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Thursday, January 06, 2005

Cold and Snow and Gingerbread

That Girl and The Guy left Cat-boy at home today to venture out to Atlantic Superstore for victuals, and the locl Liquor Commission to commit some liquor-purchasing. It was below freezing, and the car slewed around when the turns came up a little fast, missing large boulders by mere inches, and causing That Girl to laugh, because at 20 miles an hour, skidding on ice isn't even scary.

The air smelt of ice and salt and winter air. The pawprints of thousands of tiny squirrels crisscrossed the snow, leaving tiny, perfect perforations of pads and long claws in a bare half-inch of dry powder. The low-slung Saturn traversed the pavement where only yesterday, the subcontractor from Fedex had telephoned to say, "I'm not coming down that road. I'm scared of what could happen". (They drove out and picked up the papers. He was waiting a mile up the road, parked by the bear-proof garbage bins, smoking a cigarette).

Atlantic Superstore is the Maritime version of any gigantic, east coast grocery, only without the gigantism. The chard looked wilted, the clementines were too expensive. But it was the aroma from the industrial bakery that drew them up, sniffing appreciatively. The smell was sweet, laden with vanilla, slightly embittered by molasses. Spicy with cinnamon and ginger. It smelled like every fairy tale Grandma's kitchen, like a thousand Christmas trees decorated with white-outlined, mittened and booted gingerbread men. The grey day, the after-holiday letdown faded into a wave of perfume; exotic and warm and homey all at once.

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