You almost have to appreciate the way cold hangs in the air in this part of the country, so that beyond blowing snow and low clouds, you feel as though you can see the crisp air. Over the icy North Saskatchewan River, swimming around the Hotel Macdonald, sinking into Jasper Avenue.
January. (Yes, I took the picture above in December. Believe me, it still looks like this. I imagine it will stay this way until about... March? April?)
As we wait for spring, I offer excerpts of love letters from Ursula Doyle's collection.
Robert Browning to his wife, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, on their wedding day in 1846:
".... When the heart is full it may run over; but the real fullness stays within... Words can never tell you... how perfectly dear you are to me -- perfectly dear to my heart and soul. I look back and in every one point, every word and gesture, every letter, every silence -- you have been entirely perfect to me -- I would not change one word, one look. My hope and aim are to preserve this love, not to fall from it --" (p. 106)
Lord Byron to his married lover (1813?):
".... if all I have said and done, and am still but too ready to say and do, have not sufficiently proved what my feelings are, and must ever be, towards you, my love, I have no other proof to offer....
"I care not who knows this, what use is made of it -- it is to you and to you only, yourself. I was, and am yours, freely and entirely, to obey, to honour, love and fly with you, when, where, and how, yourself might and may determine." (p. 65)
Oscar Wilde to his lover, 1891:
".... What wisdom is to the philosopher, what God is to his saint, you are to me. To keep you in my soul, such is the goal of his pain which men call life. O my love, you whom I cherish above all things, white narcissus in an unknown field, think of the burden which falls to you, a burden which love alone can make light. But be not saddened by that, rather be happy to have filled with an immortal love the soul of a man who now weeps in hell, yet carries heaven in his heart. I love you, I love you, my heart is a rose which your love has brought to bloom...." (p. 128)
Yes, yes, yes, saccharine, saccharine, saccharine.
But what better day to contemplate love and loss and beautiful prose than one so cold and blowy that you don't wish to leave your house?