The north wind turned the watery snow into crystal corrugations, freezing yesterday’s footsteps to catch today’s unwary feet an unremembered ramble mashed into icy ridges and rough ledges, slippery but impossibly hard to batter and kick apart Such were my father’s winters Cheeks chilled, fingers numb, every breath a cloud, we fought the cold with love walked together and resented the season’s cruelty, stealing the grass from us and the sun’s warmth, clasping trees in a killing embrace, and stiffening the ground it would swaddle and bury in white Such were my father’s winters Yet, the snow is not so tough, tomorrow it will pass, the ice melting away like a bony hand’s farewell clutch (his loosened sinews, his vanishing strength) winter dies slowly until the sudden spring a shock like the collapse of a long-sustained wave function, shattered into a single heavy particle by a phone call in the night Such was my father’s last winter Leaving me so little time to mourn— for spring now runs for the horizon as soon as it hears winter’s slowing tread a spring ever shorter, a flash of green shoots, leaves unfolding as if panting in haste for summer’s sweltering touch raining down heat trapped atop a column of tainted air, feeding the sweat of endless days free of snow and ice Such will be my winters, shortened and bereft: his life ended, yesterday’s wind-shaped landscapes crumbled, and the cold recedes, perhaps forever
Copyright © 2021 Jean-Louis Trudel.
Jean-Louis Trudel has been writing about climate change since 1988, occasionally as a journalist or teacher but more often as a science fiction author. With over thirty books and more than a hundred short stories to his name, he is also a professor of history at the University of Ottawa, as well as a translator, critic, and convention organizer. Born in Toronto, he now lives in Quebec City and writes (mostly in French) wherever the coffee is good.