Groundhog Day, and if any groundhog knows what's good for him, he'll be staying put in his den and keeping his nose warm.
It's early -- maybe 5 am EST and as I sit in my city in the north, feeling the stirrings of a snowstorm readying to shriek into town, I count my blessings because Montreal has been mostly spared a harsh winter.
Meanwhile, the United States is in the throes of blizzard conditions; Chicago is being walloped (I hope Rahm Emanuel is safe and warm in the bosom of his, er, family. Go, Rahm, go!!)
The massive winter storm, stretching nearly the length and breadth of the US is moving upward and eastward.
Meanwhile, Yasi, the category 5 cyclone, is making landfall in Queensland Australia.
A day when Mother Nature declares her intention to howl. Is she, I wonder, calling us to rethink what's happening to the melting Arctic ice? That's what meterologists are saying. I believe them.
As a reminiscence of calmer, brighter days, when the heartbeat was palpable beneath the vest, quietly marking delight in the universe, and love for the divine possibilities of urban life, I offer a poem -- a favourite of mine -- written way back in 1802. Before the official start of the Industrial Revolution. Before man overran the planet in population explosions.
Despite the challenges of modern life, I continue to draw hope and inspiration by looking backward to something recognizable even today. There will always be pots of flowers propped on street corners, evening terraces humming in fragrant conversation and breezes, balconies overlooking sleepy rivers -- so long as we tend to them.
Composed Upon Westminster Bridge September 3, 1802
by William Wordsworth
Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth like a garment wear
The beauty of the morning; silent , bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky,
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did the sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!