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2007 10 16
Hibernation: Variations

1. At dusk the sky lowers itself upon the city gingerly, as if conscious of its great weight. By dawn the air is velvet, soft and silver in the slanted light, the night a cloak worn to tatters and cast off like leaves across the broken loam. Around this time of year the day looks for a place to hole up for the winter. Some years it wedges itself behind the clock tower at old City Hall, venturing out for a few hours here and there to trace empty hourglasses in the ice at Nathan Phillips Square. One winter afternoon while gossiping with the City Manager over mugs of hot chocolate, the day manages to freeze its feet to the Archer. Struggling to lift off, straining against the weight, it tears a hole in the afternoon, not to mention a gaping rent in the City's roads budget. For years the stubs of its feet are still visible on the sculpture, shorn off at the ankles as if by a budget-trimmer's axe.

2. Saint Francis is out there somewhere, scattering crusts and practicing for flight. Last winter he buried himself in a hollow behind the Baldwin steps, but the rumbling of traffic kept waking him and by spring he was nearly weightless, another gaunt spectre floating toward the Scott Mission for a free meal. This winter Saint Francis has lined up a Fort Lauderdale time-share; he's hoping to hitch a flight with a fast flock he met at the Silver Dollar.

3. The nut racket gets tougher every year. These days you gotta pay Eddie "the Mange" Marcello if you want to find your cache still there in February. 'Protection', they call it. Last fall I hear Bill Whiteside told the boys to go climb a tree: a few weeks later the attic he's living in goes up in smoke, and Bill's nowhere to be found. I hear his widow's been reduced to turning tricks in High Park.

4. The trees tease us toward winter, turning a pretty limb here or there. A flash of bright colour, the promise of more if only we'll wait around after the show. Suddenly everything's off, the theatre's dark and deserted, and we're left standing there in a cold drizzle.

[email this story] Posted by Amy Lavender Harris on 10/16 at 10:20 AM

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