Today I went out in my rubber boots, and it reminded me that one of the things I love about Halifax is that adults go out in public wearing rubber boots all the time, as a matter of course.

You see, last night we had a storm, the one that came with hours and hours of hyped up weather warnings. First snow, then freezing rain, followed by rain. On all the news casts, people had the annoying habit of acting surprised that we were having a complex, messy storm in Nova Scotia in March. I lit a candle, anticipating a power outage, but to my surprise that didn’t happen! Last night when I went to bed (actually it was well into this morning when I went to bed), this is what my bedroom window looked like.

That isn’t water, it’s ice. A solid thick coating of ice. I knew the window would be sealed shut, so I had to try just to prove it to myself. That was as exciting as it got.

Here’s a closer, rather impressionistic view.

When I got up later this morning, the world had that slick coating on everything, so I postponed my morning run (until tomorrow). I’ve had the great fortune of having two days in a row “off”, meaning I didn’t have to go to the store to work. I had lots of other work to do at home, including finish up one of my consulting contracts.

Still I love the rare feeling of not having to go anywhere for anything. Later on I ventured as far as the corner store for some essentials (milk, DVD). And rubber boots were just the right footwear. I think I like wearing the rubber boots because it reminds me of being a kid, exploring the swamp (er, wetland) beside our farmhouse. Plus when you are walking around the city streets wearing rubber boots, you are sending a strong message to the world that you possess the confidence to not care what people think about your footwear.

Of course, it is still possible to be consciously fashionable with your rubber boots, since many cute coloured or flowered boots are available. But I’m pleased with my tall brown rubber boots that I bought at a fishing supply store in Digby, Nova Scotia.

Quite a while ago, I had posted a note and a photo about a small shawl I was knitting for Gwladys, the 91-year-old blind woman I go read to once a week. Here are a couple of finished photos:

It’s made from a wool and angora blend that is hand-dyed here in Nova Scotia. It’s ridiculolus how soft and airy it is, yet warm. The pattern is an extremely simple lace pattern that I adapted from a stitch pattern in Barbara Walker’s treasury of stitch patterns (for the knitters out there) … I forget which volume. I found it to be a somewhat meditative project to work on, in part because of the beautiful feel of the yarn. Here is another shot that shows the pattern a little more clearly:

Gwladys spends most of her time in bed, with the exception of meals. So I intended that this would be just a nice cozy, comforting thing for her to wear around her room and in bed. When I brought it to her, she seemed very pleased. She isn’t that strong but she is very independent. She tied it around her neck and while we were talking she kept rubbing her chin into the soft angora fabric, with a little smile on her face.

Now a couple of weeks have gone by and I haven’t been allowed to visit, because the place she lives has been closed to visitors because of a virus. I hope I’ll get to see her soon because she is extremely frail, and I truly wonder if each visit might be the last time I see her. I don’t mean to sound morbid, that’s just a fact. Her memory isn’t that great so lately, I have been choosing sections of one of the books she wrote and reading those to her. They include descriptions of her childhood in Wales, and of her adventures as a military nurse in the second world war. She served in Northern Africa … with a slight detour on the way there because the ship she was being transported on was sunk by a U-boat in the mediterranean. Later she served in Italy, where she met her husband-to-be, a doctor from Nova Scotia. She gets such a kick out of hearing those stories again now, so I hope I’ll be able to see her later this week. And I get a kick out of seeing her enjoying it.