Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Magical Cape in Winter Sun

Boots: Ecco; Cape: London Fog; Jeans and gloves: Reitmans; Hairclips: Goody; Glasses: Polo Ralph Lauren

London Fog, that darling of well-made, classic coats, was having an insane sale before Christmas. I ordered two raincoats (to replace two that I've "outgrown"), and this CAPE. It took some doing for this Canadian gal to take advantage of this American sale, but, with the help of family and friends, I made it happen and the coats finally arrived in my home a few days ago.

I'm especially crazy for the cape. Did I mention that?

I don't know when I was last this excited about a purchase. Oh, no, wait, yes I do. It was when I finally got to that thrift store that Beau found in the suburbs and I brought in the following hoard of vintage jewelry, some of which you've already seen here, here, here, herehere and here.

But I digress.

As I was saying: A CAPE!!!

Okay, it doesn't go with the jeans, which I now must admit are far too big for me (they're petites and I still have to roll them up), but I just had to wear it right away, occasion or no occasion.

All at once, it makes me feel like a Superwoman, and an elegant lady of the past, perhaps a near past, or perhaps a mythical one... even in these jeans.

Brooch: vintage; Gold necklace: found in room I rented in Montreal years ago; Gold earrings: some little shop, the name of which I can't remember.
The other big news of the day is that the sun was actually shining! If you live in this part of the world, you know what a rare treat that is at this time of year. Being very pale and something of a redhead (my hair appearing completely brown in some light, and clearly auburn in other light), I'm terrible in the summer sun. I burn, and get sunstroke, and get sick, and am just plain miserable. But winter sun is another matter. I love it -- and I seldom see it.

Bad back or no, I was going for a walk and I was going to enjoy it... no matter how much it hurt.

To me, this tree was a kind of metaphor for my own experience with disability. Sometime in its life, it had clearly been cruelly traumatized and disfigured and the effects of that trauma and disfigurement would never go away. Yet it did its best to thrive anyway -- perhaps imperfectly and a little inelegantly, but with more than a little success.

Though I continue to improve and hope for a full recovery, I may never be pain free. But I'm doing my best to thrive anyway. Some days I do a better job of it than others. I'm allowed my bitter, cranky, tearful days too. If chronic pain never made me feel that way, I wouldn't be human.


Me and my caped shadow. Seeing the length of the shadow reminds me of how far the earth is tilted from the sun in the winter here, and how far north I really am. This was only about two or three in the afternoon!

Yet, despite our northern location, we're very sheltered from typical Canadian weather here. We're close to the ocean, yet protected from its strength by the huge island to our west. And the mountains that surround us trap the warm air (and the clouds and rain) and keep it from dissipating. I love that. I get to be Canadian without suffering its winters.

I regularly see snowdrops budding in January. These ones are particularly early because they nestle against the rocks that catch the sun's heat. I've lived in much more bitter climates, so our early spring here never ceases to amaze and delight me. It feels impossible, magical, like a little bit of paradise on earth.

This pink flower is winter blooming here, and has a sweet scent, but I don't know what it is. Please do comment if you know.

I just loved this gnarled tree because it reminded me so much of the tree people in The Lord of Rings trilogy. Even more, it reminded me of that glorious scene in C.S. Lewis' book, Prince Caspian, when Lucy wakes at night and senses that the trees are starting to awaken:

The first tree she looked at seemed at first glance to be not a tree at all but a huge man with a shaggy beard and great bushes of hair. She was not frightened: she had seen such things before. But when she looked again he was only a tree, though he was still moving... The same thing happened with every tree she looked at. At one moment they seemed to be the friendly, lovely giant and giantess forms which the tree-people put on when some good magic has called them into full life: next moment they all looked like trees again. But when they looked like trees, it was like strangely human trees, and when they looked like people, it was like strangely branchy and leafy people -- and all the time that queer lilting, rustling, cool, merry noise.

Illustration by the wonderful Pauline Baynes who also illustrated Tolkien's books.
There she is, Lucy in the moonlight, as the trees awaken.

And, for the record, the movie took terrible liberties with the book. Never ever think you know anything about a book just because you've seen the movie. The sentence, "No, but I've seen the movie," is one of the most vile sentences I've ever heard.

Ring: Birks
And so to a little cafe to sit in the glory of the winter sun, which looks rather well on diamonds, gold... and me!



  1. Love the cape ... and the gnarled tree ... and the trip back to Narnia! Thanks for your indulging of my kooky contest. :)

    1. If it's Narnia, I'm there, babe. At some point I'm going to need to write some posts about the books that saved my life when I was a child. By the time I was twelve, I'd read the entire series at least a dozen times and I return to it often whenever I'm feeling really fragile and down.