Thursday, February 05, 2009

Clear and Cold, Blue and White

Each work day I walk from the parking lot toward this building. My work place is saturated with natural light and has many windows looking out on the lovely grounds. This week brought more snow followed by clear skies and very cold temperatures. Follow me on my morning commute to this familiar place.

Before I leave, our dog goes for a brief outing to a post in front of the house. The snowbanks are so high he can not find a tree or pole to mark and it is impossible for him to run across the yard as the snow is now deeper than he is. My husband spends time outdoors almost every day to keep the walk and driveway clear of new and drifting snow but it is getting harder to find a place to put it all.

This is the view from my car window as I back out the driveway. It is impossible to see the road because of the high snow banks and we inch out cautiously hoping any approaching vehicle will honk or slow down to let us out.

It is nice to arrive at work in the sunlight. When the clock changes to Daylight Savings Time next month I will be arriving at dawn again until the days lengthen further. Today the sun was climbing over the river that runs below the hospital.

Cloudless winter mornings are cold, -18 C on this day*, but the sun has enough warmth to melt the roof top snow a little, creating icicles on the eaves. We have had enough snow to damage some flatter roofs where icy accumulations have built up. But the snow and blue skies do make a lovely winter picture. The house used to be a residence for female staff in the days when this hospital was a TB sanatorium.

This is the original sanatorium, now just a wing of a much larger health care complex. The first floor window arches are unique and graceful. The old balconies where patients used to sit in all seasons to get sunshine and fresh air are no longer used except by squirrels and birds.

One of my patients has spent most of her stay in bed, curled in a fetal position, resisting any attempts to get her involved in treatment. Today I wheeled her to a bright window overlooking the grounds and she lifted her head showing a flicker of interest in the white world and blue sky. I sat beside her and held her hand as she talked about her home and her life, the sunlight seeming to drawing her out of her shell for a few moments.

These are the best days of winter and the blue skies are appreciated even more when they appear after several days of grey dampness and snowstorms. And with this much snow, we need spring to come slowly with sunshine rather than rain to slowly melt all that white a bit at a time.

* this morning Feb 5th it is -29C at 8 AM... going to plug in the car!

Follow this link for more skies around the world.


  1. Here in Southeast Texas, we had had a high of about 60-degrees today; should be even warmer tomorrow. I can't imagine extreme temps in winter--we have them in summer though. The untouched snow in your photos is so lovely. Too bad it doesn't stay that way.

  2. Great story. It's amazing that the sun has the capacity to lift for patients spirits! I know when I am feeling down with no energy, the sun always makes me feel better.

    Lovely photos. I can indeed see the cold in them.

  3. Snow is never prettier than when the sun is shining and the skies are blue. I can't even imagine having that much snow to contend with Ruth.

  4. Anonymous6:59 am GMT-5

    You do have a lot of snow Ruth! Ours accumulates, then melts a little a few days later, so we haven't had the snow banks like we've had some years. Thanks for sharing your commute!

  5. Great post. There is nothing like the sun to lift up the spirit.

    When we had snow like that in WI, my husband would use the snowblower and make a maze of trails for the dogs. They ran around in circles, zig-zagging all over the yard.

  6. Wow Ruth, you sure have gotten a lot of snow this winter!
    It must be nice working in an office with a window. That's what I missed most when I got this job (that will be one benefit of being unemployed--I can watch out my windows all day long!)

  7. Enjoyed the winter tour, and your travelogue notes!! You have drifts galore, too, I see. And - I'm amazed to hear someone in Ontario talk about plugging in! Most poepl I've talked to barely know what a block heater is, but in Alberta,where I moved from, they were standard issue!

  8. Yes, you wouldn't want a fast melt with all THAT snow!

    Sunshine is such a lifter of spirits ... I'm glad that little lady perked up, even for a little.

  9. Your photos have a wonderful cooling crispness, appreciated in Australia at the moment!

  10. That's a lot of snow! The lighting in your photos is wonderful. I especially love the first one and the one where the focal point is a bare tree with light behind it. Nice post.

  11. Anonymous2:47 pm GMT-5

    what a snow.... great shots

    My SWF entry this week : in HERE. I hope you have time to visit. Thanks

  12. Found your link through Sky Watch. I'm over on the West Coast in Vancouver. Great blog and lovely pics.

  13. The blue skies are so pretty.

  14. The Tour is a good idea and kind of fun. I've thought of something like that from time to time but never got around to it.

  15. Lovely shots, thanks for the tour. Happy SWF!

  16. I love how the light hits your place of work; it sparkles. Oh my you have too much snow!

  17. Unfortunately this all looks and sounds so familiar, Ruth. My fingers are crossed for a warm spell. How about yours?

  18. Great photos and clear coloures!Beautiful to see!Have a nice weekend!

  19. Ruth--great photos--and that snow! Yikes!
    The buildings are very striking--I love buildings that have a solid architectural feel to them.

  20. Anonymous5:23 pm GMT-5

    Truly beautiful photos! Happy weekend :o)

  21. Ruth what a lovely post and your photos are beautiful. I love the first one with all the beautiful contrasts.
    Way too much snow though....I am heading east to Ontario in a couple of weeks for a couple of months and I was really counting on one of those "early jumps" into spring?!?
    Smiles and thanks for sharing.

  22. Let's cross our fingers that we don't get too much rain with the warmer temps next week - we'll need to build arks!

  23. The cool crisp light really caught my eye, along with the dog. Who could resist.

  24. Anonymous8:15 pm GMT-5

    You really have winter when you get to that point and say . . I have no where else to place the snow we got last night! That's what the one shot with the puppy reminds me of!

  25. I have to agree. I do enjoy Winterlude.
    After I married we moved to Ottawa and I used to bike, walk, ski or skate to work on or along side the canal to work at the Chateau Laurier Hotel from our home near Lansdowne Park. I have fond memories of Winterlude.
    I'm still putting it out there that I want spring....soon! Safe travel.

  26. Dayle- My parents were in the Houston area last week and it was relatively cold. The snow may stay untouched for a while as it is too deep to walk in.

    Kim- We do need light to survive.

    Jayne- We do have lovely winter scenes here and even with the cold, blue is preferrable to grey.

    Jan- We have not had a thaw this year at all. We may get above freezing for a day or two this weekend.

    NCMW- My husband does make a path in the back yard for the dog with the snowblower. He would never get any business done otherwise.

    Ruthie- The windows are great for patients and staff alike. Natural light is absent in so many workplaces. I am glad I do not live a cubicle existence.

    Anon- We have used our block heaters several times this winter. I know they are needed a lot more out west.

    CS- We need a very slow thaw. Our sudden December melt caused major flooding.

    Ruth- Thanks.

    AC- How is your snow this winter? Hope you are not doing as much shovelling as last winter.

    KGMom- I love the old buildings at this site and will be writing about some of them in the future.

    Monarch- The snowblower helps distribute the snow, but I can no longer throw snow as high as the banks near the road.

    Carolyn- We are looking forward to Winterlude. Hope the weather is this perfect, but perhaps a tad warmer.

    Thanks to all the other SWF commenters. I believe I have visited all your blogs.

  27. Great shots Ruth, thanks so much for the tour.

    Have a great weekend!
    Regina In Pictures

  28. It's sad to see old buildings lose their "grace". By that I mean the old architecture remains, but somehow it's not appreciated as it once was. I'm thinking of your comment about only the birds using the balconies anymore.

    I see you have almost as much snow as we do. And we are in for rain tomorrow. But these nice sunny days are a treat, aren't they?

  29. Our worlds are similar with high snow drifts and blue skies! In our area trucks have already begun taking snow drifts away..becoming a hazzard. Love the one with your black dog against the white snow!


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