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The Sweet Taste of the First Snow

L'Île Rouge, Havre-aux-Maisons
"L'Île Rouge, on snowy days, is my mother's chocolate pudding, topped with cream."

Here comes the morning when the kitty stays in.In the mudroom, the poor thing takes his time, pondering. I crack the door ajar. And there it is, the white mantel they write songs about... Kitty is careful. One paw, two paws, slowly. He shakes the right paw with all the elegance he's capable of, and then retreats inside in a perfect loop. There's no having it - he's not going any further. Still, he keeps meowing at the door. Doesn't he remember, from thirty seconds ago, what's out there? It's the first snow!

The first snow, in November.
Still beautiful, if a bit early.

“It won't stick, we'll have rain for Christmas!” say the skeptics.
“I don't know, it'd be nice if it stayed like this...”

We should be allowed to celebrate Christmas with the first snowfall.

The first winter storm would come with an instant three-day vacation, lots of meat pies eating, and a trip to the neighbours' to play cards. It'd be so much less disheartening than to gather and hope for the snow to fall on the 23rd of December.

Funnily enough,as soon as the snowflakes start to pile up, I start picturing food everywhere across the landscape. Take the Île Rouge, the red-cliff island near the Havre-aux-Maisons bridge - when the weather's right, the cliffs take a brownish hue, and the layer of snow topping the island gives the whole sight an unmistakable airof chocolate & spice pudding, drenched in cream. This pudding is what my childhood dreams were made of. Still warm, just out of the oven. So comforting. Oh, the memories! Look the other way, and Entry Island, once its hills have been covered in white, is a soft & sweet ball of dough, still rising, dusted in icing sugar. And the bales of hay, caught off guard by the early frost, look like so many cake rolls with butter icing.


Oh, sweet winter, which makes us reach for cinnamon and brown sugar! Haven't you noticed how we pivot towardsthe grocery store and the kitchen and the oven with the first snowfall? It's as if, looking through the window, we mistook the tempest for swirls of flour.

“You're probably hungry, that must be it,” I'm being told.
“Oh, I can't wait for the feast.”

And my eyes get bigger than my stomach with every snowflake.

Par Suzanne Richard

Suzanne Richard is an author, a speaker and a musician. She published a collection of short stories entitled La mer, trois kilomètres à gauche. Her conference — Les mots et la mer — is about maritime words and expressions commonly used in the French language.

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