Dressed for hope

Cara sent a link to a Washington Post article in which Robin Givhan discusses "what happens when the narrative is just pyjamas and sweats" for office workers now telecommuting. Givhan writes, "When we go out into the community our clothes allow us to have our say without ever opening our mouths... Clothing is an eloquent form of communication for the inarticulate."

I'd strike the last three words; articulate or not, our clothes speak for us, about us. I asked myself, what do I want to communicate now? Ideally, hope, forbearance and good will.

Saturday morning, Villeray

Walking through the deserted streets, my clothes are saying, Hi, I'm exercising (and am grateful to be permitted outdoors!) I pass a bakery-café where the honeyed sunlight bathes empty tables, a bookstore with a rack of postcards that capture the once-bustling streets.

An hour is about right, any longer and I want to stop somewhere for a café au lait, but I could only get one to go on Saturday and people drinking theirs on the street looked aggrieved.

Families are 'dressing' their windows in the universal symbol of hope, the rainbow. I counted over a dozen on my walk.

Saturday afternoon, Marché Jean-Talon

To the market, this time without you—to quickly pick up some supplies. No lingering today.

Left: Continuity comforts: I'm in what I've owned for years: Breton kabig, jeans, a kantha scarf. New clothes would feel weird now.
Upper right: It was still very cold, -10C/14F, but she is not covered against that chill. Her muffler-mask is for psychological benefit.
Centre: A tart sky blue always lifts my spirits. I am sure she has a brilliant smile but today she has things on her mind.
Lower right: I asked to snap this young mother, sitting in a sheltered terrace in the sun. She knew it was that puff of palest-pink fur on her headband that drew my eye and readily agreed, saying "At this time, we need everything pretty that we have in the drawer."

He's our man

The celebrated joie de vivre of Montréalers is muted, still there at the edges—dog-walking strangers smile when they pass, neighbours wave from windows. I'm certain conviviality will return, but who knows when? I'd like to ask the man from the Tower of Song.

Sunday evening the city sang, a mass balcony-choir performance of "So Long, Marianne", led by Martha Wainwright via live streaming. This is one we all know! (The Cohen/Wainwright connection is familial as well as professional; the mother of Martha's niece Viva is Cohen's daughter, Lorca.) (Video of her exuberant performance here. The second song is Richard Desjardins' "Le coeur est un oiseau".)

Though I'm always grateful that you've dropped by, today I'm feeling especially so, on the eve of the 12th anniversary of the Passage's opening. Your well-wishes for everyone here touch and sustain me.


Laura J said…
Our situations highlight the best and worst in us. Many thanks for the blog.
Daily routine so important, dog walks essential. Smiles or a friendly nod help a lot.
Stay well !
Mary said…
Wishing you the best as your approach your blog anniversary. Thank you for all the hard work that goes into producing such thoughtful posts.
Unknown said…
i love the headband with the puff. Has anyone seen one in a store? I looked online with no luck. Thanks.
Jane said…
We Skyped with the children in Montreal last night. Thank goodness for technology. One has chosen to stay in the city and one will return to the states within days. Montreal is such a vibrant city and it would, in normal times, come alive with the arrival of spring. Festivals, music, art visitors from around the world. So sad. Stay well everyone. -Lily
Duchesse said…
Laura J: Thanks, everyone fine in our small family, but i miss seeing them face to face.

Mary: When I see that has been 1, 358 posts is when I realize the amount of work!

unknown: I should have asked her!

Lily: Your child staying here probably gave you the stats, but (as with many cities) they seem to be taking a big leap but that is beause of the increase in testing, and therefore results in picking up positive cases.
LauraH said…
As always, your approach is thoughtful and observant. Wish I could show the hopeful flag a bit by taking a walk but am still in social isolation. Happy to be gardening though. Twelve year! Where did they go? I hope you are pleased with how the blog has developed over that span, you have a right to be.
Leslie M said…
Twelve years? That is an impressive dedication to your craft. I wish that and more for the (our) future.

The head-to-toe photo is rare for you, but you look approachable and warm - much like your blog! Agree that new clothes now feel wrong. For whom would we be dressing up? I had a web conference this morning with a potential employer and made the extra effort to dress appropriately from the waist up. Have to admit that the little bit of makeup and earrings changed (improved) my energy. I am ready should George Clooney knock on my door today, damn the social distancing.
Duchesse said…
Leslie M: In photo, I am saying "Tell me when you're gonna take it!" Good luck re job, if it's' one you want. A bit of makeup and jewellery lends energy for me, too.
I adore that Breton coat, and also the red booties. Jane, I'm surprised one of your offspring would return to a country with no universal health coverage. That is very dangerous, even if your family can afford it. It is dangerous even for families who can afford private insurance.

Though of course I'm familiar with the problems in Lombardy - the most prosperous regions in Italy and one of the most prosperous in the world, due to bureaucratic malfeasance and underfunding. Off to bed, dead tired. With my magical wee black cat. I'm very concerned about some Italian friends.
Mardel said…
Take care. Love the photo of you, and agree with the previous commenter who noted how approachable you appear. In a time when we cannot approach, that somehow seems more important. Twelve years! Thank you for sharing and offering this small point of connection.
Beth said…
Congratulations: I wish I had known you for all twelve of those years, and am so grateful that our blogs brought us together!
Beth said…
Congratulations: I wish I had known you for all twelve of those years, and am so grateful that our blogs brought us together!
materfamilias said…
Twelve years! Congratulations! We've been chatting across each other's blogs for a long time, so many changes. . .

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