Monday, November 7, 2011

winter - l'hiver

This scene was shot in Quebec City near the campus of Laval University in February 1973.  Our French class from London, Ontario made a trip to the city in order to see the Quebec Winter Carnival.  Our motel was near the university campus.  A restaurant was also close by where we ordered our meals in French.  Getting into the old town was easy enough.  There was a local bus that took us into town.  The written language was easy enough to understand but the patois of the locals was a totally different story, and this was after I had been in Europe the previous summer spending some time in France.  But back to the weather and winter for a moment, I have no sympathy for anyone here where I currently live that says its cold.  They don't know the meaning of what cold really is until they've experienced it.  The scene above may look pleasant enough but it was actually bitterly cold after a very cold arctic air mass moved in from the northwest.  All that said, this winter scene in Quebec City reminds me of a French-Canadian song that anyone who has learned the French language in Canada will be familiar with, its "Mon pays ce n'est pas un pays."  French-Canadians would also be very familiar with this melody.  The words and song by Gilles Vigneault in the chorus go like this:

Mon pays ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver
Mon jardin ce n'est pas un jardin, c'est la plaine
Mon chemin ce n'est pas un chemin, c'est la neige
Mon pays ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver

or in English:

"My country is not a country, it is the winter
My garden is not a garden, it is the plain
My road is not a road, it is the snow
My country is not a country, it is the winter"

And so on.... Perhaps you'll look at winter and this country of Canada (and Quebec) differently from now on.  Something to think about!  - V

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