Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Breathing time: December 23, early evening

Yesterday, I felt Montréal expand and contract, like bellows stoking a Yule log. 

The streets were curiously calm in a city of millions, as workers headed home, a lighter crowd than usual. A distinct note of excitement rode the arctic air. Café windows steamed, people grabbed a quick bag of groceries, things they would need in preparation for Christmas Eve's réveillon

This woman, Christmasy in her red coat, was at the market, buying cranberries for scones.


A young woman served, one eye on the clock; she too had somewhere to go in a half-hour...


 ...and a couple dragged their tree home.



The city simultaneously expanded with a burst of song: Christmas concerts, symphonies, céilidhs. Someone set up a xylophone on the street for passers-by to tap. Two teenaged boys sang a carol in harmony at a bus stop, with a little competition to hold the final note. 

There's an expansiveness of spirit, too. A sidewalk tree vendor posted a sign:



My friend Marina and I spent the evening in rapt conversation at our neighbourhood hangout, Notre Dame des Quilles. The house bought a round. 

Outside, a couple smoked; the young man's beret in silhouette. If you look straight down under the "A" you can just see its tip, which shifted as he bobbed to the music. 



And now it is the day of Christmas Eve, time to wish you happy holidays, as even the bus does here:

 


Your presence and comments have been a continual gift through the year; thank you for your ideas, stories and good will. I wish you all good things during your own breathing time.

I'll take the next two weeks off. See you in the Passage on January 7, 2014.

22 comments:

Paula M. said...

Enjoy your time off and thank you for writing this lovely blog. It is a breath of fresh air on Tuesday and Thursday. Paula

Janice Riggs said...

Thanks for being here, and for being such an intelligent and elegant part of my life. Love, Janice

SewingLibrarian said...

Merry Christmas and many thanks for giving us this wonderful blog! Enjoy your time away from the Passage.

une femme said...

Happiest of Holidays to you Duchesse!! Thanks for sharing these charming glimpses of your city.

materfamilias said...

What a lovely post. . . Such a pleasure to see Montreal through your eyes. Merry Christmas to you and Happy Holidays with your loved ones.

Murphy said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Duchesse!
Thanks for writing a great blog!

Cornelia said...

Thank you for your lovely blog. Happy Christmas and all the best for the New year.

lagatta à montréal said...

Joyeuses fêtes, Buone feste to you, Le Duc, the twins and all from me and my venerable tomcat!

Lovely photos of the neighbourhood. I must be becoming an old grouch, as it makes me sad to see young people still taking up smoking...

Madame Là-bas said...

How I enjoy your photo vignettes of Montreal and your blog throughout the year! Merry Christmas and happy times with your loved ones!

LauraH said...

Lovely post and pictures. Things are a little different here, there's an air of uncertainty for many. In spite of this, the season prevails. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Winter Ice.JPG

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

Best wishes for a happy holiday. Thank you for all your interesting posts throughout the year. I look forward to reading more in the coming year.

barbara said...

Schöne Weihnachten und einen guten Rutsch ins Neue Jahr!
Thank you for your very special kind of blogging, already missing your posts till your return.

Instead of snow we've got the warm wind "Foehn" from the Alpes, bringing temperatures of 18 Celsius and a lot of sun.
We don't complain.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that luminous glimpse of just-before-Christmas in a great city, and for all your thoughtful posts throughout the year. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I always head straight for the Passage...

Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday--

C.

LPC said...

A very Merry Christmas to you. And what a lovely write up of a city preparing. We had giddy workers in our suburban Whole Foods. Lots of bonhomie to share.

xoxoxo

Anonymous said...

I have been doing little errands in the neighborhood today. Hanging little bags of homemade dog treats ( sardine tablet ) on the doors of my dogs best mates . Silly but that's Xmas . I guess all your xmas's are white - have a good one
Wendy

Patricia said...

Thank you Duchesse, and a Merry Christmas to you and your family. Thanks for all the wonderful posts this year - I look forward to reading again in the new year.

Gretchen said...

Have a wonderful holiday with your family, and thank you for such terrific, thought-provoking posts this year. I look forward to them each week, and appreciate the effort you put into them. Now go revel in the winter and festivities!

Philippa said...

Happy Christmas, Duchesse! Seasonal joy to you and yours.

P xxx

LauraH said...

Is that a new picture? Maybe I'm just noticing. The gleam of the pearls matches the gleam in your eyes and the scarf brings out the blue....lovely.

Duchesse said...

LauraH: Yes; I only wear glasses for close work, so actually look like this photo more than shots with glasses.

Eleanorjane said...

A lovely post - a snapshot of your town over the festive season. The snow does make it extra special.

I did enjoy the quiet and the increased interaction over the holiday - saying hello to people met on a walk, every car is parked, all the windows are lit and smells of food are steaming out... I hope to hold some of the peace from the Nine Lessons and Carols service and from Christmas day into the New Year.

PS - have a lovely break!

Elle's Parisian Chic Blog... said...

Lovely post, look forward to more ..