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Friday afternoons in Halifax

March 22, 2013

We woke up to another 10cm of snow this morning – making it about 40cms of new snow since last Sunday. Which is more than we got all winter! And which is why I think March is a bitch of a month.

Last week we had 3-4 days of pure sunshine and early spring temperatures. Every one had the sudden urge to get naked, and run around the house, and eat blueberry pancakes, and read in the sun with the cats.

Only to have this week be about long johns, snow boots, and winter coats. And for the last three days we have walked around hating ourselves for having believed we were omnipotent.

Anyway, as I said, we woke up to 10cm of fresh snow this morning, and everything looked like it should have been three days before Christmas and you were on your way to Grandma’s for the holidays.

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You could already tell by 8am – just by looking at the world around you – that it was going to be one of those days. There was a mood in the air.

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By the time I was on my way to the bank, you could see that the colors were already popping! The sky was clearing. The snow was white. The sun was warm.

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Even the skylight looked interesting.

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But the actual reason for this blog today, (aside from showing you some pictures) was the ridiculous little real estate development I saw over on Walnut Street, just north past Jubilee.

At first, as I walked by, it just looked like another little hipster-contempory development project; of three new houses being built in the middle-class Dalhousie student village.

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But look at the sign!

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When did houses become trees? And it’s not hard to notice that they didn’t even bother to put actual trees in the picture!

For me the post-modern always began with the suburbs of the ’50’s, and books like Galbraith’s “Culture of Contentment” – with his prophecies on the new consumer culture and how it will radically change our lives. Language had already gone post-modern – Orwell noted that – but the widespread reality really hit the pavement with the explosion of the suburbs and the suburban mentality.

I could go on endlessly about my disgust at all things suburban – but I think this sign says it all much more succinctly. This is the dream of suburbia: no trees, no clouds, no grass – no nothing. Not children, or swings, or dogs. Not a puff of life anywhere. Where everyone lives in-doors – and plays video games with 3-D goggles.

Just three houses in the vacuous space of endless time.

In a place where words have no meaning – and space has no value.

In a place where we will call the houses, trees.

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