll have reached something near 90 inches of snow during that three-week time span. For those of you who think metric, that’s approaching 3 meters. And with hurricane-force gusts expected tonight we just have to hope the power stays on; wind-chills are expected to be so bad that they’d feel much more appropriate in the Yukon or atop the Aguille du Midi in Chamonix during a mid-winter storm.
All I can say is thank goodness for memories and the power of photography to trigger them. I don’t much care for winter anymore, and I don’t expect to be staying around during Boston’s when I retire in a year or two. For now, however, I’ll have to make do with memories of last year and dreams of summer, when Kathy and I will take our 7-year-old granddaughter Devon to Paris for her long anticipated ascent of the Eiffel Tower. (With a little luck, I’ll also be leading a group of students to Aix in May.)
For the present? …. Must I think of the present? … Well, it is Valentine’s Day so tonight perhaps, we’ll find a nice bottle of French chablis, snuggle by the fire — and hope the lights don’t go out.
As for shoveling, it can wait until tomorrow. I’m in no hurry to go outside.